The cross-over style of vehicle is an interesting and growing trend. We here at the House of Crunch freely admit to leaping at the Pacifica instead when we were shopping for mini-vans. They are just way sexier than their sliding doored cousins, there is no escaping it. And if sexy is important to you when you are hauling your family around, then the 2014 Buick Enclave is the cross-over for you.
The Enclave is a very flexible beast. It can be bought as a 7-seater with comfortable bucket seats for the 2nd row or a bench to make room for 8. The bench is similar to the rear bench and has a 60/40 split and folds down flat for your every cargo need. The cargo space with all seats up is not HUGE. Not enough for a dog really, but great for your groceries and school bags etc. Even with the bench seat in the 2nd row, the seats fold forward easily enough for people reaching the third row. My kids had no trouble with this and adults would be okay too. The third row bench is roomy and comfortable enough for adults too, which is noteworthy because this tends to be forgotten in some other cross-over vehicles.
The car is basically the prettier cousin of the GMC Acadia which I also reviewed. We really enjoyed the Acadia and in its 7-seater set up was as roomy and versatile as any mini-van out there. The key differences are in the looks. Buick is about class so the Enclave has a more urban look to it compared to the Acadia which has gone more boxy and rugged in its outward appearance. Might be just me but the Buick Enclave felt ‘taller’ to me…I felt I was riding high and the drive felt more bus like than the Acadia or the Terrain. But that is probably just me.
That feeling probably comes from the weight of the vehicle. This is a big solid car and you feel that a bit when hitting the curves. However, the driving still felt ‘solid’ with its traction control and did well in our charming Vancouver rain on the freeway and in the city. There are also some other good safety features to look at too, including the blindspot and forward collision alert systems. And the car seems to be COVERED in air bags. The engine is a V-6 but still felt like it was up to the job on hills and for speedy acceleration. The big tank is a tad heavy on the gas, but expected with a heavy vehicle like this.
All family vehicles should come with DVD players. They should be standard.
Even the ‘base’ model of the Enclave comes with pretty good features, but this is not an inexpensive vehicle. However, with its high ratings when it comes to safety and all the features, if you have the budget and are fastidiously avoiding the “mini-van,” then the Enclave is a great choice.