2018 Buick Enclave Driving Impressions

With its strong V6, the latest Enclave accelerates quicker and drives better than its predecessor. It even sounds more appealing. Buick estimates 0-60 mph acceleration at 6.4 seconds, with front-wheel drive. Most versions can tow 1500 pounds, 5000 with a towing package.

Shift qualities of the 9-speed automatic, beats some rivals with comparable 9-speed transmissions. Even at low speeds, shifts are never fidgety. Paddle controls are included, along with a semi-manual mode.

Road manners rank as lovely, matched by a well-composed ride. The Enclave suspension yields a suitably taut, firm ride, which never feels jittery. Optional adaptive shock absorbers broaden the range of pavement mastery further yet.

Electric power steering is short on off-center heft, and the sense of on-center accuracy could be better. Regardless, an Enclave steers smartly and predictably. Body lean is well controlled with the standard suspension, helped by firm springs.

Two all-wheel-drive systems are available. Mid-level models get a simple system that uses antilock brakes to control wheelspin. Premium and Avenir AWD twin-clutch systems have a rear differential and can tailor the delivered power.

Fuel economy is significantly improved, yet falls behind some competitors. Front-drive models are EPA-rated at 18/26 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive lowers the estimate to 17/25/20 mpg, well worth it in wintry conditions.

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