The 2011 Buick Enclave shares its underlying architecture with the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. It comes powered by a 3.6-liter V6, which makes 288 horsepower and has the responsiveness of a small V8, thanks to variable valve timing. It is good for an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway on regular gas. The V6 comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Buyers have a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with either the base CX or more luxurious CXL trim, which now also includes a CXL2 option.
Although carrying passengers is the Enclave's forte, it can tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped, and the transmission has automatic grade braking to maintain control. The Enclave's intelligent all-wheel drive system is especially well-suited for driving in deep snow and on steep, icy driveways, as it works with the stability control system to send more power smoothly to the rear wheels when needed.
The Enclave is one of the new generation of more car-like crossover SUVs, but it combines some of the best attributes of cars and trucks, with a 4-wheel independent suspension combining MacPherson struts in front, an H-arm setup in back along with fluid-filled bushings to help isolate road harshness.
With a standard third-row seat and room for up to eight, the interior makes the most of the Enclave's available space, and passengers will likely be comfortable no matter where they sit in the Enclave. Second-row captain's chairs are standard on the Enclave, but a second-row split-folding bench is available and fits three across. Even the rearmost row, with a Smart Slide feature allowing easier entry/exit, has ample space for adults.
The Enclave is among the best-performing vehicles in its class in crash tests from the federal government and the insurance-funded IIHS, and comes with StabiliTrak stability control with rollover mitigation technology, plus anti-lock brakes and a total of six airbags standard.
The entry-level CX Enclave comes with many typical luxury-brand features, such as HID xenon projector headlamps, fog lamps, heated mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control and steering wheel audio controls, with a 6-speaker sound system and XM Satellite Radio compatibility. CXL models upgrade to heated power seats, memory seat settings and showier 19-inch machined aluminum wheels, while CXL2 adds an auxiliary power outlet, rear audio controls, a premium sound system, cooled front seats, and power folding mirrors.
Even considering the extensive standard equipment, there's a very long list of options to choose from. Major options include a sunroof, 20-inch chromed wheels, trailer-towing package, a cargo net and chrome package. There are also several entertainment packages that bring 10-speaker Bose sound as well as a navigation system, backup camera and rear DVD entertainment system. Each of those packages includes an AC household-type outlet.
Buick's Enclave crossover SUV carries into 2011 with minimal changes.