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Buick Enclave gets new luxury trim

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Debuting with the 2018 Buick Enclave, the new Avenir sub-brand represents the highest expression of Buick luxury. Avenir offers unique styling cues and an extensive set of standard features and premium materials throughout the vehicle.

If you liked Enclave before, and I was a fan, the new and versatile functionality, interior spaciousness and intuitive technologies definitively build on Enclave’s established demand.

Many Buick customers desire luxurious surroundings, which is the purpose of the new Enclave Avenir trim. This upscale trim level of Buick’s seven-passenger crossover SUV, delivers stylish, flowing lines and is roughly the same size as the Chevrolet Traverse but a bit larger than the GMC Acadia.

The Avenir doesn’t directly compete with the three-row Yukon Denali, but it comes in two lengths and is a ‘for-real’ SUV, built like a pickup truck with body-on-frame structure. My tester had a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds and it could accommodate six adults in reasonable comfort. A seventh passenger could have squeezed into the third-row seat.

Comfortable Cabin

The immediate impression when first seated in the Enclave Avenir is the plush surroundings. These are the soft and supportive leather seats, heated and ventilated up front with heated second row seats; I enjoyed memory settings for the driver’s seat as well as a host of other impressive features such as: push-button starting with remote locking; powered third-row seat that folds with the touch of a button; tri-zone automatic climate control; power tilt-and-telescope steering wheel; dual-pane panoramic sunroof; full infotainment functions including navigation, WiFi hotspot, inductive device charging; Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and SXM satellite radio.

Powerful Engine

The Avenir’s 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine with 266 lb.-ft. of torque is more than adequate to any motoring task, from merging onto freeways or passing on two-lane roads. It runs on regular grade gasoline.

The Avenir is available with standard front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Power gets to the wheels through an easy-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. It is controlled by a new shift lever that requires some attention before you learn to use it without thinking about it.

Safety

My Avenir featured gorgeous 20-inch aluminum wheels and a $2,095 technology package that included adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking that augmented the standard safety equipment of lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, front pedestrian braking, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree surround-vision camera.

The inside rear-view uses a camera instead of a mirror, which can cause a moment of re-focus necessary each time you glance up. I never quite got used to looking into it.

Driveability

The Enclave Avenir feels big, at 17 feet long and weighing 4,565 pounds, it is more mass than something you might push through quick maneuvers. Of course, this makes it amazing for a long family road trip, or extended commutes on any highway surface.

Cargo Space

There’s 24 cubic feet of space for cargo behind the third-row seat. Press a button to fold it and the space expands to 58 cubic feet. If you have to move something big like a side table, folding the second row as well opens 98 cubic feet of cargo space.

The beauty of the Enclave Avenir is its ability to pretty much do whatever a minivan might do, with added luxury accommodations and an impressive base price of $56,690.