General Motors revealed the 2018 Buick Enclave midsize crossover tonight at the outset of the 2017 New York Auto Show.
The all-new Enclave was outfitted with a new premium trim – Avenir – that Buick says is its highest level of luxury yet. The Avenir styling cues, extensive features and premium materials signal a direction GM is plotting for the future of the nameplate.
New York is a natural backdrop for this introduction as the auto show usually has a strong luxury and performance presence, said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IHS Markit.
More than 13 percent of luxury vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were registered in New York, according to IHS Markit.
“We have proven our ability to stay on the leading edge of the industry by being nimble and responsive to emerging trends,” said Duncan Aldred, global vice president for Buick and GMC. “When we see unique a market opportunity we move fast to deliver compelling new products.”
Over the last year, the Buick has introduced seven new products: Cascade, Envision, Encore, LaCrosse, Regal Sportback, Regal TourX and the Enclave Avenir.
Buick is the fourth largest luxury brand in the U.S., Aldred said.
With 90 percent of customers purchasing in the top two trim levels of the Enclave, “it’s a beacon for the modern, attainable luxury Buick stands for and is a natural place to launch Avenir,” he said.
The new Enclave has an Avenir-exclusive 3-dimensional mesh grille, special badging, pearl nickel 20-inch aluminum wheels and premium interior materials. New lighting technology with more than 100 exterior LEDs omits a distinctive light signature on the road.
The 2018 Enclave comes with a standard 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that produces 302 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Its towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds is sufficient to haul a 21-foot sport boat. The engine also comes standard with advanced start/stop technology.
Its sleek exterior design is reflective of the Avenir concept car Buick revealed in 2015. An all-new body structure improves safety, strength and mass efficiency. The interior is 10 percent more spacious than the previous generation, with room for seven passengers and their cargo. There is also a 10-inch-deep dry underfloor storage with 3.1 cubic feet of space. Behind the third row there is an additional 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Avenir trim is the first Buick model to come with a standard rear camera mirror that eliminates obstructions while expanding the rear field of vision. A 360-degree surround camera system for easier parking also comes standard. When fully equipped the Avenir has 17 radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors.
Other interior features like heated seats in the front and second rows focus on comfort and luxury. The Avenir even comes with an air ionizer that eliminates odors and provides higher air quality, eliminates odors and reduces bacteria, viruses, dust, debris and pollen.
The 2018 Enclave Avenir positions Buick as a triple threat in the crossover category.
Though sales of the mid-sized Enclave were down 27 percent in the first three months of 2017, Buick’s other utility vehicles round out its portfolio.
Buick’s best performer is the Encore subcompact crossover. Through the first three months of 2017, the subcompact crossover has sold more than 20,000 vehicles, an increase of 16.6 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp., an industry research firm.
The Envision small crossover is gaining traction with sales of 8,900 in the first quarter of 2017. But that’s still far below the volume of perennial mass market favorites. The Toyota RAV-4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape all have surpassed sales of 75,000 in the first quarter of this year.
The Enclave will continue to be manufactured in Lansing, Mich., and will go on sale this fall. Pricing and fuel efficiency and other details will be announced closer to launch.