2022 Buick Enclave: Aiming at a New Target

Strong points
  • Long list of safety features
  • Very comfortable
  • Flexible V6 engine
  • Plenty of space
Weak points
  • No electrified variant
  • Brand image has taken a big hit
  • Not quite sure where it fits
Full report

The Buick Enclave is the brand’s largest SUV and its second generation received a mid-cycle update for the 2022 model year. Nothing major, of course, but enough to put competitors on notice.

The Car Guide had the opportunity to test drive the refreshed Enclave for a full week in the middle of winter. Did we enjoy our time with it? Read on.

What’s New, Exactly?

As far as mid-cycle updates go, this one is fairly timid. Just look at the pictures and see for yourself. That being said, it’s what you don’t see that makes a bigger difference.

Photo: Germain Goyer

The Buick Enclave is safer than ever. New for 2022 is a standard Driver Confidence Plus Package with nine active safety features: Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and IntelliBeam Auto High Beams.

The Safety Alert Seat will automatically pulse the left, right or both sides of the driver’s seat to identify the direction of a potential crash. This might startle you or annoy you at times. You cannot adjust the intensity of the seat pulses, but you can change your alert type to “beeps” via the touchscreen.

Also new for 2022 are available head-up display, high-definition surround view, wireless smartphone charging and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. That last feature sounds good, but in reality we experienced a few bugs while using it. You’re better off plugging in your phone.

Inside, the restyled centre console replaces the shifter with push-buttons (yawn), but more importantly you’ll find additional soft-touch materials throughout the cabin and available heated/ventilated front seats with a massage function.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Same Old V6

There are no changes as far as the powertrain is concerned. The 2022 Buick Enclave returns with a 3.6-litre V6 rated at 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque—decent numbers given its size and aspirations.

The nine-speed automatic transmission proves a smooth operator and helps save a bit of fuel, though it would have been nice to see a hybrid variant. GM, of course, has other plans for Buick in the future including a few all-electric crossovers.

In Canada, the 2022 Enclave comes standard with all-wheel drive. However, the system needs to be manually switched on as in many other GM SUVs. Most rivals have permanent AWD which is certainly the best way to go for the average driver.

The big Buick has never been known to display sharp driving dynamics, and the same can be said about the 2022 model which is much more about generous space and comfort than fun handling. As for fuel consumption, while Natural Resources Canada rates the Enclave at 11.8 L/100 km, our tester averaged 12.3 L/100 km through 670 km of winter driving.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Lower Price

In case you haven’t noticed, new vehicle prices keep rising all across the industry, yet Buick decided to buck the trend in order to make the Enclave more attractive and competitive. Pricing is down $1,300 when compared with the 2021 model.

The 2022 Enclave carries a base MSRP of $50,098 in Essence trim. The mid-grade Premium costs $56,098, while the top-line Avenir (as tested) retails for $61,098.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Where Does Buick Fit?

Buick continues to find itself in an odd position, sandwiched between mainstream-oriented Chevrolet on one hand and luxury-heavy Cadillac on the other hand. The brand is always searching for its true identity.

In the case of the Enclave, it’s stuck between the Chevrolet Traverse and Cadillac XT6, two vehicles it shares a platform and many components with. Maybe there was a point in doing this years ago, but we have a hard time seeing it in 2022. Is there a step between Volkswagen and Audi, or between Toyota and Lexus? No. Why does GM still think there needs to be one? Honestly, we have no clue.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Similarly, Buick’s compact SUV, the Envision, is slightly more luxurious than the Chevrolet Equinox but not quite on the same level as the Cadillac XT5—or any other compact luxury SUV, for that matter. 

Back to the Enclave. Buick used to pretend it could challenge models like the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX, but the cold hard truth is that they’re just not in the same league. During a presentation of the 2022 Buick Enclave last year, the folks at GM admitted that they now must go after the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot and the like, which is indeed more realistic. But if you ask us, the Enclave would still rank behind those three.

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