A black 2022 Buick Enclave is shown from the side parked in front of a modern house.

Buick Enclave: Then and Now

One of the most exciting times of year for Buick dealerships is the announcement of vehicles for the new model year. Buick has begun releasing details about the 2022 Enclave, which promises to be the most exciting premium SUVs of the 2022 model year. The Enclave has undergone a substantial makeover, allowing each trim in the lineup to have its own personality. Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC, stated in a June 2021 press release, “The 2022 Buick Enclave’s enhancements elevate the design and driving experience that premium SUV customers have come to expect and appreciate. After nearly 15 years as one of the segment’s pioneering premium SUVs, the Enclave continues to reward customers by offering more style and substance.”

In fact, many things have changed within those nearly 15 years. When the first Enclave appeared on the American automobile market in 2008, an 8-passenger crossover SUV was pretty big news. Let’s take a look at the journey the Enclave has taken throughout those years.

In the Beginning: The 2008 Buick Enclave

2008 was a pivotal year for Buick. Three models were taken out of production: the Rendezvous, the Rainier, and the Terraza minivan. It was very clear that the American public was hungry for a family-friendly driving solution, but large SUVs and minivans weren’t the right answer. Using the popular platform shared by the Chevrolet Traverse and the GMC Acadia, Buick sought to sell a full-sized crossover SUV that could seat up to 8 passengers while retaining their premium reputation.

Critics were immediately fascinated by the vehicle’s innovative exterior design, as well as the thoughtfully designed interior, which magically meshed the needs of a large family with the deluxe features typical of a Buick. Despite these early accolades, it was abundantly clear that Buick was trying to play it safe. Only two trims were offered in the initial model year: the CX and the CXL. Even more impressive, the CX had a starting MSRP of $33,000, which was a bargain compared to the offerings of competitors like Acura, Lexus, and BMW.

Under the hood was a 3.6L V6 that managed 275 horsepower and 251 lb-ft torque. With a fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon city and 24 or 22 miles per gallon highway, depending on whether front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive was chosen, the 2008 Enclave had a very average “playing it safe” attitude. Then again, it was replacing two SUVs and a minivan, so clearly, there was much at stake.

Power adjustable seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a power liftgate were all among the standard features, but the safety package was shockingly sparse. Anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, and a suite of airbags were standard on all Enclaves, but a rear-facing camera and adaptive headlamps were considered optional features that could be added with the CXL’s Luxury Package. However, in the automotive industry, changes catch on quickly, and it was just a matter of time before the Enclave received more bells and whistles.

The black and white interior of a 2022 Buick Enclave shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

The Refresh and Reboot: The 2013 and 2018 Buick Enclave

The Buick Enclave received a mid-generation refresh in 2013. Though only five years since its debut, the first few decades of the 21st century brought many rapid-fire updates to the way we drive. Fuel prices fluctuated, but road trips got even longer. Drivers required a vehicle that could keep them – and all of their passengers – safe and entertained for the duration of the drive.

The 2013 Enclave wasn’t much different than its predecessors, but it received a well-received facelift with new exterior and interior styling. Most importantly, drivers were treated to Buick’s QuietTuning, which manages to reduce in-cabin noise while driving, even at higher speeds. That meant longer drives and bigger adventures. That also meant the need to step up the safety features to keep passengers protected longer.

The industry-first “Center Side” airbag was offered as part of the safety equipment on the 2013 Buick Enclave. This airbag is deployed from the center console to protect both the driver and the front seat passenger in the event of impact from the opposite side. Additionally, the front head curtain, front side, and 3-row side curtain airbags were designed to stay inflated longer after impact to help mitigate post-rollover injuries.

The 2018 Buick Enclave is the official pioneer of the second generation and marks the introduction of some of the safety technology that will soon be seen on the 2022 Enclave. Not only was the 2018 model engineered to have sharper steering responses to reduce body roll, but the Enclave received a rearview camera, rear park assist, and a total of 7 airbags throughout the cabin. The top trim Avenir added a 360-degree surround-view camera, rearview camera mirror, along with other impressive features, like heated second-row seats and a dual moonroof. Adaptive cruise control and forward automatic braking could also be added to select models. All said, the first decade had been very good for the Enclave, making it time for Buick to consider where to go next.

The Future Is Now: The 2022 Buick Enclave

For the new model year, Buick is looking forward to introducing the driving public to a vehicle that can be sporty, luxurious, or sophisticated, depending on their preferences. Though details are still pouring in, it is clear that the trims, such as the Sport Touring and Avenir models, will have their own exterior appearance, with custom grills, wheels, and taillamps.

The 3.6L V6 engine that first appeared in the 2008 model will again feature in the 2022 model; however, technology has been kind to the engine, as well. Today’s Enclave drivers will enjoy 310 horsepower, available all-wheel drive, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. QuietTuning technology will continue to keep road noise out of the cabin, as well.

Buick’s typical array of premium features will be on board, including available heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats, as well as top-notch leather seating and sound systems. But perhaps most importantly for those looking for a family-friendly vehicle, the Buick Driver Confidence Plus suite of safety and driver assistance technology will be standard on all trims. This package includes IntelliBeam Automatic High Beams, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Park Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Additional driver assistance features will be available on the Avenir trim or likely in optional packages. This includes an available Rear Camera Mirror, Rear Pedestrian Alert, color Head-Up Display, and Front Parking Assist. The Avenir also includes adaptive cruise control, enhanced automatic emergency braking, and available Continuous Damping Control active suspension for a more responsive, intuitive drive.

A silver 2022 Buick Enclave shows the grille in close up after leaving a Buick dealership.

An Evolution to Greatness

Since its first iteration in 2008, the Buick Enclave has won the hearts of many American drivers. Stop by your favorite local Buick dealership to explore what today’s Enclave has to offer and to learn more about what the 2022 model plans to bring. The 2022 model will be more attractive and more fun to drive than ever. While a three-row crossover SUV isn’t necessary for every driver, the Enclave is a very attractive option for those looking for the latest and greatest in safety and luxurious touches, inside and out.