You might think the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to the automotive industry, but your local Buick Dealer begs to differ. When you’ve got a popular, super-luxury SUV, you would think an automaker might just stand pat and not mess with success. That has never been the case with Buick, which has quickly established itself as one of the most popular brands for luxury SUVs.
In fact, Buick decided to focus solely on crossovers and SUVs back in 2019. The brand has kept its focus on what always sets Buick apart from other automakers: steady attention to classy, luxury styling. This has especially been the case with the Enclave Avenir, the top model of the largest SUV made by Buick. This SUV offers top-quality materials and finishes. As a result, the Enclave Avenir has helped make Buick a Top Ten brand, according to Consumer Reports.
Why Update a Popular Model?
The competition for midsize SUVs with three rows of seats has heated up over the last few years, challenging the primacy of the smaller crossover as the most popular type of SUV. Buick launched the Enclave as its entry into the premium midsize SUV market in 2008, then came out with a second-generation model for 2018. This also heralded the introduction of a top premium trim, the Avenir. The key to the Enclave Avenir is attention to luxury features like leather seats and wood and chrome accents, making it competitive with other brands operating in this echelon of the marketplace.
The question then arises: Why did Buick decide to take a risk by updating this successful model? Duncan Aldred, Buick Global’s vice president, said the key is to keep the elements that made the Enclave so successful, while increasing the performance and luxury desired by Buick’s customers. “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.”
Buick is taking a risk, since there is always a chance that its customer base may not like the Enclave Avenir’s new exterior lines, or may find some features of the 2022 model not to their liking. However, it is a risk the company seems willing to take—especially since their main competitors are taking steps to upgrade and update their midsize, three-row SUVs—positioning them to be more competitive in this challenging market.
What’s New for 2022?
The first thing you’ll notice about the 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir is that it has cleaner, more aerodynamic lines than last year’s model. This is the result of installing new headlight and taillight designs, as well as front and rear bumpers. Buick has also given the 2022 Enclave a new set of wheels that are sleeker and more modern. In the case of the Enclave Avenir, these are all-new, 20-in. aluminum wheels with a pearl nickel finish. All of these exterior upgrades are subtle yet add to its charm, as the Avenir has not undergone a radical redesign—like those we have seen from other manufacturers’ midsize SUVs lately.
It seems that the more dramatic changes to the 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir are to be found in the vehicle’s interior. Buick has gone with quilted leather seats on the Enclave Avenir that sport a special trim logo stitched into the headrests. Drivers will get a choice of Whisper Beige or Ebony color scheme, depending on their choice of the Enclave Avenir’s exterior paint.
The front row and second row outboard seats are also heated, making them more comfortable on cold mornings. The front row seats are ventilated, with the ability to adjust the three different fan settings for greater circulation. In addition, the front driver and passenger seats also have a massaging feature, so if the passengers in the rear two rows hear a lot of oohing and aahing, they’ll know why.
The Enclave Avenir also has a standard Buick Infotainment System with Navigation. This also features a performance-enhanced, premium, 10-speaker stereo system by Bose. The noise cancellation technology on the Bose stereo system will optimize audio enjoyment for passengers inside the Enclave Avenir.
The only drawback of the Buick Infotainment System is the fact that Buick installed an 8-in. color touchscreen. This may be a drawback for some, as many competitors have put a larger touchscreen in the top trim of their respective premium SUVs. As a result, the Buick Infotainment System may not be as user-friendly as one with a larger screen, especially with respect to the Onboard Navigation System.
Some Things Never Change
One thing that Buick has not changed from the prior model of the Enclave Avenir is its powertrain. Just like all Enclaves manufactured since the 2018 model year, the 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir features a 3.6-liter DOHC V6 engine. Like most modern powertrains, this engine features automatic stop/start technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while improving fuel economy. Buick has gone with direct fuel injection on the Enclave’s V6, resulting in 310 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 266 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm. Buick has paired this V6 engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Interestingly enough, Buick has made this engine standard on all trim levels of the Enclave, including the Avenir model. This has always been Buick’s approach to the Enclave, going back to the SUV’s introduction in 2008. While some competitors offer different engine options, especially on their top trim levels, Buick has taken the opposite approach. It doesn’t seem to have impacted the brand, though, as the Enclave Avenir remains a very popular luxury model.
Enclave Avenir drivers will also still get a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Choosing all-wheel drive will provide improved on-road traction, while front-wheel drive provides better fuel economy. As a result, the FWD Enclave Avenir will deliver 18 mpg in city driving, 26 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. These are fairly standard fuel economy numbers to expect from an SUV of this size.
Buick has also made the Buick Driver Confidence Plus package standard on all models of the 2022 Enclave. This is a suite of 9 different active driver assistance features, such as automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, and lane change alert with side blind zone alert. Each of these will improve the safety of your Enclave by alerting you to hazards on the road, while reducing the probability of a collision with a pedestrian or another vehicle.
By choosing to go with the top Avenir trim, you get a number of additional safety features standard to this model. Enhanced automatic emergency braking works with forward collision alert to automatically engage the Enclave’s emergency brakes, while increasing the driver’s hard braking. The HD Surround Vision camera provides greater image clarity and a wider view when backing up, using multiple HD cameras. Rear pedestrian alert will let you know if there is a pedestrian in the path of your Enclave Avenir when you put your vehicle in reverse. The camera system features a washer that can keep the camera clean—a problem attributed to dirt or road salt when driving. Overall, the Enclave Avenir features a generous, comprehensive suite of driver assistance safety features.
Buick Takes Another Big Step in the Luxury SUV Sweepstakes
The SUV market continues to be very competitive, and this is especially so among three-row, midsize SUVs. Family drivers have seen the value of having a vehicle that can seat up to 7 passengers, especially one rife with luxury features. This is why Buick decided to upgrade the Enclave Avenir for the 2022 model year. With this move, Buick is looking to position this model for the future, while not undertaking the cost and risk associated with releasing an entirely new generation of the model.