If you have watched the television in the last year or so, I am sure you would have seen the “This is a Buick?” commercial at least a dozen times.
(So far, my tally for the commercial viewing stands at 14 – also, don’t bother to ask me how bored I get some days to even keep track of such a pointless stat.)
Nevertheless, the commercial is designed to showcase how far Buick has advanced in both design and technology over the past decade. It is also intended to change the traditional perception that people have when they hear the word “Buick.”
So, I must admit that the commercial is doing its job because this week, I decided to drive over to my local Buick dealership just to checkout what is so cool about the latest models.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the dealership lot was the sea of 2015 Buick Enclave luxury crossovers lined up at the front of the building. After a couple of minutes eyeing them, a sales representative approached me and began asking me some questions.
After a brief chat, the sales representative and I shared an awkward moment, which basically resulted in him wondering: “why is a 24 year old guy checking out a $50,000 luxury crossover?”
However, after I explained to the sales representative that I am an automobile journalist, the guy was polite and confident enough to let me take a top-of-the-line 2015 Buick Enclave AWD with the Premium Group ($50,230) for a brief test drive.
My initial reaction after stepping into the cabin was “wow, this is a Buick?” Yes, I know, I am sounding like the people in the TV commercial, but trust me, I was not expecting to be this surprised by the 2015 Buick Enclave.
What’s New for 2015
The Buick Enclave received its mid-cycle refresh for the 2014 model year. With the refresh, the Enclave gained a new set of headlights and taillights, a new grille, redesigned front and rear bumpers, and redesigned exhaust tips on the outside.
Inside, the Enclave gained new standard features, more soft touch materials throughout the cabin and more supportive front seats.
With that being said, the 2015 model receives no additional upgrades and soldiers on unchanged when compared to the 2014 models. However, if you are interested in waiting for the 2016 models, the Enclave with Leather Group ($44,375 FWD, $46,375 AWD) and Premium Group ($48,230 FWD, $50,230 AWD) do receive new 4G LTE built in WiFi as standard.
Unlike other General Motor brands, which offer a la carte and stand alone options in their models, Buick packages its options in various trim levels.
The entry level 2015 Buick Enclave comes equipped with the Convenience Group ($39,975). Standard features offered in this trim include: deluxe cloth seating, remote start, universal home remote, Buick IntelliLink AM/FM/CD with Sirius XM satellite radio, backup camera, power liftgate, and 18 inch painted aluminum wheels.
The mid level Enclave comes equipped with the Leather Group ($44,375 FWD, $46,375 AWD). This group features all of the equipment mentioned in the Convenience Group but adds leather seats, 8-way power adjustable and heated front seats with memory, side blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, 19 inch aluminum wheels and heated steering wheel.
The top-of-the-range Enclave comes equipped with the Premium Group ($48,230 FWD/$50,230 AWD). This group features all of the equipment mentioned in the previous two groups but adds power, heated and power folding outside mirrors, articulating headlamps, power tilt and telescoping steering column, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and heated/cooled front seats.
Bose Premium Sound is also added.
Engine Features and Fuel Mileage
All 2015 Buick Enclave models are powered by a naturally aspirated 3.6 L V6 engine with 288 horsepower @ 6300 RPM and 270 lb.ft. of torque @ 3400 RPM. The power from the engine is routed to either the front wheels or to all four wheels via a smooth shifting, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
Fuel efficiency on all 2015 Buick Enclave FWD models are rated at 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Fuel efficiency on all 2015 Buick Enclave AWD models are rated at 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.
Regardless of the drivetrain, all Enclave models come fitted with a 22 gallon fuel tank.
On a full tank of fuel, the front wheel drive models have an estimated cruising range of 374 miles in the city and 528 miles on the highway. The all wheel drive models have an estimated range of 352 miles in the city and 484 miles on the highway.
The 2015 Buick Enclave is designed to carry its occupants from point A to point B in utmost luxury. As a luxury crossover, the Enclave does a good job of what it is designed for.
During my test drive, the ride felt smooth overall but some severe potholes did make their presence known through the steering wheel. Buick Enclave models equipped with the base 18 inch aluminum wheels come fitted P255/65R18 all-season rubbers and the optional 19 inch aluminum wheels come fitted with P255/60R19 all-season treads.
The larger 19 inch wheels on my tester did a good job of traversing over minor road imperfections, but as I mentioned above, only the harshest potholes were felt via the steering wheel and the seat cushions.
The suspension setup in the 2015 Buick Enclave is what you would expect in all luxury crossovers. Up front, the suspension consists of struts and steel A-arms. Out back, the Enclave is fitted with a multilink unit, which also does a good job of absorbing the bumps and provides a very stable ride at both city and highway speeds.
After my drive, I was really impressed with how the Enclave handled itself during the stint. The crossover was really stable and for a vehicle with a high center of gravity, I did not feel a lot of body roll as I navigated through the city streets.
The brakes on the Enclave are vented discs that brought this 4,922 lbs. vehicle to a stop in a quick and positive manner, without any unnecessary jerking from the front wheels.
As I said, I was really surprised with how far Buick has come as a brand in both design and technology over the past decade. It was not that long ago when people immediately associated the Buick brand as the preferred ride for the senior citizens of America.
Now, the brand is trying extra hard to shake off this old image and establish itself as a legitimate player in the American luxury car segment.
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After driving this crossover, I felt confident that Buick is heading in the right direction as it tries to rebrand itself in an effort to attract new and younger customers into showrooms nationwide.
If I have to compare this car to a celebrity, I guess I will have to compare it to Nicole Kidman because like her, the Enclave is aging gracefully and I am sure the current design will remain relevant long enough until its successor arrives in the near future.
2015 Buick Enclave Images
Image and Information Source: Buick
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