Earlier this year, Buick introduced their new Avenir luxury sub-brand at the New York Auto Show, an upscale trim level that elevates the luxury experience with unique styling cues, an extensive set of standard features, and premium materials throughout the vehicle. Think of Avenir as Buick’s version of GMC’s Denali trim level.
The 2018 Buick Enclave was the first vehicle to get the Avenir treatment, and we recently had the chance to experience the car firsthand, driving the Enclave Avenir from Midtown Manhattan to Allentown, where we got to check out Nicola Bulgari’s private vintage Buick collection.
Walking up to the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir, you notice a number of things that set it apart from other trim levels, including an exclusive 3-dimensional mesh grille paired with chrome wings, 20-inch, six-spoke wheels with a pearl nickel finish, five premium exterior colors, a Chestnut interior with Ebony piping on the seats and contrasting stitching, embroidered first-row headrests, Avenir floor-mats, a wood-accented steering wheel, and bold Avenir-scripted sill plates on all four doors.
Visually, the changes are rather subtle, giving the handsome SUV a little bit of an upscale edge without going overboard like the blingy Escalade. I like to think of it as quiet luxury.
Step inside the Enclave Avenir, and you will find a wide array of advanced technologies and interior features befitting of a luxury vehicle, including heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, navigation, wireless charging, a dual moonroof, an 8-inch diagonal reconfigurable cluster display, a 360° surround vision camera system for easier parking, and a rear camera mirror that can function as a traditional mirror or as a camera-based screen that removes obstructions and reduces blind spots.
In addition, available adaptive cruise control and full speed Forward Automatic Braking offer customers even more safety feature options, and a premium suspension with continuously variable real-time damping (CDC) provides a smooth, comfortable ride, with enhanced body control and handling in Sport mode.
So the big question – How does it drive? Amazingly well, actually. The Enclave Avenir has plenty of power on the highway, thanks to a 3.6L V6 that puts out 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 happens in just 6.4 seconds (7.1 seconds with AWD), and the nine-speed automatic transmission is very responsive, kicking down gears seamlessly when you need to accelerate quickly.
Equally impressive was just how quiet the Enclave was, thanks in part to its active noise cancellation system, which helps to reduce, block and absorb noise, keeping it from entering the cabin. And hey, if it gets too quiet for your liking, just crank up the 10-speaker Bose Premium sound system and jam out to your favorite tunes.
And let me tell you, adaptive cruise control has got to be one of my favorite features. If you’ve never used this before, it automatically adjusts the vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, so if traffic slows down in front of you, it slows the car down accordingly, and speeds back up when traffic opens up. We hit a decent amount of stop and traffic on I-80, and this proved to be a real life saver!
Overall, I think Buick knocked it out of the park with the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir, and it’s a great first entry into the Avenir lineup. With a base price of $55,715 and an as-tested price of $59,435, it’s definitely on the pricey side, but not out of line when compared to the Lexus RX, Infiniti QX50, and Acura MDX.
And if you like the idea of the Avenir but don’t want or need an SUV, fear not, as the 2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir is coming out in early 2018. We got a sneak peek at the LaCrosse Avenir, and it’s a seriously sharp looking ride, with the same upgraded styling, features and materials as seen on the Enclave.
Stay tuned, as we’ll have a more in-depth post about the Buick LaCrosse Avenir in the coming weeks!
Photo credit: TalismanPHOTO for Buick