The Buick Enclave has been on the market for about five years, and because it was the first vehicle to represent the new face of Buick, the 2012 model that’s in showrooms still looks relatively fresh and contemporary from the outside. But the instrument panel and interior trims are a sore point compared to newer rival models, and so that’s exactly what GM spent the most attention on for 2013.
Buick has given the instrument panel a complete facelift and made room for the IntelliLink touch-screen interface top and center. As in Buick’s sedans, a backlit ridge wraps smoothly around from door to door atop the dash, while trims and materials have been vastly improved. The finely grained hard plastic that was throughout the old dash has been replaced with more soft-touch surfaces, and there’s more faux woodgrain.
And IntelliLink is one of the key new features of the 2013 Buick Enclave; with a colorful, high-contrast touch screen and functionality for hands-free calling and audio streaming—plus apps like Pandora—the system provides a simple, streamlined interface
GM hasn’t completely carried over the exterior, though. It gets stronger detailing for 2012, with new LED accent lighting, running lamps, and taillamps, and the grille and front end have been given a look that’s more in line with Buick’s latest cars like the Verano sedan. New wheel designs as well as sharper exterior trims and new exhaust outlets that are integrated into the rear fascia altogether give the design a little more punch from the outside—even if it is essentially the same sheetmetal.
Thankfully, not much has changed about the Enclave’s seating layout, which is one of the roomiest among three-row vehicles; and thanks in part to the long back doors, access to the third row isn’t bad. Performance won’t change much, as the Enclave continues on with the same 288-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (with front- or all-wheel drive), but GM has recalibrated the transmission—as well as retuned the suspension.
The 2013 Enclave will go on sale later this year. Watch our walkaround of the Enclave here’ check back here for details and our first-drive impressions then; and in the meantime see our preview page on the 2013 Buick Enclave, as well as these live photos of the Enclave from the New York Auto Show.