As Buick is now selling appropriate products to younger consumers, their traditional ownership base might think they’re being ignored.
Before the Envista became the hottest Buick in decades, we have to look back at how the Tri-Shield brand got to this tipping point.
The point previously made on this website was how Buick’s customer base was among the oldest in terms of average age of the brand’s demographics. Other points made were how much Buick became the darling of the Chinese automotive consumer. It just seems that no one younger than a certain generation would not take this brand seriously as a vehicle choice.
As Buick is now selling appropriate products to younger consumers, their traditional ownership base might think they’re being ignored. The ones with Lucernes, previous generation Enclaves – even older Park Avenues and LeSabres – still need something that speak to their love of the Tri-Shield brand.
It might sound ridiculous, but the current Buick Enclave seems to be the closest product the brand has to offer its “traditional” customers. Yet, it is a ridiculous – and ageist – train of thought.
To consider the ridiculousness of that previous statement, I spent some time behind the wheel of a 2024 Buick Enclave Avenir – the most luxurious offering at the Tri-Shield brand.
Here’s another train of thought to throw at you: Luxury is how one perceives it to be. If that is the case, then perhaps I should dive into this mid-size three-row premium SUV…
The current Enclave is the second-generation model that shares its platform with the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. Since the 2018 model year, it evolved into the largest model in Buick’s lineup. One that offers up to eight seats across three rows wrapped in classic Buick style.
This is not some boxy SUV. There’s plenty of lines and angles that make it interesting. Up front is a large bold mesh grille finished in silver. That is the first clue that you’re looking at the Avenir model. The front up slopes back, but it appears to be also upright at the same time. Thin LED headlamps finish up the look in the upper parts of the front clip.
The side profile is muscular and angular. There is no mistaking that it’s a Buick by how the window profile is shaped. That, along with its striking creases across the side. Out back, you have clear lens LED taillamp units that is framed with chrome. The rear glass seems to form a five-sided shape framed with curves.
A set of 20-inch alloy wheels finishes up the Avenir’s exterior visuals. In other words, this Enclave Avenir looks the part – as the Park Avenue Ultra and previous Buick flagships have done so in decades past.
That theme continues inside of the large cabin. There nothing AI or hypertech about the Enclave’s dashboard. You get a combo instrument cluster with two analog dials and customizable digital center screen. That is augmented by the head-up display designed to make things easier for the driver to keep their eyes on the road.
The controls are standard General Motors fare, with plenty of tactility and logic to go around. The transmission controls are on the center console with Buick’s latest button design. At least it is positioned in proximity to the driver for ease of control.
Next to the instrument cluster is an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that is the hub for wireless smartphone mirroring and playback options. Sound is funneled through 10 Bose speakers throughout this cavernous cabin.
Another mark of Avenir’s luxury credentials was the quilted leather front and second-row seats. Behind the steering wheel, the driver’s seat has plenty of powered adjustments offered a comfortable and supportive environment behind the wheel. Second row captain’s chairs were also comfortable with plenty of adjustments. Just a flick a lever on the outboard sides of each second-row seat will tilt and slide away to gain. These seats would fit three children, there is actually enough space for two average-sized adults.
Cargo management starts with a 23.6 cubic feet space behind the third row. Fold down the third row by a couple of buttons, and 57.7 cubic feet of space opens up. You do get a cargo cover that is attached just behind the second row. Another bank of buttons will lower the second row. Now, you have 97.4 cubic feet to fill up with your heart’s desire.
The only power source for the 2024 Enclave is the 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. It also puts down 266 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. Together, it is a very solid driveline. It yielded strong passing power and confident cruising. The Enclave is poised when driven around town. In terms of fuel economy, the EPA tested the Enclave to average 20 MPG on a combined cycle.
In measuring this Enclave Avenir, there are some expectations that it will turn in a very luxurious driving experience. It starts with an isolated ride quality on the road. The suspension felt soft, yet it yielded a lot of balance overall. There was a lot of solid control through evasive maneuvers, experiencing minimal roll.
The Enclave offered up a good turning radius, with a solid on-center feel. The brake pedal was responsive and solid. We experienced good stops in normal, panic, and wet situations.
While the Avenir sits on top of the 2024 Buick Enclave lineup, there are also three other choices just below it. Pricing starts from $45,295. However, this Enclave Avenir AWD tester came with a sticker price of $62,745.
The largest Buick vehicle enters its final year in its current state. A new generation model will be available for 2025 later this year. In the meantime, there is this luxurious mid-size three-row SUV that will not satisfy upwardly mobile families, but ”traditional” Buick customers as well.
The emphasis here is on delivering the luxury Buick customers deserve – no matter what generation they are from. Everyone would appreciate the Enclave Avenir for what it represents – the intersection of the past and present of Buick.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Walser Buick-GMC, Roseville, Minnesota
All photos by Randy Stern