Buick is one of the oldest automobile brands in the world. The first two Buicks were produced in 1899 and 1900 by the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company owned by David Dunbar Buick.
He incorporated the Buick Motor Company in May 1903 in Detroit, sold the company to James Whiting four months later. Whiting moved the company to nearby Flint, Michigan and the company produced 37 cars the following year there but ran out of money.
Enter William C Durant as controlling investor. Durant moved production to Jackson, Michigan and spent the next four years increasing production.
By 1908, Buick was the number one producer of automobiles in North America with an output of 8,800 new vehicles, overtaking Oldsmobile and Ford for that honour.
That same year Durant founded General Motors. Buick is thus the founder of General Motors.
As a division of GM, the marque was slotted in just below Cadillac and paired with Pontiac in showrooms across North America. North America’s oldest nameplate has outlasted fellow GM brands Pontiac and Oldsmobile. Long known for large, comfortable cars, Buick has followed the industry trend and no longer actually produces any cars.
The Buick portfolio now consists entirely of crossovers: Encore, Envision and Enclave.
The three-row Enclave, the brand’s flagship, received a mid-cycle makeover for the 2022 model year with new front and rear fascias, an updated interior and technical and safety feature upgrades.
It comes in three flavours: base, Sport Touring and Avenir. All come with a 3.6-litre V6 sending power to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.
As tested in Avenir trim, the 2022 Buick Enclave upholds the marque’s reputation.
It is a roomy, quiet, comfortable and, as befits the role of flagship, well-equipped and luxurious. So much so, that it could be considered a good value when compared on an apple-to-apple basis with similar size efforts from noted luxury brands.
The Enclave shares its basic platform and drivetrain with the Chevrolet Traverse. But everything you see and feel has been upgraded. The exterior design is unique and the interior more upscale. The Avenir trim gets unique looks at both ends, and different lights and wheels.
The interior is generally upscale in terms of materials used, their application and overall design.
Quilted, perforated leather seats and wood inlays are unique to the Avenir model. The centre console houses push buttons for transmission control. Standard equipment expected and delivered at this price includes heated, ventilated and massaging front seats, wireless charging pad for your phone, and twin sunroofs.
The infotainment system is intuitive and has been updated for 2022 with improved Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The graphics are crisp and clean and the onboard Wifi hotspot much appreciated.
The third row seat is surprisingly comfortable and easily accessed past the second row buckets. The cargo area aft of that third row is adequate and, with it folded – spacious. With second row seats down, it becomes a well-finished cavern.
The V6 is smooth, quiet and responsive, providing plenty of power for all occasions and the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds (2,267 kg).
It is not the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the class, thanks partially to an almost 5,000-pound weight with driver and one passenger aboard. That weight is not otherwise evident. It likely contributes to the excellent road manners over poor surfaces.
The safety bases are covered. Standard features include: automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, automatic LED high beams, lane change and blind spot, lane keep assist with departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and both front and rear park assist.
The 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir is a far cry from that first 1899 Buick.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2022 Buick Enclave AWD Avenir
As tested: $64,943 including freight
Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, IntelliBeam auto high beam, Front and Rear Park Assist, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, rear camera mirror, HD surround vision, rear camera washer
20-cm screen, navigation, Bluetooth streaming audio, Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility, advanced voice recognition, six USB ports, wireless phone charging, 120-volt outlet
20-in wheels with pearl nickel finish, power sunroof, heated, power folding mirrors, LED headlights, perforated leather seat surfaces, heated & ventilated front seats, power front seats with power massage, heated second row seats, power tilt & telescope steering wheel, heated steering wheel, heads-up display, programmable power locks, adaptive cruise control
Technology package: hydraulic shock absorbers, premium ride suspension, xheadlamps, $1,895
3.6-litre V6, 310-horsepower, 266 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel. Nine speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 13.6/9.6
Length, 5,301 mm; width, 1,999 mm; wheelbase, 3,072 mm; weight, 2,125 kg
Audi Q7, BMW X5, Genesis GV80, Volvo XC90