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2013 Buick Enclave AWD: Refreshed and updated

BY ALAN GELL Modified: December 6, 2012 at 11:40 am •  Published: December 8, 2012
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It was a beautiful area of the country to test-drive a new car. Not only was Kentucky a gorgeous place to visit, but tobacco harvest was underway and numerous barns were full of hanging leaves along the drive route. A person would think that the scenery alone was terrific enough, but driving the new 2013 Buick Enclave put the icing on the cake.

A group of automotive journalists were invited to Lexington, Kentucky for the introduction of the 'new' 2013 Buick Enclave. This is a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) built in Michigan. It competes with the Acura MDX, the Volvo XC90, Lincoln MKT, and the Mercedes-Benz R350. EPA rating is 15 city and 22 highway, but this is for a full-size SUV with all-wheel-drive.

Among the most notable features of this new model is all the enhancements, both inside and outside. New exterior features are body-color front and rear fascias as well as body-color rocker moldings. There is a new hood and a new front grill. There are chrome side moldings, LED daytime running lamps, and LED tail lights.

Inside the car is a new instrument panel and ice-blue ambient lighting. A noticeable improvement is the larger touch screen located in the center stack. All the major control operations can be easily reached through this touch screen. The door trim even features real stitching. The captain's chairs in the second row are very comfortable and accommodate larger sized individuals. The second row of seating is called 'Smart Slide' and makes it much easier to get access to the third row of seating. The third row of seating is not just a tiny little bench seat for small children, but features Best-in-Class third row legroom of 33.2 inches of space.

The ride is smooth and quiet, as would be expected from a Buick. After all, Buick has always been a premium vehicle. The smoother and more controlled ride is probably due somewhat because of a new suspension technology that the Buick engineers have utilized. Basically, the suspension uses new dual-flow dampers, rebound springs, and low-velocity shocks.

The 2013 Buick Enclave features a powertrain with a 3.6 liter V-6 engine matched with a six speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive is an available option. The engine is rated for 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque.

The test-drive model furnished for my day's driving through the rural areas around Kentucky's tobacco country was a 2013 Buick Enclave 1SN model with all-wheel-drive. It was a beautiful Crystal Red exterior color and a deep Ebony color for the interior. In addition to the AWD, the test model included a Navigation system, a Sunroof, and 20 inch wheels (larger than the standard 19 inch.) MSRP including destination and delivery charges was $51,290.

The supposed 'mid-life' of the Enclave has been reached and the refreshments and updates have taken place. It looks and feels like a modern vehicle all over again and that is a good thing.