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Buick Enclave : Used

Buick Enclave : Used
Feb 9, 2014
Buick Enclave : Used
by Justin Pritchard ,
Model:  Buick Enclave : Used

Vehicle Type: Crossover SUV

The Verdict: A properly maintained Enclave that’s free of commonly reported trouble-signs should prove comfortable, flexible, upscale and family-ready. Shoppers are advised to employ the services of a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection, as well as to protect themselves by choosing a low-mileage unit with plenty of GM’s lengthy powertrain warranty remaining.

Price Of The Used Buick Enclave:
Earlier, higher-mileage units can be had from as low as $10,000, with a newer, loaded unit with low miles coming in around $37,000 depending on equipment. There’s plenty of selection between $20,000 and $30,000.

2012 Buick Enclave rear 3/4 view
Photo: Sébastien D'Amour

History/Description: Buick’s award-winning Enclave launched for 2008 and quickly began collecting awards, including one from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) which saw the all-new Buick crossover beat out comparable entries from Mercedes and BMW as Canada’s “Best new Crossover”.

Depending on the model selected, feature content included climate-controlled seats, navigation, Bluetooth, a Heads Up Display (HUD), dual sunroofs, automatic climate control and room for up to 8 occupants. Unique features included adaptive lighting, a power tailgate and DVD entertainment consoles.

Space and flexibility were near the top of the crossover class with clever sliding, folding seats and well over 3,000 litres of total cargo space. All models got GM’s 3.6L V6 teamed with a 6-speed automatic, and AWD helped create added all-season confidence.

2012 Buick Enclave cabin
Photo: Sébastien D'Amour

What Owners Like: Owners tend to appreciate the ride quality, space and Enclave’s overall upscale design the most. Performance is rated strongly, as is the flexible interior. Most owners say their machines are surprisingly easy to maneuver, despite the large size.

What Owners Dislike: Common owner-stated gripes include higher-than-expected fuel consumption, a fussy navigation system, finicky Bluetooth phone interface and limited rear-seat space. Many owners also wish for more aggressive transmission programming for better performance.

2012 Buick Enclave side view
Photo: Sébastien D'Amour

Common Issues With The Used Buick Enclave: Start by confirming proper operation of the air conditioner, rear-seat climate control system, all entertainment-related electronics, and the rear liftgate. Is the automatic climate control working? The air conditioner? The steering wheel mounted audio controls? Further, ensure the Bluetooth system works properly by linking it to your Smartphone, confirm proper operation of all windows and locks, and the remote key-fobs.

Inspect the outer edges of the ceiling liner and footwell carpeting for signs of moisture resulting from a leaky sunroof drain tube which may be eligible for free repair thanks to a recall. Note that this issue likely only affects 2008 models.

A transmission that shifts harshly, slips or responds unfavorably to throttle inputs may require having its computer brain wiped out and reprogrammed by a GM technician.

Most importantly, be aware of a fairly well documented problem with earlier (ie, 2008) versions of the 3.6L engine. A timing-chain wear issue could be expensive to fix should it be present, and it could result in engine failure. Ensuring the model you’re considering was treated to frequent, high-quality oil changes is a good defense, as is a ‘scan’ of the engine’s computer brain—which can actually point to this issue if it’s occurring. Be sure to have a GM technician take a look.

Note that though this is a serious and potentially expensive issue, it seemed to be solved from 2009 and on.

2012 Buick Enclave engine
Photo: Sébastien D'Amour

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