There is no beating around the bush here. The Buick Enclave is probably the worst Buick model that you can buy.
Are some of the model years better than others? Sure. Are they worth forgoing the competition? Not really.
Hang tight with us as we introduce you to the best of the worst and the worst of the worst for Buick and its Enclave line.
Unfortunately, the relatively new 2020 Enclave Avenir is about as good as it gets – and it comes at a hefty price.
What Are The Best Years For The Buick Enclave?
The 2020 Buick Enclave Avenir at least looks fancy, even though some might argue that it isn’t. It is the line-topping model for the Enclave and comes with some desirable upgrades. This Enclave model year is well-liked by the people who have bought it, but it does not seem like there are many.
Read on to learn more about the Enclave and whether you should scratch it off your “to-be-test-driven” list.
How Reliable is a Used Buick Enclave?
If you go to the RepairPal.com website and look up the Buick Enclave, you will find that its reliability rating is “Average”: 3 out of 5 on their scale.
For a luxury crossover SUV with third-row seats, this places it 24th out of the 26 other vehicles in its segment.
The Enclave’s estimated annual repair bill slides in at $720, which is somewhat steep compared to the $573 estimated for midsize SUVs overall and the $652 estimated for all vehicle models.
The frequency and severity of its repairs are all higher than normal, so you could end up shelling out more money than you would like to get the vehicle fixed.
What Problems do Buick Enclaves Have?
The Enclave has quite a few common problems.
There are quite a few engine problems, notably with the completely unreliable 3.6-liter V6 engine. Even after a power upgrade in 2008, the engine problems did not cease.
In fact, consumers regularly complain about suffering from a blown engine. The transmission just cannot take its pressure.
In some cases, timing chains become loose and stretchy, producing rattling noises upon startup and engine stalling.
The Enclave also consumes a lot more oil than it should, causing owners to replenish it well below the oil change mark.
The cost to rebuild or replace one of these engines is around $6,500 – now worth more than the 2008 model itself.
And that transmission sure is a weak one. Owners report them going down quite a bit, and below the 200,000-mile mark.
Repairing or replacing one of those will run you up about $4,000. Again, that is a cost that will not seem all that justifiable for an older vehicle.
Additionally, the 2010 models would get cracked engine blocks. At least other powertrain-related issues were becoming less of a thing by that point, and that trend continued.
As of the 2015 model year, the transmission problems were essentially wiped out and the blown engine reports much fewer and farther between.
Buick had to go through a lot of recalls to get there though, which should not have been the case.
As of right now, NHTSA has 22 safety recalls out on the Enclave.
Issues include improper deployment of side airbags, problems with the front airbags deploying due to incorrect calibration, over-cured Continental tires, missing bolts on the start/stop accumulator end-cap, and cracking of the right-hand frame rail.
How Many Miles Does a Buick Enclave Usually Last?
Not long enough, it seems.
The Buick Enclave should last for over 200,000 miles just like other vehicles. But the engines on the older models tend to blow out between 150,000 and 200,000 miles.
Expect to replace it by then or else just get another vehicle. The Enclave unfortunately just does not last as long as other luxury SUVs.
Is the Buick Enclave a Luxury Vehicle?
The Buick Enclave is a luxury crossover SUV with third-row seating. It does have a rather high-end design on the newer models.
Opting for the line-topping Avenir will get you more of the creature comforts you might want.
If you are looking for a Buick Enclave luxury package, consider getting a model that has the Luxury Package. This means you have to get either the Essence or Premium, as these features come standard on the line-topping trim.
This package includes molded assist steps. It also has a more striking chrome surround grille with a black mesh insert.
The Touring package also has the molded assist steps, but it comes with 20-inch bright machined-face aluminum wheels with Satin Graphite painted pockets in them.
Which Buick Enclave Years Should I Avoid?
To be blunt, avoid most Buick Enclaves models.
In fact, do not touch anything that was manufactured prior to the 2015 model year. It was only around that time that Buick began to smooth out some of those horrific engine and automatic problems.
The older Buick Enclaves have proven themselves to be too unreliable.
We cannot even really pick out the worst one since they are all pretty bad.
The Best Buick Enclave Years
The newer, the better on the Buick Enclave.
If you are buying a luxury vehicle, you might not mind spending the extra cash for something that is getting better reviews. That’s why we recommend the 2020 Buick Enclave.
This model year gets better fuel economy than estimated with buyers reporting getting a combined 28 miles per gallon in a 450-mile trip through the mountains.
Buyers like the optional 20-inch wheels and retuned suspension and powertrain.
What really gets buyers is the 2020 Enclave’s absolutely tranquil cabin.
Occupants report hearing no outside noise generated by the wind or road, and the engine barely makes a peep.
A 6 cylinder SUV with 3rd row seating should be comfortable and quiet, and Buick does get that right on its more recent model years.
Also, these vehicles have enough cargo space with rear seats that fold down flat. You can even try fitting a queen-sized mattress back there if you are brave enough.
Buick has had a lot of catching-up to do with the Enclave. Everything predating 2015 should just be ignored.
There are too many potentially serious problems that come with those vehicles. Instead, consider going newer with a 2020 Buick Enclave.
While they are more expensive, they already seem to be a lot more refined than their predecessors.
And isn’t refinement the name of the luxury SUV game?