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Beach wheels: 2019 Buick Enclave Avenir is hard not to like

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The 2019 Buick Enclave Avenir features Buick’s first switchable AWD system.

by Jeff Mitchell

Recently, I had the opportunity to test drive the 2019 Buick Enclave Avenir crossover utility vehicle.

I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t Buick the brand that my grandparents drove? You know, those floaty land yachts that were gas guzzlers and had uninspired design and performance.

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With the Enclave Avenir, exactly none of those attributes apply anymore — with the possible exception of size. This seven-seater is not small nor light.

Step inside the Avenir and sit in the fully air-conditioned and ventilated leather front seats and you’ll find yourself in a quiet world of well-appointed luxury.

New features in the 2019 model include a twin-clutch design, which is Buick’s first switchable AWD system.

The exterior sheet metal offers subtle but sexy lines and a lower top. A huge power moonroof/sunroof extends fully back to the third row and opens up this people hauler to the world.

Beneath the hood, you’ll find a lively 3.6-liter V6 power plant that can generate 310 hp and a solid 266-pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Clearly, the Avenir was not built for boulder hopping, but will more than account for itself in rain, snow and icy conditions.

On the pavement, this CUV has surprising passing speed, responsive braking and is generally very nimble in traffic.

Sporting a beautiful ebony twilight metallic black on the exterior and a chestnut leather interior, my tester came with a list of add-on options including 20-inch aluminum wheels, rear camera with a variety of functions including a cool “bird’s eye” view, trailering and heavy-duty cooling system options.

My tester also came with a useful 8-inch navigation/entertainment screen featuring a bunch of USB ports and a high-end Bose sound system. The Avenir comes standard with Apple Car Play and Android Auto systems. The vehicle also features Buick’s recently rolled out its so-called QuietTuning system, a 360-degree view camera, 4-G Wi-Fi and LED headlights and taillights.

Not exactly a lightweight, this CUV weighs in at almost 4,400 pounds. As a result, my tester collected 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg out on the open road and 25 mpg combined.

The Avenir competes with the Acura MDX. the Lexus RX350L and the Ford Explorer. Its base model manufacturer’s suggested retail price is about $57,000 while our tester was closer to $60,000.

While the Avenir’s soft suspension allows it to roll and dive a bit, the payoff is that it is ridiculously comfortable driving around town and isn’t too shaken up by potholes..

Bottom line: The Avenir represents some of Buick and GM’s best engineering and styling work to date. Do check out and drive the competition but you might save the Avenir for last. I think you’ll really like it.

Jeff Mitchell is an automotive writer. He can be emailed at j.edward.mitchell@gmail.com. ER

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