Judy Rae

Buick’s Enclave Avenir is the perfect luxury family hauler

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Beach Wheels 

By Jeff Mitchell

Recently, I had the opportunity to test drive the 2020 Buick Enclave Avenir crossover sport utility vehicle.

The seven-seat Enclave Avenir continues to put in a stellar performance in terms of both luxury and performance and remains one of Buick’s best efforts to date. Simply put, it’s a pleasure to drive.

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-made comfort and control. The Enclave Avenir features a twin-clutch design that represents 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 in canopy fashion to the third row and opens up this grand people hauler to the world. 

Beneath the hood, you’ll find a lively 3.6-liter V6 powerplant 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 it will more than account for itself in rain, snow and icy conditions on city and suburban streets.

On the pavement, my tester displayed surprising passing speed, responsive braking and was generally very nimble in traffic.

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.

There is 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 has lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control. automatic LED headlights and high-beams and blind-spot monitoring.

The vehicle also features Buick’s recently rolled out its so-called QuietTuning system, a 360-degree view camera and 4-G Wi-Fi.

Not exactly a lightweight, my tester weighed in at almost 4,400 pounds. As a result, mileage was fair but not overwhelming — 17 miles per gallon 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.

The Avenir’s soft suspension does allow for some body roll but the payoff is that it is ridiculously comfortable driving around town and doesn’t lose its composure when confronted by potholes..

Final thoughts: The Enclave Avenir is the perfect crossover sport utility to be your go-to family hauler. Test drive it and you’ll see what I mean. Buy with confidence.

Jeff Mitchell is a Los Angeles-based automotive writer and reviewer. Reach him at j.edward.mitchelll@gmail.com

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