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2013 Buick Enclave

The email invitation came from Buick.  “You are invited to test drive the 2013 Buick Enclave through the rolling hills of Kentucky.  Dinner that evening will be accompanied by a private bourbon tasting.”

I’m in.

It would have been tough to find a better test driving scenario than the outskirts of Louisville on a crisp, fall morning.  Though the bourbon the evening before was exquisite I was even more impressed with the updated look of the new Enclave and the way it handled the hills, curves, side streets and highways of the Blue Grass state.

The 2013 Buick Enclave, just introduced, demonstrates Buick’s attention to the elements that drive a customer’s purchase decision: styling, quality and riding comfort.

Some of those specific elements in this new Enclave include new body color front, rear fascias and rocker moldings; styling changes in hood, fenders and front grille and LED daytime running lamps, headlamps, tail lamps and new 19 and 20 inch wheels.

The exterior alterations are immediately noticeable. The headlights are sleeker, with standard HIDs and LED daytime running lights, and the grille is enlarged. The changes to the taillights are a bit more subtle but still make the 2013 model easy to identify from the rear.

Several of the designers who worked on the new Enclave made the trip to Kentucky and were happy to show off their hard work.  I was intrigued with the “lighting specialist” who described at length the new technology of the so-called Uniform Lighting Lens.

It distributes light from a small number of LED light sources across a wide area. These microstructures serve to bounce light around a reflector until it hits the ULL at an almost perpendicular angle.  Bottom line – it looks cool and I am betting other models will follow Enclave’s taillights down this technology path

On the inside, a larger touch screen now adorns the center stack now with Buick’s Intellilink infotainment system.  Just as in other Buicks, the system is easy to use, and places Bluetooth and media controls, navigation, and other features easily within reach.

The system also allows for streaming use of certain smartphone apps such as Pandora and Stitcher Radio, and comes standard with a rearview camera for 2013.  I’m hoping to convince Buick to add iHeartRadio so a certain radio show can be heard.  I will update you with that one.

The new interior design and colors (extra points for the name “Choccachino”) are accented by an ice blue ambient lighting that runs the width of the new instrument panel and continues into the upgraded door trims with real stitching.

There is an available eight-way power front seat adjuster plus Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic avoidance systems. The 2013 Enclave also includes a new industry-first standard Front Center Air Bag and rear vision camera system.  Got to love all of these “tech touches”.

The driver and front passenger seats had plenty of legroom for me to stretch out. The second-row captain’s chairs are spacious and comfortable, and the cargo area behind the third row is ample enough for a few carry-on bags. Folding the third-row seats flat frees up a total of 67.5 cubic-feet of space.

Under the hood, the 2013 Enclave is much like last year’s model, as the crossover packs the same 288-hp, 270-lb-ft 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission, which reportedly has had software updates designed to improve shift smoothness.

If you are shopping in this category and looking at the Dodge Durango or Ford Flex then you will jump in the new Buick Enclave and drive away quickly and smoothly.  I enjoyed every mile of the Kentucky roads.

Not that the bourbon swayed my judgment.

2013 Buick Enclave

MSRP: $38,445 – $47,625
MPG Range: 22 – 24 mpg
Body Style: SUV

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