You may be asking yourself right now, “Why on Earth would a gay man or lesbian ever want to buy a Buick? Especially — perish the thought — a big, family-sized Buick SUV like the seven-passenger 2013 Enclave. Have we suddenly become entirely heterosexual?”
We admit that this Buick uses enough chrome detailing to be visible from space, but somehow it makes it look classier and richer than its Chevy and GMC platform mates. Dare we say, our favorite design element is the super-sized front chrome waterfall grille which does nothing but say you have arrived.
Changing Interiors and Lives
Most gays and lesbians have long lived with the societal notion that we can never have “normal” lives like our heterosexual counterparts. But things are changing rapidly, and the ability to get married, adopt a couple of kids, and live a dysfunctional suburban existence is becoming a believable reality — a reality that would be made ever more perfect with a 2013 Buick Enclave parked in the garage.
The Enclave is unique among larger family SUVs in that it scores high marks on interior style with sumptuous, sturdy leather and a layout that’s not only attractive to the eye, but also totally suited to the rigors of rugrats. Or, no pressure, a couple of dogs.
Pricing, Safety, and Economy
As one would expect of a family SUV intended to transport your loved ones, the 2013 Buick Enclave was named a “Top Safety Pick” by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Although Buick offers two years of free maintenance on 2013 models as part of a two-year lease program, keep in mind that for model year 2014, that offer will be extended to purchases. The price will go up a few hundred dollars, though.
Our 2013 Buick Enclave Premium All-Wheel Drive tester came with an EPA-rated fuel economy of 16 city/22 highway. During our week of driving the Enclave, its powerful yet refined 3.6-liter, 288 horsepower V6 with 270 ft-lbs of torque returned 19 miles per gallon in a mix of driving conditions. The gas tank is a class-leadingly large 22 gallons, so the Enclave is a perfect road trip companion, even if Thelma and Louise were just touring the countryside with their two adopted children and a Golden Retriever. (That would have been quite a different film, BTW.)
Prices for the 2013 Buick Enclave start at $38,445, but since ours was a fully equipped Premium model with all-wheel drive, it topped out at $51,625. For all that coin you get rear-seat DVD entertainment, in-dash navigation, a dual-pane power glass sunroof over the first and second rows of seats, leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, a Bose premium audio system, a power rear liftgate, high intensity discharge headlamps that swivel when you turn the steering wheel, a blind-spot warning system, a back-up camera, rear parking sensors, three-zone climate control, power driver and passenger seats, second-row captain’s chairs, 19-inch chrome alloy wheels, and rear seat audio controls with their own headsets so those in back can listen to One Direction to their hearts content. We think Buick forgot a kitchen sink but maybe next time.
Does It Drive Like a Hearse?
The 2013 Buick Enclave may be a large SUV, but that has absolutely no bearing on the handling and maneuverability of this finely engineered machine. From behind the wheel, the Enclave never feels its size, almost as if it magically shrinks around you on the move. Parking lots and tight traffic jams can be handled with the same confidence you felt in your old college roadster, except the Enclave has two glass sunroofs and no soft top. Then again, it’ll carry more than two people and a duffel bag full of dirty laundry for mom.
The Enclave’s hunky V6 is mated to a silky smooth six-speed automatic that makes driving this large SUV a breeze, whether you’re just cruising or trying to pass slow-moving freeway traffic en route to a morning meeting. The engine lets out an inspiring howl at full revs but settles down nicely when you aren’t wringing its neck. Wind, tire, and road noise are all well-muted, and potholes are practically unnoticeable.
But that isn’t to say that the Enclave handles like the StayPuft Marshmallow Man. Cornering stability is impressive, with no hint of an overly soft suspension calibration. In other words, the Enclave makes for a nice balance of comfort and performance capability, especially considering its size and SUV status. They don’t come much better engineered than this. And no, it doesn’t drive like a hearse. Not that we have ever driven one.
Conclusion (aka The Competition)
In this brave new world where it’s finally becoming acceptable for gays and lesbians to get married and have a dull, loving family, the 2013 Buick Enclave strikes a perfect middle ground of style, utility, reasonable pricing, and driver enjoyment. Just make sure you choose the right spouse, because the right to marry means the right to divorce. And there would no doubt be one ugly custody battle over who gets the Enclave.
Those with wandering eyes should also try out the new 2014 Acura MDX, but unless you plan on living in a suburban cardboard box you might want to avoid ultra-expensive options like the BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade, or Mercedes GL. Honestly, with the 2013 Buick Enclave you’ll get everything you could ever want or need.