By LARRY CORNWELL
Special to The Post and Courier
Rather than focusing on the typical aspects of a road test, I decided to do something a bit different with the 2013 Buick Enclave. Although I did drive it in the city and suburbs, the focus of this review is the open road. I did not test the Enclave off road, but who does?
Instead, I took the 2013 Buick Enclave on a road trip. Since the Enclave has seating for seven, I filled the full size Buick with friends and we hit the road. We drove from Charlotte, N.C., to Spartanburg to the Carolina Panthers training camp to witness them prepare for the 2013 NFL season.
Along the way we made some interesting stops. First we participated in a work out at Velocity Sports Performance in Charlotte to get a taste of what it’s like to train as an NFL prospect.
Afterwards we were refreshed with nutritious shakes at Smoothie King. Before attending the practice, we enjoyed some of the best BBQ for lunch at Henrys Smokehouse in Greenville. And after the Carolina Panther training camp, we enjoyed some hot and fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Buicks have always been excellent road trip vehicles, and the Enclave is no different. It transported all seven of us in comfort and style. Speaking of style, the 2013 Buick Enclave has a style that even the great designer Harley Earl would love. The design is modern, but has a touch of elegance accented by styling cues that announce it’s a Buick. It also has a classic style, one that would look at home in one of those old black and white photos from Harley Earl’s day.
The complaints I have about the Enclave are few. Access to the rear bench is not as easy as it could be, but this is not unusual for this type of vehicle. In fact, most of its competitors suffer the same problem.
The buttons that control some of the vehicle settings such as remote start and seat recall can be frustrating at times. Sometimes you have to press the button several times to initiate an action. The plastic on the back side of the steering wheel felt cheap to the touch and sounded off when tapped on. In my opinion, a rubber coating or rubber backing would be much better.
Other than these minor complaints, the 2013 Buick Enclave impressed everyone on this long, one day road trip. The transmission was butter smooth, road noise low, seats comfortable, ride luxurious, steering light and overall visibility good.
Features such as the remote power lift gate, rear cross traffic alert, LED headlight and tail light accents, rear entertainment system and several other luxurious features make the 2013 Buick Enclave one to look at.
A big thank you goes out to Velocity Sports Performance in Charlotte for torturing us, Smoothie King for the shakes, Henrys Smokehouse for the best barbecue around and Krispy Kreme for the fresh doughnuts!
Last but not least, I filmed most of the footage for my YouTube video of this road trip with the new GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition cameras.
Check out the video version of our road test review of the 2013 Buick Enclave on my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1A8uHj6wUg. Subscribe to my channel at www.youtube.com/larrycornwell.
2013 Buick Enclave
VEHICLE TYPE: Full size SUV
PRICE RANGE: $39,000-$54,000
ENGINE: 3.6 liter V-6 producing 288 horsepower and 270 pounds feet of torque
DRIVETRAIN: Six speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY: 16 mpg city/22mpg highway
SEATING CAPACITY: 7
COMPETITOR MODELS: Chevrolet Transverse, Dodge Durango, Ford Flex, Honda Pilot, Lincoln MKT, Mazda CX-9
PRODUCTION LOCATION: Delta Township, Mich.
Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.