In the old days, what kind of GM you drove was a signal, starting, in reverse order of luxury, with Chevy on the bottom, then Pontiac, then Oldsmobile, then Buick, then Cadillac. These days, two of those brands don’t exist anymore, while Buick isn’t quite ready to give up its place in the pecking order.
Take the 2022 Buick Enclave, a refresh of the second-generation Enclave, which Buick unveiled Thursday. There are safety features that are standard for the first time, like automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, and forward collision alert.
But maybe the biggest change is a redesigned interior, which I don’t hate given that the screen is a reasonable size and everything looks pretty classic. There is no gear shifter, but instead a push-pull buttons to select drive, in large part to free up space.
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On the outside, there are various nips and tucks in the front and back, with updates to the front fascia, grille, headlamps, and rear fascia. One thing that stays the same: the engine, a 310 horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 that sends power through a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The top trim Avenir gets heated and massaging seats, adaptive cruise control, and various cosmetic changes to help identify it as the luxury one. Buick did not announce pricing, but I would expect it to cost a little bit more than the 2021 Enclave, which starts at $40,000.
Buick in America is now down to just four nameplates, after the Regal, LaCrosse, and Cascada were gotten rid of, leaving just the Encore, Encore GX, Envision, and Enclave. That strategy, Buick says, has worked so far for them; Buick has also fared a bit better than others during the semiconductor shortage, per Automotive News.
Buick has just a 30-day supply of inventory, down from an average of 90. But Buick stock is high compared with other brands, such as GMC with only 10 days’ worth.
“Buick has fared well out of this,” said Aldred. “One of the advantages of creating a simplified portfolio — not only for nameplates, but basically three trim levels within it — is it means you can turn stock quicker than you historically would and certainly paid dividends. Obviously we didn’t plan it with the microchip shortage in mind, but it’s worked very well for us.”
Buick sales were down 21 percent last year in what was a year of pandemic for everyone and transition for Buick as it went all-SUV, a bet which, for now in America, looks pretty good.