Thursday, July 7, 2022

2022 Buick Enclave Avenir Interior Review: What’s in an Avenir?

The second-generation Buick Enclave launched for the 2018 model year, and was updated for 2022. The Avenir is the highest and most expensive trim of the 2022 Buick Enclave. At $56,295 (including the $1,195 destination charge), it is $12,300 more than the base Essence trim, and $5,300 more than the Premium trim. Adding all-wheel drive increases that price to $58,495. While still not our favorite three-row luxury pick, we can’t help but appreciate the design, comfort and space of the 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir.

Regardless of trim level, the Enclave comes standard with front-wheel drive, offering all-wheel drive as an option. Each Enclave has a 3.6-liter V6 paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Despite the Avenir’s 4,469-pound curb weight, which outdoes those of the Premium and Essence trims by 71 and 110 pounds, respectively, it shares the same fuel economy ratings: 21-miles-per-gallon combined (18 city, 26 highway) for FWD, and 20 combined (17 city, 25 highway) for AWD.

So, what does the Avenir include? There are a few features standard on the Avenir that are also standard on the Premium trim. These include a Bose 10-speaker premium audio system, head-up display, navigation, surround-view parking camera, rear camera washer, rear pedestrian alert, four-way power lumbar adjustments for the driver and front passenger, ventilated front seats, power steering column, driver memory settings , heated second-row outboard seats, power 60/40 split-folding third row, an 8-inch digital display between the gauges and power-folding side-mirrors with auto-dimming driver’s side. Some features come standard on Avenir that are options on other trims. Inside, the Avenir gets a standard power sunroof with fixed rear skylight. Adaptive cruise control comes standard, as does enhanced automatic emergency braking. It also has a 120-volt outlet on the rear of the center console.

But the Avenir has some exclusive features that make it stand out from the rest. It has nicer trim and quilted leather upholstery that help make it feel considerably more upscale than the rest of the lineup. The Avenir is the only trim with rain-sensing windshield wipers, and embroidery for the first-row floor mats (an indispensable feature, we know). It gets standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with Avenir Pearl Nickel finish. Twenty-inch wheels are available as an option on the other trims, but those are limited to polished aluminum or chrome finishes. It also has its own unique mesh grille. Also available as a $1,595 option on the Avenir, but not other trims, is the Avenir Technology Package. This includes a premium suspension package with hydraulic dampers that adapts to road conditions every 2 milliseconds, recalibrated steering and an Avenir-specific headlight design.

While the Enclave exterior is a bit generic, the Avenir interior is at least home to more impressive design. The leather is attractive, especially with the quilting and headrest embroidery. Seating surfaces are smooth and soft, but the front seats are supportive, making them a comfortable place to spend time. The wood trim in the Avenir is elegant, with a unique wavy texture. I enjoy the heated and ventilated front seats, the heated second row seats, and the power-adjustable, memory-equipped front driver’s seat, steering column and side mirrors. I’ve also grown to love the digital rear-view mirror, which provides a crisp camera feed from behind even when passengers and cargo block your view out the rear window.

The second-row captain’s chairs give plenty of personal space to passengers, even if the seats themselves aren’t as supportive and comfortable as the ones up front. The second row gets its own climate controls and a three-prong, 120-volt outlet on the rear of the center console. The glass panels overhead helps bring some much-needed light to the rear rows. The third row obviously isn’t as comfortable, with flat seat cushions and a lack of legroom, but it doesn’t compromise cargo space. That volume behind the third row is impressively generous, and expands to hold more below with the removal of the bumper-level cargo floor. The 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space expands to 57.7 cubic feet with the third row down, and to 97.4 cubes with both rows folded.

While the Avenir’s interior is spacious, comfortable and certainly more upscale than other Enclaves, there are still some things about it that hold it back compared to the (admittedly more expensive) luxury SUV set. Things like the interior plastics and the generic GM-parts-bin switchgear bring down the overall feel of an otherwise quality interior. The infotainment screen, while it works well, is on the small side for a vehicle this expensive, and looks as though it was plucked straight out of a lesser GM product. Plus, it all feels a bit stale. In a segment where new, stylish, high-tech competitors keep charging ahead, this Buick hasn’t changed much in the last five years. Its light update for the 2022 model year does little to move the Enclave forward, and the interior was essentially ignored during the refresh.

But if you like the overall design, and those little details don’t bother you, you might be quite happy with the Enclave Avenir. It’s not a sporty SUV, but it’s not trying to be. The Avenir indulges occupants with a grown-up sense of style and an impressive amount of space, and actually presents a nice price compared to some of the other luxury competition. Some of the higher trims of non-luxury brands, like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, offer you similar levels of style and better technology for less. Still, if your biggest concerns are comfort and roominess, the Enclave Avenir has an ample supply of both at a sensible price.

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