Not in a territory of its own
This is a tough crowd. The crossover segment as a whole is not only in constant expansion but it is evolving at a practically alarming rate. What were once crude station wagons, SUVs and other types of dedicated people and cargo movers, save for minivans, are now all found under the crossover moniker.
Minivans have all but been replaced by CUVs over the last half-decade. General Motors was one of the manufacturers that put an axe into “magic wagons” in exchange for the far more modern SUV-cum-wagon. This move actually allowed the General to rekindle a plan they had put forth with the old Uplander/Montana/Terraza/Relay quartet of minivans. The Buick Terraza was to be the luxury van but it never caught on as did the Chrysler Town & Country. Needless to say, it – and mediocre sales, or none at all if they didn't give the vans away with a new set of tires – got canned.
Roomy luxury CUV
The 2012 Buick Enclave is the high-end nameplate of one of GM's last badge-engineered group of vehicles. Unlike the final days of the minivans, the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave are actually quite successful. The 2011 calendar year will have put roughly 175,000 of them on the road in the US and about 13,500 in Canada.
It's easy to understand why families are well into these vehicles. In base form, they're affordable and incredibly spacious. At the other end of the pricing spectrum, the Buick builds on versatility and packs in tonnes of luxury features.
My tested Enclave CXL included the long list of necessary must-haves to make any cabin luxurious. As you look through the gallery, you'll note wood trim, cowhide, some fancy lightning, a little chrome and lots of buttons. Despite my Buick's near $59,000 price tag, it did not have navigation but I survived. I did have Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, backup camera, power everything and a ginormous optional SkyScape sunroof.
The vehicle's seats, especially in the first two rows, are genuinely comfortable. The rear-most bench is acceptable for even adults as legroom is aplenty. With said row stowed, the Enclave (like its brethren) really shines. My parents, snowbirds, were both impressed with the impressively large trunk, more than capable of bringing nearly every item of clothing they own, beach chairs, golf bag and pull carts, with room to spare for our gifts on the return trip.
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