We’re fans of the current generation Buick Enclave. The premium-leaning three-row SUV offers plenty of space, a gutsy standard powertrain, satisfying dynamics, an abundance of features, and now more sophisticated exterior styling. It’s also priced less than its luxury competition.
For the 2022 model year, Buick is offering the Enclave in three trim levels. What are the differences between Enclave models, and which is best? Keep reading for our trim review.
2022 Buick Enclave Essence Pros and Cons
All 2022 Enclaves are equipped with a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and models outfitted with FWD are estimated by the EPA to get 18/26 mpg city/highway. Enclaves with available all-wheel drive are rated at 17/25 mpg. Maximum towing capacity is pegged at 5,000 pounds.
The Enclave competes against the likes of the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60. Both offer slightly smaller naturally aspirated V-6 engines that make less horsepower than the Buick’s powertrain, with the exception of the 2022 MDX Type S, which gets a turbocharger and an output of 355 hp. The MDX also gets a 10-speed automatic, but only the lowest two of its trim levels (or packages, as Acura calls them)—the base model and the MDX with Technology package—feature standard FWD. The 2022 QX60 gets the best fuel economy of the trio—21/26 mpg city/highway for the FWD model, 20/25 mpg for the AWD model—and can tow the most at 6,000 pounds.
The 2022 Enclave is more spacious than its two rivals, providing more headroom and cargo room. The base model Enclave Essence also gets a handful of standard features its competitors don’t see until higher trim levels, like remote start and a hands-free power liftgate. The base model MDX doesn’t get standard perforated leather seating surfaces and a heated steering wheel like the base Enclave, while the lower two trims of the QX60 (Pure and Luxe) don’t get a standard wireless phone charger like the Enclave Essence.
With that said, the base model Acura and Infiniti do have some things the Buick doesn’t. Both have more standard speakers (nine, versus six in the Enclave), larger infotainment touchscreens (12.3-inch versus 8.0-inch), and larger gauge cluster screens (7.0-inch for the QX60, 12.3-inch for the MDX, and 4.2-inch for the Enclave). Both also offer more levels of adjustment for their powered front seats and more standard exterior paint colors. Buick offers only one color for the Enclave Essence, Summit White; other optional hues come at a premium.
The 2022 Enclave Essence is further equipped with standard automatic LED headlights with automatic high-beams, an acoustically laminated windshield, and keyless entry. Its cabin is outfitted with standard push-button start, active noise cancellation, an electronic parking brake, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, heated first-row seats, a three-zone climate control system, and rear climate controls. Standard active safety technology includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping, a blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic monitor.
The 2022 Enclave Essence base model comes with a $43,920 sticker price for the FWD version and a $45,920 sticker for the AWD model. Both are thousands less than the 2022 QX60 Pure and MDX base models, but in each case, you’re mostly paying for the rival’s additional tech. The 2022 QX60 Pure FWD retails for $47,875 and AWD for $49,875, while the 2022 MDX FWD is priced at $49,045 and the AWD model at $51,245.
2022 Buick Enclave Premium Pros and Cons
The 2022 Enclave picks up additional standard tech at the Premium trim level, including a 360-degree camera system and head-up display. Ventilated and massaging front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, and a 120-volt outlet are also standard on this model. To get these standard features on the 2022 QX60, you must skip the Luxe trim level and opt for the pricier Sensory or range-topping Autograph model. It’s mostly the same story for the 2022 MDX. The camera system, head-up display, and heated second row aren’t standard on the MDX with Technology package but are standard on the model above it with the A-Spec package.
Driver memory presets, a power tilting and telescoping steering column, power folding auto-dimming side mirrors, and navigation are on board the 2022 Enclave Premium. So too is an 8.0-inch gauge cluster display upgrade, but by this point in their respective ranges both the Acura and the Infiniti have 12.3-inch screens. The 2022 MDX with Technology package also surpasses the Enclave Premium’s speaker count, at 12 versus 10. Both Acura and Infiniti move up to 20-inch wheels while the Buick is still on 18s at this grade.
Pricing for the 2022 Enclave Premium FWD comes out to $50,870, while the Enclave Premium AWD stickers for $52,870. The 2022 QX60 Luxe is more expensive at $53,925 for the FWD model and $55,925 for the AWD model, but it gets ProPilot Assist, which adds adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition, capabilities the Enclave doesn’t get until the Avenir trim level.
The 2022 MDX with the Technology Package is a similar rival for the Enclave Premium but comes in at a less affordable $53,745 for the FWD model and $55,945 for the AWD model. It gets features like rain-sensing wipers, upholstery with contrast stitching, and cabin LED lighting that the Enclave doesn’t receive until higher up its trim range, if at all.
2022 Buick Enclave Avenir Pros and Cons
The 2022 Enclave trim level range tops out with the Avenir, which is the only Enclave to receive standard adaptive damping. Acura offers it on the significantly more expensive MDX Type S models, and Infiniti does not offer a comparable suspension for the QX60. The Enclave Avenir also picks up standard features its rivals received at lower trim levels such as a moonroof, rain-sensing automatic wipers, and adaptive cruise control.
The 2022 Enclave Avenir FWD stickers for $56,195, and the Enclave Avenir AWD for $2,000 more, $58,195. The similar 2022 QX60 Sensory FWD retails for $57,375 and the AWD for $59,375, but you’re paying mostly for an upgrade to a Bose 17-speaker sound system. Infiniti offers one more grade above the Sensory, the QX60 Autograph, and it boasts second-row captain’s chairs, open-pore wood trim, and contrast stitching and piping on quilted seating surfaces. The QX60 Autograph also takes the Infiniti into the $60,000 range, with the FWD stickering for $61,375 and the AWD for $64,275.
As for the 2022 MDX, its A-Spec package aligns closest with the Enclave Avenir’s price, but it’s also more of a sporty trim. A-Spec features include items the Enclave never gets, such as standard AWD, 16 speakers, a flat-bottom steering wheel, stainless steel pedals, and suede and leather seat upholstery. The 2022 MDX with A-Spec Package retails for $59,445, and there are another three models above it, the most expensive being the $73,095 MDX Type S with Advance package. The top Acura model boasts open-pore wood accents and a 25-speaker system.
Which 2022 Buick Enclave Trim Is Best?
Compared to luxury rivals, the 2022 Enclave may not offer the most upscale cabin or much in the way of distinctiveness. But the tradeoff is a sticker price that’s thousands less than much of the competition, enough savings that if you were comparison shopping you could use that money to spring for the highest trim Enclave, the Avenir.
That’s not the only reason to aim high with the Enclave Avenir. The high-end model’s standard adaptive suspension provides a great ride. And it’s equipped with almost everything you might want from a premium SUV: a smooth and gutsy base powertrain, lots of space, hands-free power liftgate, massaging front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, head-up display, and much more.
Lesser Enclaves can upgrade features through a variety of packages that Buick offers. But at the end of the day, if you’re already looking at what Acura and Infiniti have, and distinctiveness isn’t a top priority, it might be worth it to go all-in with the Enclave Avenir.
2022 Buick Enclave Trim Levels:
- 2022 Buick Enclave Essence
- 2022 Buick Enclave Premium
- 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir (MT’s pick)
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