Too bad we can't say the same about the interior. The instrument cluster has chrome-ringed gauges but the rest of the gauge work lacks flair. The wood-like trim covering every corner of the interior is nice, but we'd like it more if it matched the mahogany-inlaid steering wheel. The dome-shaped central air vents are creatively designed, but the center stack is another disappointment. It seems that with every step forward the 2011 Enclave makes inside, something else takes it a step back. Like the unlock/lock tabs, which feel flimsy. Or the unintelligible trip computer controls that, with a small adjustment, are also used on the Chevrolet Silverado HD. Or HVAC controls that don't provide an easier-to-use dial to control temperature and fan speed. Or the sound system's tuning knob, which is slow to react. Or the sunroof cover that doesn't completely shield passengers from light when the sun is directly overhead. (Memo to Buick: Take a look at the thicker cover on a Kia Sportage SX.)
Judging by the black plastic panel that surrounds the smallish DVD-based navigation system screen and the rest of the controls on the center stack, we expect future Enclaves will have enough room for Buick's IntelliLink, an infotainment system that can play Pandora or Stitcher through a phone and allows for a more seamless integration of portable devices. Once this system makes it to the Enclave, the crossover will probably use a 7- or 8-inch high-resolution touch-screen display. Until that happens, we're left to gripe about the Enclave. How difficult could it be to add soothing ambient lighting like that in our former long-term 2010 Buick LaCrosse?
The 2011 Enclave is powered by a 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 that makes 288 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 270 pound-feet of torque at 3400 rpm. Since the engine is nearly identical to the one under the hood of the mechanically related GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse, the Buick is happy to run on 87 octane. Towing capacity maxes out at 4500 pounds and the turning radius on this large crossover is a decent 40.4 feet.