Buick Design Mods to the 2013 Enclave

Article From: 2/4/2013 Automotive Design & Production

Updates to the inside and out of the Buick Enclave.

Inside, there is the use of new, soft-touch materials, as well as real stitching. The 7-in. LCD touch screen, used for the Buick IntelliLink infotainment system, is standard.

The 2013 Enclave taillamps are the industry’s first deployment of the Uniform Lighting Lens technology developed by 3M. Essentially, rather than having the LED lamps appear discretely, the micropatterned polycarbonate used for the lamps provides even illumination around the lamps.

Lighting for Buick—as for seemingly all makes nowadays—is become increasingly important, as exemplified by the redesign of the headlamps for the 2013 Enclave, which uses L-shaped LED daytime running lights. Not visible in this image are the blue-colored surround of the standard Xenon HID lamps or the available lamp articulation option, which can move the lamps up to 15° to follow the curve of the road.

This is not what’s found under the hood of the 2013 Buick Enclave. It is what can be found under the hood of the 2013 Buick Verano. Buick brought this compact car to market with a 2.4-liter engine, and is now offering a second four, this an Ecotec 2.0-liter turbo that provides 250 hp @ 5,300 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm. It is the same engine that has been available in the Regal GS. The 16-valve, DOHC, direct-injection engine is based on a cast aluminum block and head. It is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

The Buick Enclave has been on the market since 2007, and the GM division is probably quite pleased to have the three-row, full-size crossover in its lineup because, according to Tony DiSalle, Buick vp of Marketing, the vehicle, produced at the GM Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, is the number-one selling vehicle in its class, and its class has some high achievers, including the Acura MDX, Lincoln MKT, Audi Q7, and Volvo XC90.

If you think about it, being number-one in a vehicle class is something that General Motors overall is fairly short on, which makes this Buick all the more remarkable.

For the 2013 Enclave, it is essentially an update inside and out for the vehicle.

On the exterior, it is essentially a change to the front and rear fascias, although side cladding has been removed (and you thought only Pontiac used cladding) for a more monochromatic appearance.  In the front, there is a change to the prominent waterfall grille, now a black-chrome. The headlamps have been redesigned, deploying L-shaped LED daytime running lamps.  The Xenon HID headlamps feature the now-signature blue translucent rings surrounds.

And while on the subject of lighting. . . . “As a brand driven by intelligent design and technology, Buick has to be at the forefront of purposeful-modern design cues.  Our signature LED lighting serves a double purpose of providing a premium look and making sure our vehicles are unmistakable in the eyes and mirrors of other drivers on the road.  Some of the new Enclave’s design cues will carry over to other Buick models to come, but every execution will be true to each model’s character,” said Mark Adams, executive director of Buick Design.

What is arguably the biggest lighting change for the Enclave is actually found around back, for the LED taillamps.  Fitted into the new rear fascia is an execution of an LED-based lighting technology called “Uniform Lighting Lens” (ULL) by developer 3M (3M.com).  The 2013 is the first application of ULL.

ULL is based on a precision engineered, micro-patterned polycarbonate that provides an even illumination from the taillamp, not the discrete points that are common to LED lamps.  What’s more, fewer LEDs can be used, which saves both cost and energy.
Inside the cabin there is the industry’s first front center-side airbag system that protects the driver and front passenger in far-side impact crashes.  The airbag deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat so that it is positioned between the driver and the front passenger.

But what is more visibly notable (not more important, of course, but one hopes that the front center-side airbag remains undeployed throughout the life of the vehicle) is the change on the instrument panel, where the polymer wood has been eliminated on the passenger’s side of the cabin (if only it had been removed throughout) and real stitching is used on the Nuance sandstone leather.  (It is worth noting that the steering wheel uses real wood).  There is a new center stack with the company’s IntelliLink LCD touch screen display standard.

The 288-hp 3.6-liter direct-injected V6 engine is a carryover from the 2012 model.  The controls for the six-speed Hydra-Matic transmission have been revised for smoother performance.  Also revised is the suspension setup.  The front suspension uses new dual-flow dampers and rebound springs, again for the smoothness that is characteristic of Buick.—GSV