Remember the Buick Avenir sedan? The toothsome, quasi-bobtail rear-drive concept that recalled the Rivieras and Wildcats of yore, the one that brought down the house at the Detroit auto show two years ago? We had high hopes for a production version, and last fall, the company confirmed the Avenir badge would come to fruition — but not as a standalone model. Instead, it will represent a future luxury sub-brand, and it has arrived in the form of the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir.
“The word ‘avenir’ is French for ‘future,’” Buick vice president Duncan Aldred told Autoweek at a special reveal event before the 2017 New York auto show. “This car reflects our promise to stay at the forefront in design, quality and the customer experience.”
Thus, the Avenir now signifies Buick’s highbrow (and high-profit) specification. Think of it as an analog to GMC’s Denali line. The Enclave is the first model to get this treatment in North America, but there will be “a range of Avenir models to come,” according to Aldred.
Here, it brings a host of luxury upgrades, including a unique mesh grille and fender badging, 20-inch wheels, LED lighting, and interior flourishes like contrast stitching and seat piping, embroidered headrests and special color option, along with a neat one-off dash trim that fades from wood to black lacquer. Standard Enclave Avenir features also include heated and vented front seats, a dual moonroof, onboard Wi-Fi and a rearview camera mirror. Engineers claim that last bit expands the field of vision a whopping 300 percent.
This new model rides on solid bones, too: After nearly a decade languishing on the aged Lambda platform, the second-generation Enclave is all-new for 2018, sharing chassis architecture with the three-row Chevrolet Traverse, which debuted in January. The engine, a direct-injected, 3.6-liter V6, puts out 302 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It’s attached to a new nine-speed automatic in either front- or all-wheel-drive configuration. Buick estimates the former will get 20 mpg combined, the latter just 1 mpg less while offering a stout 5,000-pound towing capacity.
Enclave assembly, including that of Avenir, will continue to take place at the Grand River Plant in Lansing, Michigan.