If you’re in the market for a used Buick Enclave, you want to research before going to the dealership.
This is the best way to make sure that you’re walking away with the best deal for you.
The best place to start is by knowing which Buick Enclave years to avoid and why.
It’s good to know which years and models to bypass when browsing this midsize SUV line.
Worst Buick Enclave Years
Most complaints related to the Buick Enclave years to avoid relate to engine problems.
Timing chain issues and problems with the electrical system are also common.
The problems range from being annoying to very costly and rendering the car impossible to drive.
Most people selling cars from these Buick Enclave years are doing so because of these problems.
Having prior knowledge is important, so you know which ones you don’t want.
Here are the Buick Enclave years to avoid when you go car shopping:
2008 Buick Enclave
This Buick Enclave is considered to be the worst of the Buick Enclave models, and that’s because it was the first one.
The most common problem with this model year is transmission issues.
Many owners reported that their transmission problems started around the 91,000-mile mark.
Their vehicles would shake and make clunky noises when making gear changes or speeding.
This is quite a pricey problem to have as it can cost upwards of $3500 to fix or rebuild the transmission on a Buick, especially if it’s not under warranty.
Other reported issues are total engine failure, airbag failure, and power steering issues.
All of these are dangerous and expensive problems to have and fix.
2009 Buick Enclave
Most of the earlier models of the Buick Enclave have power steering issues; this model year is no exception.
Another problem that the 2009 model faced was a problem with the seatbelts, which led to a recall being issued.
On top of that, this model had engine issues which led to the “check engine light” constantly being on.
There was nothing wrong with the engine in some cases, just a faulty check engine light.
This could be costly because you’d have to pay a mechanic to find out that there was nothing wrong with the car.
The company implemented changes to improve the transmission on the car, but there were still transmission issues that led to owners replacing the transmission on the cars.
Starting from this model year, there were also problems with the timing chain wearing out in the car around the 40,000-mile mark.
The timing chain should last about 5 times that long.
While this isn’t as vital as the transmission, a broken timing chain will have your car running incorrectly. This problem can cost over $2,000 to rectify, and it only gets worse if ignored.
2010 Buick Enclave
The power steering issue persisted going into this model as well, with drivers consistently having a hard time steering their cars.
Another interesting but frustrating problem that was reported in this model was the air conditioner only blowing hot air even on the cool setting.
This is obviously less than ideal in a warm climate or state.
The problems with the timing chain also persisted in this model.
Owners reported odd sounds coming from the engine, loss of power, and even engine failures as a result.
2011 Buick Enclave
The power steering failure was still a problem in this model year, with owners reporting noises when they turned the wheel and leaking from the steering rack.
There were also continued reports of failure with the timing chain, leading to engine power loss while driving.
Another commonly reported issue with this model was alternator failure.
This means that the car battery couldn’t be charged.
2014 Buick Enclave
Even though this model came 3 years after the last, it didn’t have any fewer issues than the Buick Enclaves that had come before.
This model year was recalled 6 separate times due to various issues.
A big issue that owners complained about with this Buick Enclave was the return of transmission problems; namely, the transmission was jerky and created a frustrating driving experience.
There was also a safety issue due to airbag faults and seatbelt problems which is alarming in a car that’s meant to hold up to 7.
This model also had an unfortunate software problem in the fuel system that also resulted in incorrect gauge readings.
Owners of this model also experienced timing chain failure and air conditioning problems where it would just stop working.
Other common Buick enclave problems
Another issue that was commonly reported in these model years was a faulty electrical system, leading to issues like cars not starting and windows not opening or closing.
The electrical systems also turned out to be a fire hazard.
Another symptom of this problem was the faulty check engine light, which was a problem in more than just the 2009 Buick Enclave.
Best Buick Enclave Years
While the Buick Enclave has had its bad years, it isn’t all bad!
Buick figured out how to improve their cars, and the later Buick models are much better than the earlier ones.
If you have your heart set on a Buick Enclave, there’s one out there for you.
Since there’s a section on Buick Enclave years to avoid, it’s only fair to do a section on the best Buick Enclave years.
The following model years have little to no problems, ensuring that you’ll find a reliable model year on our list.
2017 Buick Enclave
This is the last of the Buick Enclaves from the first generation.
It boasts a large, roomy, and comfortable cabin that has amazing noise isolation.
It also has a lot of cargo space to offer, making it a great choice for long rides.
The car has an overall safety rating of 5 stars and should make you feel safe even with many passengers filling up the cabin.
While this model is less problematic than the ones that preceded it, it does have slow transmission and can be difficult to handle.
2018 Buick Enclave
This is the first Buick Enclave in the second generation, and it signifies a change by GM Motors in their approach and design of Buick Enclaves.
It has a 3.6-liter V6 engine with a nine-speed automatic transmission that makes for a smooth drive.
There are also no reported problems with the power steering, and it responds brilliantly.
The car has a lackluster fuel economy, with just 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
The roomy and comfortable cabin is very stylish, with faux leather, wooden trim, and a panoramic roof.
It still has three rows of seats for up to 7 people, with the second row of seats moving forward to allow entrance to the third row.
2019 Buick Enclave
The cabin is roomy, as is expected of the Buick Enclave and every row of seats has its own USB ports for charging devices.
It has amazing cargo space, as you can fit at least five carry-on bags behind the three rows and even more than that if you put the seats down.
No transmission issues, and it offers a smooth ride.
This year also has a heated steering wheel in the Avenir and Premium models.
The car has a 5-star rating from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in crash tests.
It also has safety features like automatic high beams and lane-keeping assist.
2020 Buick Enclave
This is widely considered one of the best Buick Enclave models, elevating this Buick into the luxury category of SUVs.
This Buick has an all-wheel drive and comes in a wider range of colors.
It also introduces an 8-inch display screen with the option of having 360-degree exterior cameras.
The wide cabin is luxurious, and it has adjustable front seats that have massage features and adjustable lumbar support.
The car still has mediocre fuel economy, with just 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
Safety features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are still not standard in every model but can be added.
2021 Buick Enclave
This Buick Enclave is pretty similar to the several other years before it, with GM seemingly having found its preferred formula.
The cabin has the same perforated faux leather seats and wooden trim, as well as the standard 8-inch display and adjustable front seats.
It’s still roomy and offers lots of cargo space, enough for about 38 carry-on containers or boxes when all the rows of seats are down.
It has an all-wheel drive that you can switch if you want to go off-roading or on rougher terrain.
Aside from also having a sleeker look and a more stylish look, additional safety features are available in the pricier models of this year.
These features include; adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high beams.
There is no upgrade to the fuel economy or the engine and transmission.
This midsize SUV is reliable but perhaps a little underwhelming.
Most of the model years from the first generation are Buick Enclave years to avoid, especially if you’re buying secondhand.
In comparison, models from the second-generation Buick Enclave years are pretty safe bets for a reliable car.