If you purchased a brand new, fully-loaded Acura MDX last year, you would’ve paid a maximum of $69,400, plus freight, fees and taxes, or about $1,100 less than the much more advanced MDX Sport Hybrid when last available in 2020. Now, however, two new trims are pushing the 2022 MDX’ price up to and beyond the $80k threshold, but nevertheless we think a lot of Canadian luxury utility buyers will be willing to part with $10k more in order to take home the sportier Type S variant.
The new 2022 Acura MDX Type S, which is now available from $79,000 (or $81,500 including destination fees), adds a number of key upgrades that are well worth the extra cost. Specifically, the Type S gets a more potent engine good for 65 additional horsepower and 87 lb-ft of extra torque, which results in a grand total of 355 hp and 345 lb-ft of twist, while the performance-focused family hauler also features an Active Exhaust system in order to make it sound as fast as it is.
There’s no change in engine displacement, but the 10-speed automatic transmission connected to that 3.0-litre V6 has been beefed up inside, plus enhanced with quicker shifting gear increments, and rev-matched downshifts. What’s more, a performance-tuned version of the Japanese luxury brand’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system optimizes the uprated high-performance rubber underneath.
Those tires are special self-sealing all seasons, wrapping around a set of 21-inch twinned five-spoke alloys boasting black-painted pockets, and visible through those rims are aggressive Brembo brakes that incorporate big 363-mm front discs with four-piston fixed calipers.
Acura’s first-ever adaptive air suspension helps maintain stability under braking as well as mid-corner, thanks to three unique damping profiles exclusive to the MDX Type S. The brand’s Integrated Dynamics System was improved as well, with special Sport+ and ride height-increasing Lift modes. As exciting as all this sounds, let’s not forget the three-row crossover SUV is a family-first shuttle after all, a point Acura wanted to keep clear by mentioning in their press release that even this sporty Type S will provide “a smooth, comfortable ride.”
Type S buyers wanting more luxury can ante up for the Ultra Package that, for $4,000 more includes 16-way powered front seats with nine massage settings, plus quilted leather upholstery, and a 1,000-watt ELS Studio 3D surround-sound audio system boasting 25 speakers that include LED-illuminated door speakers, high-performance PrecisionDrive carbon-fibre speakers, and CenterParquet. This package increases the price of the MDX Type S by $4,000 to $83,000 (or $85,500 with destination), which is well into German luxury SUV territory.
As far as external visuals go, the 2022 MDX Type S receives a modified front fascia featuring an open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille design for enhanced engine cooling, while an exclusive front splitter sets the front lower section apart from lesser MDX trims. Additionally, the rear diffuser gets the Type S treatment too, thanks to four exhaust outlets.
As more Canadian’s warm up to the idea of choosing a battery electric vehicle (BEV) as their next new car or light truck the range of available vehicles is rapidly expanding.
While the average selling price of new BEV’s are higher than the overall market average, more affordable choices are becoming available.
The list of vehicles below represents the currently available new cars and light trucks. We will add additional models as they become available. Watch for the addition of the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Ford 150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV Pickup, GMC Hummer EV SUV and new BEV’s from Mercedes Benz and Nissan.
Based on the XC40 subcompact luxury SUV, also available in gasoline-power and as a plug-in hybrid, the XC40 Recharge BEV has a range of 359 km and takes a minimum of 33 minutes to charge up to 80 percent.
Tesla’s first practical car, the Model S holds many racetrack records for performance, even sprinting to 100 km/h in just 2.1 seconds, despite being a comfortable mid-size luxury sedan with up to 637 km of range.
The stylish new Volkswagen ID.4 is a new battery-electric compact crossover SUV that provides up to 400 km of pure-electric driving range in AWD-enhanced Pro trim.Additionally, ID.4 buyers get three years of free unlimited fast charging at Electrify Canada stations.
CarCostCanada® has been helping Canadians buy and lease new vehicles since 1999. Even the best negotiators have benefitted from our service. We offer a better way to buy or lease a new car, van or truck. We provide detailed information about new car prices and programs that makes discussions with the dealer fair for everyone. For those who want more help, we offer additional services:
Can’t find the exact vehicle that you want? Don’t have the time (or patience) to shop around?
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If you answered YES! to any of these questions, then our premier-level Concierge Service is designed for you!
Our Concierge Team are experienced former dealership staff who only work for you. We’re on your side, we do the heavy lifting; you reap the benefits. All for only $199 (plus taxes).
Our paid Concierge experts are on call; however, our Free Pro Membership (including 2 complimentary Price Reports and other benefits) is always available for those who want to learn more at no cost. Whether you use our Free Membership or Paid Concierge services, you will join over 400,000 Canadians who have benefited from our Best Price Formula and saved on their new cars and trucks.
CarCostCanada empowers new vehicle buyers like you by levelling the playing field. Over the years, CarCostCanada has helped Canadians save close to $3 Billion dollars (that’s a lot of zeros) off their new car deals! Our proprietary Invoice Price Reports include New Car Invoice (Dealer Cost) Information, Advertised and Non-Advertised Incentives, Cash Rebates, Special Finance, and Lease Rates. Our Price Reports also include Pricing Guidance, a recommended price category for each new vehicle.
Hire our in-house experts and enjoy our premier-level Concierge Service. Our Concierge Team will work with you to provide everything you need; from price negotiation and trade-in advice, to supply and location considerations, we cover all the bases. And of course, with our 100% money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose! We have over 150 years of combined dealership experience. We know how to work with dealers because we were dealers! We even wrote a book on how to buy a new car.Not ready to hire us, but want to find out more? Sign up for our free service using the link below, or contact us by live chat, email us, or call 1.866.453.6995 ext 200
As Canada moves towards a more sustainable modes of transportation, battery electric vehicles (BEV’s) are becoming more available in the market.
It’s been roughly 10 years since the first BEV’s became available. Today there are 26 different models available for sale in Canada and the list is rapidly growing.
Our list of provides rapid access to factory pricing, rebate and incentive data on each model. We will also offer descriptions and links to reviews.
Battery Electric Vehicles are a key element in Canada’s Climate Change mitigation strategy. Each BEV deployed has the potential to reduce the country’s CO2 output by several thousand kilograms per year. With longer range BEV’s becoming more common, the vast majority of Canadians can now realistically take advantage of the significant operating cost reductions that enjoyed by people who operate a BEV.
Consider the fact that a tank of unleaded gasoline costs over $100 today; you can purchase quite a bit of electricity for $100. In fact it is unlikely that the average BEV owner will spend even $100 powering their vehicle for an entire month.
Credit to Wu Wa for the featured image and the awesome videos.
The Mazda brand is one synonymous with premium luxury without the premium cost, and that’s with no expense spared when it comes to performance, comfort, and both the driver and passenger experience. Through attention to detail, the recurrent use of premium materials, KODO design language and feature set, it’s no wonder that the Mazda CX-5 is regarded as one of the most dependable and fun-to-drive compact SUV models on the market.
Today, let’s get behind the wheel, pop the hood, and get to know the 2021 version of this icon further.
Practical Comfort-Focused Features
With heated and multi-adjustable seating options for the driver and all passengers, built-in electronic stability control, and fine leather-trimmed upholstery, the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is not only a smoother ride but a more soothing and comfortable one. Specific trims like the GT model receive added bonuses including heated rear seats and a built-in premium sound system by Bose – one that you won’t soon forget upon hearing it. Sunroof options are also available. With five different trim levels to choose from including Sport, Touring, Grant Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature, there are even more ways to narrow down your needs and wants to find the right CX-5 for your use case and budget.
Depending on the trim model that interests you, a bevy of state-of-the-art navigation features will be included. From dedicated blind-spot monitoring, stop-and-go functionality, an active driving display (found on the GT model), and parking sensors to optional all-wheel-drive configurations and more, you won’t be short on conveniences. Each feature is optimized to be anything but intrusive, paired with seamless infotainment incorporating Mazda Connect services. Drivers and passengers alike also benefit from keyless entry, built-in cruise control, and user inputs that are easy to manage without being overwhelming. It’s not just about giving more options – it’s about encouraging you to make full use of them to improve your experience, safety, and comfort on or off the road.
Top-Notch Performance in All Trim Levels
We know many of you are keen on numbers, and rightly so. The 2021 CX-5 features a 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G DOHC 16-valve l4, six-speed automatic engine along with four-wheel ABS. This configuration can be found on almost all models, though the GT can be custom-ordered with an optional 2.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers up to 310 pounds per foot of torque and 252 horsepower. Other onboard performance features include driveline traction control, Smart City brake support, a tire pressure warning system, rear cross-traffic alerts, e-parking brakes, and electronic stability control.
Regardless of which trim you opt for, know that this is a pure-blooded Mazda. That means exceptional fuel efficiency, with an average of 24 miles per gallon in the city, 30 for highways, and 26 combined. It also means, thanks to the Skyactiv technologies and navigational features we touched on earlier, that each ride will be smoother with highly responsive handling. And, with a focus on exterior aerodynamics and interior comfort, ambient noise and vibrations are kept to a minimum in the cabin even in busy environments – perfect for a stress-free daily commute or road trip through a new-to-you city.
Mazda Hallmarks on Full Display
Mazda has always been a brand focused on never settling. Good design and innovation means never staying still, instead, continuing to search for improvement. In many ways, the company’s design and engineering teams carry forward a passion for a welcoming, efficient, smooth ride for all. The 2021 Mazda CX exemplifies this approach with further refined feature sets, premium touches, and optimized performance.
All in all, now’s a great time to consider a recent or brand-new Mazda given the strides the company has made with its proven blend of innovation and sensible design. The latest Mazda CX-5 is tangible proof of this in action. We’re sure that each year to come will bring continued refinement of the beloved mainstream compact SUV – a vehicle that challenges the preconceptions of its class and looks, feels, and performs anything like one.
CarCostCanada® receives ongoing feedback from thousands of members and hundreds of dealer partners. We wanted to share our thoughts about the current automotive landscape in Canada and how we can help.
Sales are up. So are back orders.
2020 was a bad year for new vehicle sales vs previous years. But the rebound this year has caused more challenges. The latest StatsCan data shows Canadian light vehicle sales are up roughly 19% over same period in 2020. From a planning and delivery standpoint, unfortunately most manufacturers were unable to respond quickly to this increased demand, precisely when Canadians were excited to get back outside, on the road, and buy new vehicles.
To make matters worse, as business ramps up again, competition from big corporate (and government) “fleets” to restock their supply is at an all the time high, precisely when supply is at an all time low. Dealers are telling us there are thousands of corporate “back-orders”. Coupled with supply and materials delays at “up-fitters” (companies who modify vehicles – think of the cable van with the ladders on the roof), many fleet orders are backlogged all the way out to spring 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting supply shortfall has created a lack of inventory for many popular new car and light trucks. Car dealers are experiencing unprecedented low inventory levels. One large Toronto area dealer we spoke with has less then 10 days supply on ground. Where they would normally have up to 400 cars and trucks in stock, they currently have less than 50, and most “in demand” models are unavailable.
Another important piece to this puzzle is the increased supply of money in our system, along with persistent and consistent low interest rates from the Bank of Canada. Canadians have more cash in the bank than any other time in history and borrowing rates are as low as 0%.
Maybe I should buy a used car?
Partly due to limited new car inventory, and also because certain sectors of the Canadian workforce have seen reduced income due to Covid-19 work disruption, there’s been a surge in used car sales this year and an overall spike in prices.
In some cases, certain “in demand” vehicles, for example 2020 Ford F150 and Toyota RAV4, are commanding prices equal to the price people paid when they were sold new in 2019!
CarCostCanada has been surveying our members buying habits and opinions for over 10 years and we learn many things from all this customer feedback. One thing people mention is that if they decide they must have a certain model and they can’t find it new, they are sometimes willing to pay a premium for a lightly used version.
Our advice is to find a balance between your current identified need and the time frame required for a quality new car dealer to supply a new vehicle (ordered from the factory at a discounted price). In some cases the timetables won’t work and a used car or different model of new vehicle may be the only option. If you are thinking new is an alternative, before you make your final decision, speak to Member Support at CarCostCanada to receive the latest information about the models you are considering.
Canadians are ready to buy, but there’s no supply.
From some buyers point of view, dealers have become less cooperative and are expressing resistance to discounting. Since dealers have fewer vehicles to sell and they still want to stay profitable, they are tending to hold the line on discounting. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the average consumer to see large savings off M.S.R.P. at dealerships. In conjunction with that, some manufacturers have reduced their discounts and incentives because once again they have less vehicles to sell and less money to give away as a result.
So, we have a supply disruption, an increase in demand and the response from most automotive dealers from the country has been to hold dearly to their profit margins.
We get it – times are tough. If you need to buy/lease a new car right now, Canadian consumers may be forced to pay more then they would like. However, historically, CarCostCanada members have shown themselves to be thoughtful, forward-thinking planners who generally don’t rush right out and purchase the next bright shiny object! We encourage our members and all Canadians to consider their circumstances and plan accordingly for the eventual supply increases. If you can hold off a while, then hold off.
Will this affect my lease?
There’s always discussion about how market conditions affect leases that are about to expiry. The manufacturers and leasing companies are being very flexible with lease extensions. This is one way to defer the final decision and continue to keep your existing vehicle a little bit longer on your current payment plan. Of course when you do so, if you do eventually buy out the vehicle, those payments have been helping pay down the principal as well.
In other cases, buying out the lease is an excellent choice to keep your very good vehicle. We recommend if you do buyout that you plan to sell or trade-in at some point in the next couple of years. The incidence of repair costs increases after 5 or 6 years and more importantly it is quite possible you will be very impressed at how much the dealer will pay for your 5 or 6 year old vehicle. For many years now we have seen cases where someone buys out their lease, drives it for a while and then trades it in for close to or equal of what they paid for the buyout!
But what if I need a new vehicle now (or soon)?
CarCostCanada can help and connect you with dealers who will still work with you, even in these difficult times. CarCostCanada offers several valuable tools and resources to understand and identify where the best deals are, right now and has been doing so since 1999.
With hundreds of combined years of industry insider experience, we have deep awareness of which vehicles in which market places are still readily available and how our members can enjoy savings on their leases and purchases.
Our team is in touch dealer by dealer and brand by brand looking for the best deals and identifying dealers who recognize that satisfying customer needs and promoting long term goodwill is their first priority.
Our popular (and free to new users) Price Report service includes a “comparable vehicle” function that shows you vehicles we think may interest you that offer similar quality and features at a potentially better value/price proposition.
In addition, we offer a paid service where you can leverage our Concierge Experts to help you find the vehicle you are looking for and achieve a deal that you are happy with!
All of this and more is available with a call 1.866.453.6995, live chat or email to our Customer Service Team.
CarCostCanada is here with all the available data and information, not only the price, but also the hidden rebates and incentives, loyalty programs, special inducements and interest rates available to you in the marketplace. Visit carcostcanada.com to learn more.
Buying a car, even if it’s not your first, is a big decision. You have a lot to think about and you want to make sure you don’t forget anything. Most of all, you want to make sure you pay the right price for what you really need.
Making the right decision can be easier and save you thousands of dollars just by using CarCostCanada. In fact, they offer free price reports that help most Canadians negotiate when buying a new car. Canadians across the country are now sharing their stories to show how anyone can save thousands of dollars on their next new car purchase by using CarCostCanada’s services.
This week, let’s take a look at Mike’s story and find out how he saved over $5,000 on his new Audi S4 with CarCostCanada’s free price report.
Saving more even on a high end car
Mike is a 28 year old active man from Toronto, Ontario. He works in finance and is often on the road meeting new clients. However, he also enjoys playing baseball on the weekends and getting together with friends for a beer after work. Mike is single, has no children.
Following a recent promotion, Mike wanted a new car to match his success. So, to make sure he was making the right decision, Mike decided to shop around with the help of CarCostCanada. A friend of his told him about the online price reports of CarCostCanada and said it would not only help him find the perfect car, but also save him a lot of money.
Getting the best price on a new car in 3 easy steps
In 3 easy steps, he was able to build his price report online. First, he built and priced his new car using CarCostCanada’s free report tool, just as he would have done on the manufacturer’s website.
Once the price report was generated, he obtained the best price formula for his specific model by taking the dealer cost minus the incentive plus the dealer margin to see what the best possible price would be.
Finally, the tool helped him find the nearest dealer and meet with one of their professional representatives to get the best price and an exceptional buying experience.
Mike was looking for a car that would make a good impression when he met new clients and went out with his friends. He decided to go with the Audi S4, the car of his dreams, which is a young and good looking car, just like him.
Finally, in the process of buying his new car, Mike was able to save over $5000.
No matter whether on the road or at the track, Porsche makes a habit of performing at the front of the pack. After the sports car brand managed to attain the highest position possible in the Canadian Black Book (CBB) “2021 Overall Brand Award – Luxury” category for three consecutive years, it once again achieved the top spot in the latest 2021 study.
Porsche actually scores well in all of its categories, with the Panamera retaining the highest percentage of any competitor in its Prestige Luxury Car segment, a feat it’s attained for the past eight years. Similarly, the Macan, which earned the highest score in its Compact Luxury Crossover division yet again, has owned this position for three years in a row, while the legendary 911 has been on top of the Premium Sporty Car class for two years as of the 2021 CBB study.
“We are honoured and delighted to accept the Overall Brand Award – Luxury as well as three model accolades from Canadian Black Book this year,” noted Marc Ouayoun, President and CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “Consumers have many available choices in the market and we welcome these recognitions, which provide an additional reason to consider the brand. These outstanding acknowledgments by the leading authority highlight strong value retentions which ultimately benefit the customer.”
The Canadian Black Book study ranks vehicles on the retained percentage of their manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) after four years. Holding on to a high value means that ownership will cost less when it comes time for reselling or trading in for a new model, so this is a very important metric.
Have you checked out Kia’s latest SUV lineup lately? It’s gone from all curves to sharp angles and complex creases, not unlike its sister-brand Hyundai’s updated crossover lineup.
The hierarchy of Kia SUV models now includes the entry-level Seltos, the always future-think Soul (which includes an EV option), the second-rung Niro (which provides plug-in hybrid and EV variants), the compact Sportage, the mid-size three-row Sorento, and finally the larger and longer mid-size three-row Telluride, with only the Niro and Sportage needing updates to the brand’s edgier new design language.
Heck, even the new Carnival minivan (which replaced the Sedona) looks like a chunky SUV now, while the always sharp looking Stinger was also updated for 2022, whereas the mid-size K5 (nee Optima) sedan received its redesign for 2021, as did the subcompact Rio (although not as thoroughly) that’s now only available as a hatch (you might find a heavily discounted 2020 Rio sedan if you look far and wide enough). The compact Forte sedan and hatchback, on the other hand, are expected to be refreshed for 2022, soon putting the entire South Korean brand at the leading edge of modern-day styling.
While all of the new Kia SUV designs are advanced looking, the new Sportage might just be the most futuristic of all. Such was the case for the outgoing Sportage when its third-generation debuted back in 2010 and fourth-gen model arrived in 2016, the latter looking a bit like a scaled down Porsche Cayenne. This made sense considering all the German designers filling up the brand’s studios, as does the new 2023 version’s similarities to Audi’s Q8 and Lamborghini’s Urus.
This means the new fifth-gen Sportage should catch the gaze of passersby, although some of these will merely be trying to figure out where the headlamps are. In fact, these are integrated into two boomerang-shaped LED clusters beside the wide glossy black front grille, which itself is situated under a couple of narrow, horizontal nostril-like vents. While a somewhat radical redesign, it should still be pleasing to most compact SUV buyers that tend to want sporty yet practical alternatives to their less-appealing cars.
From the side view, the new Sportage provides more aggressive sculpting on the door panels than most rivals, plus a narrow greenhouse on top, for increased visual length, while some stylish detailing on the lower rockers gives it that critically important SUV look.
The new Sportage appears more conventional from its hind end, thanks to body-wide taillights that add to its wide-looking stance, plus a thin mid-section that almost makes it seem as if it was stretched into place. All of these delicate details support a substantive rear bumper that’s visual extended from the just-mentioned black rocker panels, continuing upward to enclose about two-thirds the CUV’s backside, before being capped off by some angular metal-like trim mirroring a similar treatment on the side rockers and lower front fascia, the latter items surrounding two LED fog lights. The entire package rolls on some similarly edgy alloy wheels that look quite large in the as-shown trim, and featuring machine-finishing with glossy-black pockets.
“Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design,” commented Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design Center, in a press release. “With the all-new Sportage, we didn’t simply want to take one step forward but instead move on to a different level in the SUV class.”
Kia calls its new design language “Opposites United”, a theme that continues inside the cabin where uniquely shaped HVAC vents and horizontally-organized instrument panel trim joins up to form parentheses-like structures that incorporate a very large dual-display primary gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen within.
The large single-screen setup pulls forward a driver display/infotainment design used recently by both Kia and its parental Hyundai brand, which must be said is similar to Mercedes’ MBUX dash design. Ironically (this being a Kia), it incorporates some camera technologies that are much more advanced than anything on offer from the German luxury brand, particularly its rear-facing camera system that automatically shows right/left rearward views when flicking either turn signal.
A row of switches continues the horizontal theme just underneath, integrating a well-organized two-zone auto HVAC interface at its mid-point, all before a gently sloping piano-black lacquered centre console gets stuffed full of drive functions such as an engine start/stop button, a rotating gear selection dial, a driving mode selector, and more, while switches for the heatable and cooled front seats, plus the heated steering wheel can be found right next door. A wireless charging pad probably sits under a lidded compartment just in front of this cluster of controls, plus all the expected USB ports and other connectivity/charging alternatives.
“When you see the all-new Sportage in person, with its sleek but powerfully dynamic stance, and when you sit inside the detailed-oriented cabin with its beautifully detailed interior and first-class materials, you’ll see we have achieved those goals and set new benchmarks,” continued Habib. “In the all-new Sportage, we believe you can see the future of our brand and our products.”
So far, Kia hasn’t shown off any other details, such as the new Sportage’s front and rear seats or its cargo area, but interior capacities should be similar to the new Hyundai Tucson that shares the Sportage’ underpinnings. That compact crossover SUV has grown in size since also being renewed for 2022, now stretching 4,605 mm (181.3 inches) from front to back, making it 155 mm (6.1 in) lengthier than its predecessor, with a 86 mm (3.4 in) longer wheelbase at 2,751 mm (108.3 in), while it’s about half an inch (12-13 mm) wider and similarly taller than the 2021 crossover it sent packing.
Kia’s Sportage has long shared its mechanical setup with the Tucson too, so we’re expecting a version of the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder powerplant that currently puts out 190 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque in the 2022 Hyundai. The new Tucson also features an efficient eight-speed automatic gearbox across its entire trim line, which should be the only transmission used in the Sportage too, while Hyundai’s compact SUV includes both FWD and AWD alternatives, common in this class.
Of course, we’ll get more details when the new 2023 Sportage arrives, which should be sometime in calendar year 2022, at which point we should also find out if it receives an off-road focused X-Line variant, and/or the Tucson’s electrified power units, which currently include both hybrid and plug-in hybrid alternatives.
For the time being, Kia is offering the latest 2022 Sportage with up to $1,000 in additional incentives, while buyers of 2021 models get up to $2,500 off. Also notable, CarCostCanada members are currently saving an average of $2,386, so check our 2022 and 2021 Kia Sportage Canada Prices pages for all the details, including complete trim pricing with all available options and colours.
As the years start to stack up and there’s more of them behind you than ahead, to hear you’re aging gracefully is quite the compliment. Such could be said of Buick’s current Enclave, a three-row crossover SUV that’s now been with us in its current second-generation form for four years. Certainly, that’s not long by human standards, but it’s a full product cycle in automotive years, albeit not compared to the first-generation Enclave that, despite a mid-cycle refresh in 2013, lasted for an entire decade.
The SUV being reviewed here was as up-to-date as possible when being tested, but as it happens, 2021 is the Enclave’s last model year before getting a fairly comprehensive makeover. Its underpinnings will remain the same, but its styling will look a lot fresher, and not unlike the much sleeker and more modern looking second-gen Chinese-market version that’s been available since last year.
Sure, you can wait for a 2022, which actually gets reduced by $300 at the base level, but there’s opportunity to take advantage of end-of-lifecycle savings if you choose a 2021 over the new 2022 model, so as long as you don’t need to have the latest and greatest styling, the outgoing Enclave is still one very attractive family hauler. It’s also a very affordable one, at least when comparing it to longstanding luxury brands that it more or less competes against. To be clear, three-row SUV buyers won’t likely be shopping the Enclave against BMW’s X7 or Mercedes’ GLS, simply because their price points are nowhere near each other.
A base Enclave Essence starts at $48,398, or $51,398 with as-tested all-wheel drive. That’s similar pricing to fully loaded alternatives from Honda, Hyundai, Kia or Toyota, which arguably offer more features (and sometimes more luxury) for the money, but none of these rise up to $70k, which is possible when adding all the options to the Enclave Avenir. That’s around where a base Audi Q7 starts, and plenty of other premium-branded three-row SUVs, although an equivalent entry-level GLS will set you back an astonishing $101,900, just a bit less than what you’ll need to pay for the least expensive X7, which starts at $102,900.
This in mind, Buick, and its Enclave fall into the entry-level luxury sector, along with competitors like the $48,995 Infiniti QX60, $56,405 Acura MDX, and possibly the $59,700 three-row Lexus RX 350 L (which is only meant for small kids in the third row), although if we’re moving all the way up to the $60k starting point, we should probably include GM’s own Cadillac XT6 that rides on the same stretched C1XX platform (more or less) as the Enclave (and the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia), yet starts at $57,998. Everything else in this class retails over the $60,000 threshold, and while that’s about where the aforementioned Enclave Avenir can be had ($62,298), this Enclave Essence is the model Buick gave me to test, and therefore targets a different entry-level luxury client.
I don’t know if that last exercise was done more for my own clarification of where Buick fits into the scheme of luxury things, or as a way for you to come to grips with the same, but in any case, it’s good to understand that Buick fills an important niche in the middle of the automotive class hierarchy, and its relatively strong sales more or less prove that reality.
Despite only offering five models (the 2020 Regal Sportback of which has already been sent off to that great four-door sedan graveyard in the sky—it’s a five-door really, as its trunk is actually a hatch), Buick managed to rank sixth amongst premium brands in Canada thanks to 15,957 units being sold last year, which puts it only 755 sales behind Acura, plus more than twice as much as Lincoln (7,155) and almost three times as many deliveries as Infiniti after a particularly gutting year. What’s more, as of Q2 2021’s close, Buick’s 8,277 delivery total had already blasted past Acura’s rather sluggish 7,465 tally, although Cadillac’s XT6 appears to be on a roll with 8,402 examples out the door, so therefore Buick maintains its sixth position.
The Enclave wasn’t quite as strong in its mid-size three-row luxury SUV category last year as the Buick brand, but amongst dedicated premium three-row family haulers it ranked seventh out of 11 competitors with 1,773 deliveries (I’m not including Bentley’s Bentayga on this list for obvious reasons). This said, so far this year it’s doing a bit better with 1,270 units down the road already, placing it ahead of Mercedes’ GLS (1,148), Lincoln’s Aviator (926), and Infiniti’s QX60 (687) that’s getting an even more dramatic redesign for 2022.
Cadillac’s XT6 (973) lagged a bit behind the Enclave over the first six months of this year, as did BMW’s X7 (522), Lexus’ GX (161), and Land Rover’s Discovery (103), which seems to be getting killed by the new Defender (1,057). Tally all this up and it’s easy to understand why the Buick brand and this Enclave model are so important to General Motors (a total of 3,264 combined Enclave and XT6 sales puts GM close to Acura’s MDX), but after factoring in their even greater strength in the U.S. and yet stronger presence in China, this information might also help build confidence that Buick isn’t about to leave our market anytime soon—unfortunately I can’t confirm that for Infiniti.
The upcoming 2022 Enclave refresh should further improve the model’s sales when it arrives later this year, as long as Buick doesn’t dump any leftover 2021s on the market before the new one gets here. The fact Buick is only offering customers up to $1,000 in additional incentives is a good sign they have inventories in check, but stay tuned to CarCostCanada for any further discount info. Also, take note that CarCostCanada members who purchased a new 2021 Enclave saved an average of $2,625 thanks to knowing the SUV’s dealer invoice price before negotiating their best deal, which means it’s a good idea to find out how their very affordable membership works, and how easy it is to use from anywhere via their free app that can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
As for the 2021 Enclave Essence being reviewed here, my tester was not only upgraded with AWD, but also received a stylish $1,495 Sport Touring upgrade package that includes a sporty black mesh grille, glossed-black Pitch Dark Night lower accent trim, and 20-inch alloys instead of the standard 18s. This gets added to a base model that also features automatic on/off LED headlamps and heated power-folding exterior mirrors, on the outside, plus proximity access to get you inside.
Once seated, pushbutton ignition gets the engine going, while additional standard features include an auto-dimming centre mirror, a 4.2-inch colour multi-information display within the gauge cluster, an 8.0-inch touchscreen at dash-central, integrating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a universal garage door opener, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Safety Alert driver’s seat that uses vibrations to warn, perforated leather seat upholstery, three-way heatable and ventilated powered front seats with four-way lumbar support, two-position driver memory, three-zone auto HVAC with a set of rear controls, heatable second-row captain’s chairs resulting in seven-passenger capability (a bench for the second row resulting in a total of eight occupants is available), a power-folding 60/40-split third row, a hands-free powered liftgate, a 120-volt power outlet, remote start, etcetera.
All Enclaves include the Buick Driver Confidence Plus package of advanced driver assistance and safety technologies as standard too, which includes a Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking, as well as Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, front and rear Park Assist, and IntelliBeam auto high beam assist headlights.
Believe me, I never once felt like I was slumming it in this Buick, even in its base trim. Actually, standard features like cloth-wrapped A, B and C pillars gave it a true premium feel, as did better-than-average soft composite materials on top of the dash and atop the front and rear side window sills. It’s also impressive across the front of the instrument panel, and the lower section of that IP ahead of the front passenger, which extends below the infotainment touchscreen and along the right side of the lower console. Buick made a point of stitching nicely padded leatherette on the sides of that centre stack and lower console, the left side of which is padded further to protect the driver’s inner knee from chafing, while this pampering surface treatment extends down to the armrest as well. These areas were done out in a particularly attractive caramel brown in my tester, perfectly matching the seats and door inserts that were also stitched, the former also featuring perforated leather inserts.
Additionally, the seat surface leather is suppler than some others at the Enclave Essence’s price point too, plus those aforementioned heated front cushions warm up to near therapeutic levels. Warmth in mind, the climate control interface, while appearing a bit rudimentary, did its job well, and while it could be a bit more upscale to look at my eyes were more easily pulled toward the centre display overtop, which has to be one of the simplest to use in the segment.
I generally like General Motors’ infotainment systems, and while I appreciate Chevrolet’s more colourful Apple-inspired interface even more than this classier design from Buick, they both work identically and utilize a full colour palette for graphically stimulating controls. I found this latest version responded to inputs quickly, which was particularly notable when jiggling the navigation map around with my fingertips. I should also note that GM’s navigation/GPS system has never once led me astray either, so a big hand to the automaker’s tech department that does infotainment very well. Important also, the rearview camera was clear and its moving guidelines useful, while the standard Bose audio system was very good.
As for the Enclave’s primary gauge cluster, it’s not very enticing. The chrome trimmed analogue dials are ok, these placed bookending another set of chrome-edged gas and engine temp meters above, but the tiny square multi-information display kind of looks like an aftermarket add-on. This comes at a time that competitors are arriving with fully digital clusters that show virtual gauges one minute and giant maps the next. Some brands are even including rear-facing camera monitors in their clusters, so Buick needs to up the ante in this respect. Fortunately, even this base Enclave’s steering wheel is excellent, with high-quality leather and an impressively sporty feel, while the spokes’ switchgear well-made and works as it should.
Looking up to the overhead console could be summed up as a trip back to yesteryear too, although it’s functional and happily includes a sunglasses holder, as well as LED reading lights and switches for the universal remote, OnStar, SOS, plus more. You won’t find a power sunroof button, as this base trim doesn’t include a sunroof, and I have to say it’s weird not seeing a sunroof in a roof this large.
Nevertheless, I found it easy to find an ideal driving position thanks to a manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel with loads of rearward reach, while the seats were comfortable, although without much lateral support, therefore if you’re looking to use this Enclave to snake through fast-paced corners, you’ll probably want to find something other than the steering wheel to hold on to. This is only worth mentioning because the Enclave handles well, partially due to the 20-inch wheel and 255/55 tire upgrade noted earlier, so it might be a good idea for performance fans to look upstream to a fancier trim line in order to find more aggressive seat bolstering.
Similarly, the Enclave Essence model’s second-row captain’s chair backrests are almost totally flat, although rear passengers can fold down their individual centre armrests to hang on. The second-row seats are mostly comfortable, however, with good legroom when slid all the way rearward. Those in the second row will also appreciate the previously mentioned rear climate control panel on the backside of the front console, which includes seat warming switchgear. This is where you can also find a set of USB chargers, but oddly no air vents. Don’t worry, though, as these are intelligently integrated within the roof, as are another set of vents for third-row passengers, and likewise for the LED reading lamps.
It’s easy to flip the second-row seats up and out of the way for getting into the very back, only necessitating a mild pull on a handle atop the backrest, while another lever below flips them down for storage. Before getting into cargo capacity, rear occupants enjoy separate USB charging ports, not to mention fairly large rear quarter windows for good outward visibility. I found the third-row seats comfortable too, not to mention reasonably roomy. Buick left good space for legs and feet, especially when the second-row seats are pulled slightly forward.
As for cargo, they fold down relatively flat, as does the second row, providing more storage capacity than most of their peers. In fact, I was able to load up a double-wide Ikea Pax wardrobe inside, including its rather bulky glass sliding door system, with room left over. By the numbers, the Enclave can manage up to 2,764 litres of what-have-you behind the front seats, 1,642 litres aft of the second row, and 668 litres in back of the third row.
Even when loaded up with gear the Enclave was no slouch off the line, its 3.6-litre V6 making a healthy 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque for plenty of straight-line performance. It’s conjoined to a nine-speed autobox that not only aids fuel economy with a fairly good rating of 13.0 L/100km city, 9.1 highway and 11.2 combined with FWD, or a respective 13.6, 9.6 and 11.8 in as-tested AWD, partially thanks to standard idle start/stop technology, but it also provides wonderfully smooth shift up and down the range.
Then again, engaging manual mode and its steering wheel-mounted paddles transform this calm, sedate traveler into a much sportier canyon carver, or at least it was much more enjoyable than I initially expected. BMW doesn’t even go so far as to hold the X5 or X7 engine’s redlines before upshifting, so a big hand for Buick’s engineers that give the Enclave such strong performance. The V6 also makes a nice growl at full throttle, although I wouldn’t take that to mean it’ll outshine those BMWs as far as engine auditory tracks go.
I think ride quality will matter more to most Buick buyers than all-out performance, however, and to that end the Enclave’s driver and many passengers will be nicely isolated from exterior elements no matter the speeds being traveled or environment outside. Although I found there was more wind buffeting on the highway than expected. It wasn’t the side windows (I checked), but it may be something specific to my test model’s door seals. Buick prides itself in providing near tomblike silent interiors, so it could also be possible that more of Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” technologies get added to upper trims. Either way, make sure you look for this on your test drive.
Even if the Enclave Essence is a bit noisier at highway speeds than it should be, it’s hard to argue against its sub-$50k price point. That it competes so well against others that cost thousands more should be taken into consideration, but then again it also gets out-muscled for features and refinement by some newcomers in the volume-branded mainstream category. This is a very competitive market segment, and the upcoming 2022 Enclave should address some of my minor complaints.
On that note, I don’t think any of my grumblings should put you off testing a 2021 Enclave, and at least comparing it to its rivals, especially when factoring in Buick’s enviably high ranking in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study, where it sits fifth overall and just third amongst luxury brands.