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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 New York Auto Show in New York City.
Buick Enclave

What is it? The upscale three-row SUV gets a freshening for 2013. The changes are to styling, technology, and suspension; it will remain powered by a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic. It will continue to come in front- or all-wheel drive.

Styling tweaks include a new front end with LED daytime running lights, standard Xenon lights in redesigned housings, LED taillights, and a redesigned tail with integrated exhaust pipes.

But to keep pace in the market, Buick had to update the Enclaves connectivity. Inside, the center stack now incorporates the IntelliLink LCD display, with better integration of the three-zone climate control system. Buttons have now become capacitive touch controls, first seen in GM’s Chevrolet Volt. IntelliLink incorporates hands-free phone operation via Bluetooth, and lets users control apps such as Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio. Voice recognition has supposedly been improved and the system supports audio streaming and MP3 playback via flash memory.

Suspension improvements include new shocks and springs up front, and new shocks in the rear. The six-speed automatic has also received updates to improve shift quality.

What is new or notable? A front-center airbag system is quite innovative. This standard feature deploys from the right side of the drivers seat to protect the driver and front-seat passenger from side impacts that happen opposite of their seating position.

CR’s take: The Enclave scores well in our testing and is very competitive in the Luxury SUV category. If the updates have improved the transmission’s tendency to hesitate when shifting, that is a big plus. But fuel economy improvements (we got 15 mpg overall) would be a bigger improvement.

When will it be available? Fall 2012.

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