2013 Buick Enclave vs 2012 Buick Enclave: Which is Better?

The 2013 model is a welcome refresh on the Buick Enclave. While performance specs don’t change, the SUV gets a luxurious new look.
Written by Jessica Gibson
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
The 2013 Buick Enclave isn’t a complete redesign, but it offers substantial aesthetic updates. However, are they enough to justify the $1,000 to $2,000 price increase?
A well-maintained Enclave is a great used SUV. It can last between 150,000 and 250,000 miles. If you’ve narrowed down model years to the 2012 and 2013, you’re probably wondering what sets them apart. Since neither is a redesign year, not much has changed.

2013 Buick Enclave vs. 2012 Buick Enclave: what’s the difference?

Although 2013 wasn’t a redesign year for the Buick Enclave, the model did get a refresh. The engine and performance specs don’t change, but the exterior styling is updated, and the headlights are redesigned. The interior gets a newer, luxurious look and a few new safety features.
You’ll also notice that the base model is no longer offered for 2013. Buick streamlined the lineup, so the Convenience trim is essentially the base model. Not surprisingly, you can expect to pay $1,000 to $2,000 more for the 2013 Enclave.
Ready to learn more about how these model years stack up? Let’s get started.


You’ll see a $1,000 to $2,000 increase for each trim level for the 2013 Buick Enclave. Buick no longer offers a base model for the newer model year. Instead, the Buick Enclave Convenience trim is the least expensive offering for 2013. To see how pricing compares, check out the table below.
2013 MSRP
2012 MSRP
Buick Enclave Convenience
Buick Enclave Leather
Note that all-wheel drive is available on every trim level for an extra $2,000.
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General specs

You don’t need to comb through the engine specs with a fine-toothed comb—they’re the same for both model years! In terms of power and handling, there’s no difference. Drive either model year, and you’ll appreciate the Enclave’s confident handling. 
They’ve also got the same cargo capacity, so you’ll have no problem loading up the SUV and hitting the road.
The Buick Enclave is enjoyable to drive. For such a hefty SUV, it’s nimble and comfortable enough for everyday city driving or long road trips. You might notice that it’s not quite as powerful as competitors with V8 engines, like the
GMC Yukon
, but the Enclave’s six-cylinder engine is a solid choice.
2013 Buick Enclave
2012 Buick Enclave
Base engine
3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (288 horsepower)
Upgraded engine (Convenience, Leather, and Premium trims)
3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (288 horsepower)
3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (288 horsepower)
Six-speed automatic
Six-speed automatic
Front-wheel drive (FWD) with all-wheel drive (AWD) option
Front-wheel drive (FWD) with all-wheel drive (AWD) option
Maximum towing capacity
4,500 lbs
4,500 lbs

Fuel economy

The EPA gives identical ratings to the 2012 and 2013 Buick Enclave because they’ve got the same powertrain. Buick didn’t change the SUV’s build and weight. Keep in mind that your exact gas mileage depends on how and where you drive. 
Here are the EPA-estimated mileage ratings for both model years:
  • FWD: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 mpg combined
  • AWD: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18 mpg combined
We’re not going to sugarcoat it—the Enclave isn’t great when it comes to gas mileage. Buick has improved the fuel efficiency of the Enclave, so newer models get a few more miles to the gallon. But if you’re hoping for a used midsize SUV that’s more fuel efficient, shop for an
Audi Q5
Chevy Equinox
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Safety ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave both the 2013 and 2012 Buick Enclave five-star safety ratings. Plus, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded Top Safety Picks for those years.
Both Enclave years enjoy great standard safety features, like stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. The 2013 model gives drivers the optional blind-spot warning system and cross-traffic backup system on the Leather and Premium trims.
The 2013 model is remarkable for debuting an industry first—the front-center airbag. This deploys from the right-hand side of the driver’s seat and acts as a cushion between the driver and passenger, keeping both people safe during a side-impact collision or rollover.
The IIHS gave both model years a “Good” rating in every single category they tested! You can truly feel safe behind the wheel of your Buick Enclave.

Styling and interior changes

Take a look at the exterior refresh on the 2013 Enclave. It’s got a slick chrome waterfall grille, xenon headlights that cast a blue glow, and a full complement of LED running lights, fog lights, and taillights.
Get inside the Buick Enclave, and you’ll immediately see a difference—the upgraded materials stand out. For instance, the dash is covered with leather-looking material and contrast stitching, giving the SUV a classy feeling.
Here are a few other improvements to the 2013 Buick Enclave:
  • Redesigned dashboard with LED lighting
  • Buick’s IntelliLink system with touchscreen
  • New ambient interior lighting
  • Chrome interior accents
  • New interior and leather color combinations
  • Intuitive tri-zone climate system
These elegant upgrades are all in addition to the standard features that the 2012 Enclave shares. With either SUV, you’ll get power front seats, seating for up to eight, a 60/40-split third-row seat, and more.
The Leather trim adds leather upholstery, heated front-row seats, and 19-inch wheels. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, check out the Premium trim. You’ll get heated and cooled front seats and a Bose 10-speaker audio system.
The Buick Enclave upgraded trims also have an options bundle so that you can add 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, a navigation system, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

2013 Buick Enclave vs. 2012 Buick Enclave: which should you buy?

There are so many similarities between model years that you can’t really go wrong. They get the same gas mileage and offer the same performance. If your budget is tight, go for whichever model is cheaper in your area, or pick the 2013 if the aesthetic upgrades catch your eye.
If you’re still ambivalent, research what it will cost to insure the SUV. The 2012 is most likely more affordable, which might tip the scales for you. 
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