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During a test drive of the Buick Enclave a few years ago, I ran into a friend. “Wait, is this a Benz?” she asked me, impressed. Since Buick has been making a concerted effort to be regarded as a serious luxury brand, the team loved my story and told me that the Enclave I was about to test drive would be a lot sexier. They were right.

Downstairs at the valet, I noticed that people were already trying to get a better look at it. For good reason. The 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is the first of its kind—the very first vehicle launched for Buick’s new sub-brand, Avenir. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Avenir means “future” in French, which is fitting since Buick expects this sub-brand to define the future of luxury. The Avenir nameplate is expected to become synonymous with excellence, a task accomplished in part by packing all of the features that Buick has to offer into every vehicle with the Avenir name. A fact that made my drive from Manhattan to Newport, R.I. absolutely dreamy.

My favorite feature? Wireless charging. Yes, you read that correctly. Wireless charging.

On the road, there was a lot to notice about the Enclave Avenir, including some features I’d never seen before. More on those features in a bit. First, let’s talk about how thorough Buick can be. The brand definitely prepped the staff at Gurney’s Resort in advance. Seriously. It started with the valet. Before I could even exit the vehicle after pulling up at Gurney’s, Devin, the valet, identified the car by name (even though it’s not out yet) and asked me if my rearview mirror was a TV. Sharp eye, I thought. It is a TV.

Have you ever loaded your car up to the roof with luggage and vacation supplies only to realize that you’ve blocked your view from the rear view mirror? Well, you won’t have that problem with the Avenir. A flip of a switch means you can watch a live stream of what’s behind you versus relying on a mirror’s reflection. Not only does this mean that your view will never be obstructed again, it also means that you have greater visibility since the camera’s wide angle lens allows you see into both blind spots. It takes some getting used to but it’s quite a game changer. One caveat though. The objects in the live stream appear much closer than they are. You’re probably used to this dynamic in your side mirrors but not the rear view. The unfortunate result is that if someone stops abruptly behind you, it feels like you’re watching a rear-end collision in progress. Unnerving, at first, to say the least.

ater inside Gurney’s Seawater Spa, I chatted with Vanessa, my pedicurist. Not only did Vanessa know all about the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir but she had just ordered one! Suffice it to say, Vanessa and I had a spirited conversation. At some point during our chat, she admitted that her husband hadn’t been with her at the dealership when she pre-ordered the Enclave Avenir, so he hadn’t even seen it yet. Naturally I offered up mine. “He’s gonna looove this,” she said, while snapping tons of pictures in and around the Avenir. Yup, I’m pretty sure he will. I certainly did.

My favorite feature? Wireless charging. Yes, you read that correctly. Wireless charging. There is a cubby beneath the Avenir’s navigation console where a driver can store various odds and ends. The magic of this area is that it is also a wireless charging station. I’ve seen wireless charging offered in other cars before but the system in the Enclave Avenir does not require a special case for your cell phone. I tried two different cell phones, as is, and both of them started charging immediately, which was amazing. I did have to readjust the phones occasionally because the momentum of driving will sometimes break the connection, but overall I loved the feature…and the car.

Just The Facts:

  • 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir
  • Starts at $41K
  • Standard safety features include Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Standard keyless open and remote start
  • Standard OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot (AT&T data plan purchase required after limited data trial period) and five years of the OnStar Basic Plan at no additional cost

Via @simplyrides