This is the third in a series profiling each of the 2017 Wards 10 Best UX winners.
If you’re looking for the definition of reinvention, search no further than Buick. The bland, old-man brand of General Motors from just a handful of years ago has become a surprising scene-maker with progressive style and a lineup of premium, user-friendly crossovers Americans crave.
At the top of Buick’s lineup is the redesigned ’18 Enclave Avenir, a premium 7-passenger CUV that is so doggone fun, safe and connected it earns a 2017 Wards 10 Best UX award.
“When it comes to UX, the Enclave’s clean and functional design is a winner,” says WardsAuto editor Bob Gritzinger. “The driver sees a simple layout featuring a reconfigurable touchscreen bordered by hard buttons and knobs devoted to the key controls the driver wants readily at hand. This is the template for good UX.”
The Enclave Avenir is the first expression of the brand’s extra-special trim line; think of GMC’s lineup of Denali models for comparison. The Avenir designation earns buyers a number of UX upgrades, including a colorful, 8-in. (20-cm) diagonal reconfigurable cluster display.
Toggling between the numerous configurations for vehicle vitals, infotainment and comfort and convenience, the information delightfully comes and goes from the screen like actors exiting stage-left and stage-right.
“Gauge cluster screen is sharp,” offers WardsAuto editor Christie Schweinsberg.
The same can be said for the Buick Avenir’s frameless, 8-in. diagonal infotainment screen atop the center stack. It sits at a safe, user-friendly height and is a veritable treasure box of connectivity as the gateway to gotta-have items such as an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 3-D navigation maps and a rocking 10-speaker Bose Premium audio system with a redesigned bass enclosure for top-notch sound.
“Checks off all the connectivity boxes, including at least six USBs in front, middle and rear seating areas,” observes WardsAuto editor Drew Winter. “It also provided real-time traffic updates without being asked. Nice.”
The Enclave Avenir’s lineup of advanced driver-assistance systems is extensive and headlined by full-speed adaptive cruise control capable of conveniently taking the big CUV from highway speeds to a complete stop and back again. Other helpful items include forward automatic braking, a rearview camera mirror for unobstructed rearward visibility and a 360-degree surround-vision camera to aid parking and give the driver a glimpse of their surroundings before exiting the vehicle.
GM’s Teen Driver safety system monitors a young person’s driving habits with customizable limits for things such as vehicle speed and audio volume, and an industry-first Rear Seat Reminder alerts drivers to double-check the backseat for children or other forgotten valuables.
The Avenir trim also brings a standard air ionizer to eliminate odors and provide clean, fresh air, an option young families would quickly appreciate, while the chestnut and ebony interior with piping along the seat and Avenir script in the headrests suggest this Enclave is not your everyday people mover.
Third-row seats power down to a nearly flat floor; a sliding second-row seat on the passenger’s side offers easy access to the way-back; and the liftgate opens with the kick of a foot over top a Buick tri-shield logo projected to the pavement from the rear bumper.
As Buick continues to remake itself for new generation of buyers, the Enclave Avenir serves as an excellent guidepost for the brand and the industry at large: The best user experience is intuitive, entertaining and makes everyday life safer and more enjoyable.