Our Buick Enclave tester was an attractive seven-passenger crossover with an awesome cocoa leather interior, but we did have a few hiccups with the IntelliLink infotainment system.
On our first day with the Enclave, I noticed an odd behavior when I plugged in the same known-working USB stick loaded with music that we had used in all previous reviews. The stick loaded up just fine, though only showed one artist under the “Artists” view. I had to go out to the “Folders” view to see all five artists saved on the stick. This precluded my summoning artists by the usual “Play Artist [artist name]” voice command, but at least I could still get at them via the “Folders” screen.
While that was odd, it wasn’t something I would complain about much if I were to own the Enclave. It’s just as likely to be something about the way the songs were converted to MP3 files as it is something about the IntelliLink system. Once I accessed a given artist via the “Folders” view, everything was organized by album and track order just as I would have expected.
What I did have a problem with was the Enclave’s insistence on starting on the first track of the first folder roughly 75% of the times I started the car. The other 25% of the time, it would pick up where it left off when I shut down the car, as one might expect from an entry level luxury crossover with an additional touchscreen interface and Bose Premium Audio System at an extra $2,240.
The IntelliLink system’s propensity to start at the beginning was most annoying whenever I only had to get out of the car for a couple of minutes and still had the last song I was listening to in the back of my mind. Much as I love The Black Halos’ “The Violent Years” LP, I was starting to get a bit tired of opening track “Some Things Never Fall” by the end of our test week, since this was the song the car reverted to on roughly three out of four starts when left in USB mode– which for me is a feature that is in use almost all the time.
The audio system had one other hiccup during our test week, and it was not related to the USB feature. My wife, son, and I took the Enclave on our weekend shopping run and were listening to FM radio. We stopped at a store for several minutes, and when we came back to the Enclave and started it, the radio station was nothing but static. That was odd, because the station was one we normally pick up easily without any static.
Figuring the station might be experiencing technical difficulties, I tried to press the touchscreen interface, which was on the Home screen, to change our listening mode over to XM or USB. But the screen didn’t respond to my touches, and attempts to summon the voice command prompt via the Enclave’s steering wheel-mounted button didn’t work, either. After about 60 seconds, the screen went black, then rebooted to the Buick IntelliLink logo that normally displays when you first turn on the vehicle. After sitting on this screen for what seemed like an abnormally long time, everything returned to normal. I suppose the system crashed and rebooted itself.
It should be mentioned that during our week with the GMC Acadia Denali, which had the exact same infotainment system, we had neither of these issues, even though we were using the same USB stick and listening to the same FM station. Perhaps there is a software patch for the Enclave’s IntelliLink system that would prevent these issues from happening in the future.
Otherwise, the Enclave’s color touchscreen was just as easy to use as we remember from the GMC Acadia Denali. It had the same excellent back-up camera, an easy-to-use navigation system, and voice recognition that was above-par among others we’ve experienced, despite the inability to use it with the USB stick. Given all these things, we wouldn’t call the two issues we had with IntelliLink “deal breakers.” We’d definitely study up on how best to save our MP3 files (ours were originally converted with iTunes many software generations ago) and ask our dealer service department if there was something we could do to prevent another crash/reboot cycle, though.
Disclosure: Buick provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.