The Enclave Experience: Issues with the Buick Enclave

Sections: Car Audio, Infotainment

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2013 Buick Enclave Photo Shoot 021

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

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.

2013 Buick Enclave Photo Shoot 022

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

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.

2013 Buick Enclave Photo Shoot 023

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

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.

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  • Wanda Rousenberger

    Do you still have the buick/issue with reboot. My 2014 Enclave has been in shop, now going on third time without resolution

    • Lyndon Johnson


      We do not have the Enclave in our test fleet at this time, no. It was with us for only one week in the spring of 2013. Interesting that you’re having the same problem we had even though your Enclave is a 2014 and ours was a 2013. How often has yours done the reboot?

  • Wanda Rousenberger

    My Enclave has been back to the dealership/garage three times to address reboot issue (although this reboot issue has occurred more than 3 times). Imagine trying to use navigation…and it’s lost in the middle of destination…and not being able to use hands free to contact someone for directions). The most recent ‘news’ from buick is that it is an issue with pairing of samsung phone/bluetooth and the infotainment system. Did you happen to have a Samsung?

    Ironic I first reported this issue within 2 day of having car (October of 2013); well before your test. I assume you made dealership aware of issue. Because their initial response was one of disbelief.

    Thanks for responding/listening,


  • Lyndon Johnson

    If you bought your car in October 2013, you actually reported it well after our test, which took place in the spring of 2013.

    That being said, we did not make a dealership aware of the problem because we do not obtain test vehicles from dealerships. We obtain them from a third-party fleet management company who delivers cars to us as part of contract agreements that company has with the auto companies. The fleet management company gets paid by the likes of Buick to put cars in our hands, and the cars, in turn, get exposure on our site. In a way, automakers see it as an advertising expense.

    That’s why auto companies and fleet management companies don’t like these kinds of articles very much. And truth be told, this article did not make the fleet management company or the PR reps at Buick very happy. I got a testy phone call or two in the immediate aftermath of this article being published because I had not reached out to the fleet management company or the automaker to “better understand” the issues with the Enclave before I wrote about them.

    To be clear, I have since made it a habit to reach out to the fleet management company or the automaker whenever a problem rears its head during a vehicle test — but it is NEVER to ask their permission before writing about the problem. I want to give them a chance to go on the record about what causes the problem or what is being done to address it. In your case, it sounds like Buick isn’t doing much to address the issue even for its owners, though admittedly, I never gave them a chance to talk about it with us before this article originally published.

    The latest issue I had with a test vehicle was the 2014 Ram 1500 I tested last fall. You can read about the issue here: Long story short, it went into “limp home” mode because a wiring harness came loose, owing to the truck’s pre-production build. Ram officials said I had no reason to write about it because the truck was pre-production. The guys at the fleet management company urged me not to mention it because it was going to make it more difficult to get me future vehicles. I informed both of them that the issue would be mentioned, though I woul dmake every effort to handle it even-handedly.

    I didn’t get any angry phone calls after the story ran, so maybe I struck the balance any autojournalist with a conscience must try to strike.

  • Wanda Rousenberger

    Thank you for your response(s).

    If nothing it makes me feel like I’m not imagining things or making a mountain out of a mole hill.. as district rep and dealership has made me feel. Initially my report was not believed…until my car, not driver, called onstar while in dealership hand (without my samsung). Since then I am vigilant about videoing issues…because I feel I need to document that it is a real problem; not that they are doing anything about it though. Again thanks so much.

    I think you did a very nice job of giving the Ram a very fair review. You pointed out a problem that was fixed in a reasonable time. The problem was reasonable given the stage of development that you had it in. You also identified that it performed well after that fix. Kudos to Dodge for being responsive to your concerns, without repercussions.

    Btw I did mean ‘after’ your experience…thanks for catching that.

    • Lyndon Johnson

      And thank YOU for your kind comments and keeping us updated about your Enclave. People like you are the reason we do what we do around here.

      If you’re on Facebook or Twitter and you haven’t looked us up already, do it! We’re @InCarTechTell or

  • William Braeker

    How do I keep the USB port to continue to play my songs in order, without going back to the beginning of the stick?

    • Lyndon Johnson

      That’s a good question, William. I never figured it out, myself, while we were testing the Enclave. We had a lot of instances of the IntelliLink infotainment system skipping back to the beginning of the stick — a stick I had used in testing several other cars before and after the Enclave with nary a hiccup.

  • dA

    With my 2014 enclave. It all started with less than 1500k miles on the car. The infotainment system shuts off every time a text comes through. Buick supposedly knew about this and has been trying to fix it. Not good..I am not happy with that aspect…no time frame at all!

  • dA

    Oh ibhave a Motorola hd RAZR maxx

  • Jack

    I do not think it is possible in BUICK. It really sucks to listen the same music more than 500 times. sorry.