Update March 18, 2021: since we wrote this article, GM has done an about-face by completely eliminating the twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system from the Enclave. As such, the 2021 Enclave now only offers regular AWD, without the twin-clutch configuration.
Since launching the second-generation Enclave for the 2018 model year, Buick has offered a unique, twin-clutch all-wheel-drive (AWD) system for the two range-topping trim levels (Premium and Avenir). Whereas the Essence model offered a “traditional” all-wheel-drive setup, opting for AWD on the Premium and Avenir models upgraded the hardware to a more advanced system with a twin-clutch, auto-locking rear differential (G99) that enables the vehicle to independently control torque to each rear wheel, as needed based on road conditions. Now, GM Authority has learned that the 2021 Buick Enclave will bring the more advanced twin-clutch AWD system to the Essence trim.
That means that the “regular” AWD will be replaced by the more advanced system on all 2021 Buick Enclave models that offer all-wheel-drive, including Essence, Premium and Avenir. Meanwhile, the base Preferred trim remains available solely in front-wheel-drive form.
|2018-2020 Enclave:||FWD only||FWD or regular AWD||FWD or twin-clutch AWD||FWD or twin-clutch AWD|
|2021 Enclave:||FWD only||FWD or twin-clutch AWD||FWD or twin-clutch AWD||FWD or twin-clutch AWD|
All 2021 Buick Enclave models will continue being powered by the naturally-aspirated 3.6L V6 LFY gasoline engine (310 horsepower, 266 pound-feet of torque) mated to GM’s nine-speed automatic transmission.
The more advanced AWD system features a twin-clutch axle with electronic positraction, delivering superior traction and vehicle control in inclement driving environments, such as wet, muddy or snowy conditions, by reducing torque to a wheel where slip is detected, and diverting it to a wheel with greater traction. The system is also capable of enhancing handling and cornering in dry-road conditions, providing additional control around curves by sending torque to the outside wheel that is experiencing more traction-enhancing downward force, instead of the inside wheel.
The twin-clutch AWD system has been gradually making its way across a growing number of GM crossovers, including the Buick Enclave and the all-new 2021 Buick Envision. Additionally, the GMC Acadia, Cadillac XT4, XT5 and XT6 also feature the system, as do the Chevy Traverse and Blazer as a means to differentiate higher-end models from lesser ones. Incidentally, the Enclave’s mechanical twin / platform mate – the Traverse – loses the twin-clutch AWD system entirely for the 2021 model year.
It’s also noting that GM was originally planning a mid-cycle refresh for the 2021 Buick Enclave, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the update back to the 2022 model year (see more on the 2022 Buick Enclave).