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2013 Buick Enclave puts spotlight on lighting

Newest Buick is a good example of modern lighting technology and its benefits.


The new 2013 Buick Enclave features modern lighting with a host of benefits beyond simply lighting the road ahead. Lighting on automobiles is nothing new. The 1908 Buick Roadster in my neighbor’s garage has headlights which are powered by kerosene. They still work just fine. However, as automobiles matured, the role of lighting changed from casting an eerie glow so as to be seen by horses, pedestrians and other motorists, to lighting the road ahead as far as necessary given the vehicle's speed capabilities. The 1908 was already able to over-run its headlights at a full gallop. The newest Buick, 105 years newer is a great showcase for the current state of the art in automotive illumination.

Lights Define A Brand
One of the most important considerations for any brand is recognition. The 2013 Buick Enclave uses its LED front daytime running lights to create a specific look recognizable to motorists. Mark Adams, executive director of Buick Design made the point in a recent press statement saying “Our signature LED lighting serves a double purpose of providing a premium look and making sure our vehicles are unmistakable in the eyes and mirrors of other drivers on the road. Some of the new Enclave’s design cues will carry over to other Buick models to come, but every execution will be true to each model’s character.”

Rear Lights Are Not Dots
The 2013 Buick Enclave also uses modern rear lighting. By using a Uniform Lighting Lens, the Enclave’s designers were able to make the tail-lights have a look unlike that of the LED dots now so common. Although the lights due use LEDs (more on why below) the look is more elegant. In past prototypes GM experimented with fiber optics to achieve this look, but the cost and complexity were too great for a passenger vehicle.

Adaptive Lighting Is A Proven Safety System
Adaptive lighting available on the new Buick Enclave is also a proven safety improvement over standard headlights. Able to sway up to 15 degrees to light the road ahead during turning, adaptive front headlamps have been found in studies by HDLI to be effective in reducing accidents. Unlike blind spot monitoring and lane departure, the facts on this new technology match the claims.

New Lighting Saves Fuel
Another factor that is important in vehicle lighting design besides a smart look recognizable to buyers and safety is energy management. LEDs are very frugal in terms of energy consumption. As vehicle designers add more and more infotainment to a car (such as dual rear video screens in family vehicles) and also add more electric elements such as electric power steering, the need to conserve energy elsewhere is becoming more and more important. LEDs in place of some other form of energy intensive lighting help designers and engineers use an existing power source in a vehicle to do more. This helps keep costs down and to save fuel.

The new lighting found in the 2013 Buick Enclave is much more than a pretty face.