TALLULAH FALLS, GA – It’s a 1,000-ft. (305-m) plunge to the bottom of Tallulah Gorge, a 2-mile (3.2-km) canyon cutting through northeast Georgia, and the hike to the bottom and back leaves its thousands of annual visitors breathless and weak-kneed.

The folks at Buick probably can relate. The premium General Motors brand hit rock bottom in the U.S. a few short years ago with a 3-product lineup about as exciting as Uncle Bob sleeping off Thanksgiving.

But as Buick’s fortunes continued to rise in China and GM’s post-bankruptcy financial engine started humming again, the brand has added fun, functional, technology-driven models to a lineup with appeal to a broad range of American buyers.

After a long climb back, Buick has its legs again and the redesigned ’18 Buick Enclave effectively caps its return. In fact, two more new products are due from Buick in the coming months to round out a portfolio numbering as many as 10 cars and crossovers less than four years old.

But the Enclave is Buick’s golden-roasted turkey, a feast for the eyes and as satisfying to the palate of today’s car buyers as anything on the table.

Sleek, SUV-like styling belies the large crossover’s massive proportions, while the spacious interior is like a Crate and Barrel sofa with its modern design, hints of craftsmanship and comfy-but-firm seating. Hidden under-floor storage, a programmable power liftgate with ground illumination, an available power-folding third row and a sliding second row for easy access to the way back (even with a child seat latched in) make the Enclave as versatile as a Leatherman.

The roomy crossover drips with technology, too, such as an available 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, USB ports for every passenger, standard tri-zone automatic climate control, a frameless 8-in. (20-cm) infotainment screen, active noise cancellation, a 360˚ surround vision camera for low-speed maneuvering and an optional rear-camera mirror that works like a traditional mirror or functions as a camera for an unobstructed and high-resolution view out the back.

Under the hood, an updated version of GM’s 3.6L gasoline direct-injected V-6 links to an all-new Hydra-Matic 9T65 9-speed automatic transmission to power the Enclave down the road with confidence.

A new Avenir specialty trim level layers on more interior luxury, such as a wood-accented steering wheel and a reconfigurable 8-in. instrument cluster, while the exterior receives items including a unique grille treatment and the suspension is upgraded with continuous damping.

There also is an optional air ionizer to eliminate odors and improve air quality. An ionizer may sound superfluous, but huff and puff up and down the gorge here on a hot day and you and your passengers will be awfully thankful for the bit of excess.

Such a cornucopia of content, however, does not come cheaply. The base price of the new Enclave is $40,970, which is a reasonable $980 more than the outgoing model. But start stepping up the model range from entry Enclave trim into Essence and Premium to where all those sexy features lie and the sticker price races past $50,000 as fast as Aunt Dottie through a third glass of Beaujolais.

Models tested here included a Premium model with all-wheel drive and $5,165 worth of options, including rich Havana Metallic paint for $395, to cost an all-in $56,455. A top-of-the-line Avenir model also tested commands $59,435. Yep, that’s Buick knockin’ on 60-large (Note to penny-pinching product planners: If you want to play in the Audi pricing segment, hard plastic cupholders do not cut the mustard).

Yet for customers who check all the boxes without hesitation, the Avenir will satisfy their pretentiousness. It delivers attractive styling nuances and technology tidbits, such as a spectacular full-speed adaptive cruise control system unavailable elsewhere within the Enclave lineup and an exclusive reconfigurable IP that helped earn it a 2017 Wards 10 Best UX award.

While GM intends to expand Avenir’s content offering down the road as it tries to emulate sister-brand GMC’s success with the 17-year-old Denali sub-brand, the bang-for-the-buck play would be one step down to the Enclave’s Premium line. Premium models still offer fashionable items such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and head-turning 20-in. wheels.

Choosing a Premium model will not forgo the real-time damping suspension for the standard MacPherson front- and 5-link independent rear setup. But over several hours of testing both models, the difference in handling and ride comfort between the two is not extraordinary, with the exception of how well the continuously damping suspension smoothed out some urban Atlanta streets seemingly neglected since the Reconstruction.

The big difference in ride and handling lies between the two generations of the Enclave. The redesigned model shed 350 lbs. (159 kg) and feels astonishingly lighter on its feet.