Buick’s Enclave is a safe and non-threatening choice in its mid-size seven-seat SUV class. The updated model does not disappoint and even improves compared to the previous year with better technology in the car. In the meantime, the driver assistance suite continues to check all the right boxes – with a few limitations – and both performance and efficiency are pretty good.
- Quiet and spacious cabin
- Infotainment 3 Tech is standard and very good
I do not like it
- The fuel consumption is ok
- Driver assistance technology is behind expensive packages and cladding
- Not a great value compared to other three-row SUVs
The exterior design of the Enclave looks great, especially with the new appearance of the Sport Touring Edition for this Essence trim tester, which contains a dark grating and large 20-inch wheels made of chrome and graphite. Nevertheless, the overall picture is the same and the enclave does not stand out from its competitors. It turns out that this is also a recurring theme at Enclave 2020. The SUV is fairly common in most cases and in the middle of the road. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. And in this competitive class, “pretty good” may not be good enough.
Infotainment 3 tech
The previous generation Intellilink The multimedia suite was already decent, but the new GM Infotainment 3 system is an essential step in terms of architecture, functions and usability.
Behind the scenes, there is more powerful hardware and processing, which ensures smoother interactions with the capacitive 8-inch touchscreen. On the software side, the new user interface is over the phone, with a grid of icons that you can tap, swipe, and drag to reorganize as you like.
At the bottom of the screen is a ubiquitous shortcut bar with color-coded links to the home screen, audio sources, phone, navigation, and climate control. This gives it consistency and organization. The bar also contains an area on the right with notifications, wireless signal strength, temperature and time, each of which can also be typed to quickly switch to secondary menus.
Map-based navigation on board is an optional upgrade for most equipment variants, but is not absolutely necessary thanks to the standardand Connectivity. Anyone with a phone in their pocket and a USB cable lying around has access to better maps and app integration at a great price of ninety-nine. However, navigation in Infotainment 3 works well and now offers new suggestions for predictive destinations and a search for points of interest on the Internet.
A third navigation option is in the form of standard OnStar turning instructions. You can call an OnStar operator at the push of a button or use the OnStar app to request voice-operated instructions (but not a live map) and download them to the dashboard. The service is based on subscriptions, of course, but Buick offers a few months of free service for new users – including 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity for up to 10 onboard devices – to get you excited.
As it turns out, data connectivity is also useful for the system’s ability to sync multi-user profiles in multiple infotainment 3 vehicles that support this dashboard technology in the cloud. Each driver can manage their own preferred destinations, settings and signups for onboard apps like Spotify, Glympse, iHeartRadio and more. This is useful for families who share one or more GM vehicles.
The interior of the enclave is pleasant and spacious with high quality materials – not what I would call luxurious, but well constructed and generally pleasant to the touch. The Essence trim level extends to leather seats for the first and second rows. My example is equipped with optional captain’s chairs for the latter. This setup is suitable for the transport of adults who appreciate the additional shoulder space and the individually adjustable legroom. The ability to push the second row seats a little forward can also create a little extra knee room for the third row.
Still, the captain’s chairs are a mixed blessing. If you choose this option, the enclave’s seating capacity will be reduced to six souls instead of the seven that the standard bench offers. Due to the distance between the seats, unsecured objects, which are kept in the rear area, can slide forward during emergency stops if the third row is folded flat.
I should note that the enclave’s lifting and sliding mechanism for access to the third row can only be found on the captain’s chair on the passenger side and not on the driver’s side. This is good for promoting safer loading and unloading of roadside passengers, but not particularly flexible.
The third row of the enclave is about as spacious as its closest competitors. There is decent legroom and headroom for my 5-foot, 9-inch frame, but not much scope for a taller adult. When the seats are folded flat, the storage space of the tailgate increases from 23.6 cubic feet to 97.6 cubic feet, making the enclave one of the best in its class. One of my favorite cargo features in the Enclave is a hidden storage space under the flat false cargo floor, which helps the SUV look neat and organized, while hiding objects like bags from prying eyes.
Security technology: Pay to Play
Security technology is just as important – if not More important – as cabin tech devices in this family-friendly class, and the list of functions of the enclave is proof that Buick understands that. However, most of the best active safety functions are only available in the upper equipment variants.
The standard Safety Tech Loadout includes a rear view camera that is surprisingly high quality. The camera’s feed is rendered sharply with excellent sensitivity in low light conditions, making seeing what happens behind the car a clear and enjoyable experience. With so many vehicles – yes, even luxury cars – that are getting cheaper these days with inferior cameras, this is a real bonus.
When you climb to Essence trim nets, you get a forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and a rear traffic alarm at the rear – all passive functions that tell the driver when something goes wrong. For active safety technology – including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic forward collision reduction – you have to switch to the first-class Avenir model and then Select the optional technology package. This pushes the price to the limits of a good price-performance ratio, especially when you consider that the competing Toyota Highlander 2020 comes standard with all of these features in its basic configuration.
QuietTuning and performance
The performance of the enclave continues the theme of being solid but not noticeable. In the engine compartment is the 3.6-liter V6 engine from GM, which delivers 310 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is an option. That seems to be the right amount of power for a vehicle of this size, but only just. The engine feels and sounds like it always works hard, uphill and when accelerating. I should make it clear that the V6 is not underwhelmed, but it doesn’t feel easy either. It’s not a big fool, but his audible work is a bit atypical for the rest of the chassis with Buick’s “QuietTuning” approach.
QuietTuning is Buick-speak for the company’s attention to controlling noise and harshness in the enclave cabin. It starts with a soft, smooth suspension that offers a comfortable ride and good control and responsiveness in corners. This 4,685-pound SUV is not a Canyon carver, but it rounds corners predictably without tripping over your own feet or feeling too mushy.
Additional QuietTuning noise reduction material throughout the cabin and active noise cancellation ensure that the enclave stays calm on the road and road and wind noise are reduced. This has the double-edged effect of greatly reducing mental fatigue while commuting and on long sections of the highway, but ironically also highlights the less-sounding engine when you have to get up and drive off.
As expected, fuel consumption is pretty much in the middle of the road. The front-wheel drive enclave delivers an EPA estimated total of 21 miles per gallon or 18 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. Switch to all-wheel drive and get to 20 MPG combined, 17 MPG City and 25 MPG Highway. This is not a bad hit, so the Enclave AWD is slightly better than thatAWD (19 mpg combined) and just below the Kia Telluride AWD (21 mpg), the Honda Pilot AWD (22 mpg) and the Mazda CX-9 AWD (23 mpg). On the other hand, a more economical buyer could land a Toyota Highlander Hybrid at 35 mpg 2020 for about as much money as the enclave …
A good choice, but not the best
The 2020 Buick Enclave starts at a whopping $ 40,000 for the FWD Preferred basic equipment in Summit White – for the lower trim levels, every second color selection brings at least an additional $ 495. At the top is the Avenir equipment for $ 56,100, with the Essence ($ 42,000) and Premium ($ 48,400) models on the way.
The Enclave Essence is the sweet spot in the product range. It keeps the price in check, yet offers some security technologies and the comfort of creatures. I would go ahead and pay for the paint – life is too short to drive a plain white SUV – but skip the optional navigation upgrade for $ 1,395 since Android Auto is good enough for me. My example also includes upgrading to the $ 1,695 Sport Touring Edition with 20-inch wheels and a dark-mesh grille, and $ 2,000 all-wheel drive charging. Consider a target fee of $ 1,195 to achieve my tested price of $ 47,385.
Light-footed drivers who want a comfortable, spacious and quiet ride will enjoy the Buick’s offerings, but more spirited drivers will be slightly upset by the powertrain. Those who opt for the upper trim levels will love the technology, but more frugal buyers will be drawn to the more generous standard features offered by the competition in the lower trim levels.
For the money, the enclave is not a fantastic value. At this price level below $ 50,000, it competes with everything from the Volkswagen Atlas to the much more economical Toyota Highlander Hybrid, both of which are fully loaded for about the average cost of the Buick. Still, Buick almost always offers generous incentives that lower the price to a more competitive level, but still, the enclave isn’t the best choice in this crowded, competitive class.