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Stepping Behind the Wheel of the Latest Buick SUV

A grey 2020 Buick Enclave, which is a popular option among the Buick SUVs, is parked in front of a house while its snowing.

 

Nothing screams luxury like a three-row SUV, complete with leather seating, an array of modern features, and an engine that won’t let you down in a pinch. There are many vehicles out there that fit this description. SUVs that take utility to the next level offer a driving and riding experience that is first-class material in every way. Even mainstream automakers are leaning towards luxury designs, attempting to tap into a market of drivers who expect more than just the typical from their SUVs. Well, the latest Buick SUVs are certain to satisfy both high and low-end markets. New to the Buick family lineup is the 2020 Buick Enclave. Sleek, stylish, with plenty of modern charms, the Buick Enclave is everything you should expect from a luxury SUV and so much more. Although, you shouldn’t take our points at face value, let’s delve a bit deeper to see what really makes the new Buick Enclave special, and why its one of our favorite luxury SUVs of the year.

Tasteful, Classy, and Well-Meaning

Flashy luxury vehicles don’t age well, plain and simple. Eclectic designs fall victim to the same issue, as something that might be trendy and interesting one year may not offer the same curb appeal the next. Fortunately, Buick has found a perfect balance in the Enclave, offering a design that isn’t showy but still manages to be classy all the same. Well-sized LED headlights frame a charming latticed front grille, resulting in a forward design that can easily walk the line between luxurious and day today. That blend of luxury and practicality carries over to the pricing as well. As other competitor vehicles tip scales and break bank accounts, the 2020 Buick Enclave remains tasteful at a starting MSRP of $40,000.

A close up of the front end of a 2020 Buick Enclave as it's driving on a highway is shown.

Sure, the price does jump quite a bit as you walk on up the trim option ladder, but considering the target market, this is hardly an issue. You’ll have four trims to choose from, which include the Preferred, Essence, Premium, and range-topping Avenir. All in all, you have a luxury SUV that attempts to cater to a wider market than competitors, while at the same time remaining true to the brand and providing an experience that is still phenomenal.

One Really Good Engine

One thing we like to see in SUVs and other vehicles for that matter is a wide variety of powertrains. The more choices in powertrain, the better your chances of satisfying your potential drivers. Unfortunately, the Buick Enclave falls into the same trap as many other automakers of today, by providing a single-engine build for drivers to choose from. While this may hardly be an issue for some drivers, it’s a big deal for others who may not be satisfied with the mainline offerings.

No matter what trim of the Buick Enclave you purchase though, you’re in for a well-packaged 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine that gets the job done in almost all situations. A saving grace of the single powertrain is that you can purchase that same engine with either a front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain. As a result, if you so desire, you can build a Buick Enclave with far more capability in rough road conditions than your average SUV. The 9-speed automatic transmission allows for seamless driving, and if you want more control and capability, you can certainly find it for a price. While base models can only tow 1,500 pounds, you can add-in the towing package, which bumps that rating to a staggering 5,000 pounds. If rough-terrain versatility is what you’re in for, you can find it if you purchase either the Premium or Avenir trims. Both trade the existing all-wheel drive for a more robust drivetrain system that monitors the vehicle’s wheels to make adjustments for maximum traction in challenging driving conditions.

So, while the lack of variety in engine builds is a bit disappointing, the additional packages certainly are not. For many drivers, the lack of several different powertrains is a complete non-issue, so this is hardly a point against Buick; more so, we hope that Buick changes their tune in future models, as more is often better.

First-Class Accommodations

A close up of the front grey and tan interior of the 2020 Buick Enclave is shown with an infotainment system.

This idea of ‘more is better’ couldn’t be found more evident than in the interior cabin of the Buick Enclave. While Buick may have skimped on powertrain options, they make up for it in interior design, and for many Buick Enclave drivers, this is where things truly matter. Measuring in at 204.3 inches from headlights to taillights, the Buick Enclave is quite spacious once inside. Fitting three rows of seats, all passengers will have plenty of room to relax and enjoy a cushy ride. As to be expected in a vehicle like the Buick Enclave, all three rows of seats can be dressed in leather upholstery, which brings a refined appearance to the cabin. That said, even the standard cloth material and soft-touch materials do a stellar job at creating an experience that is truly out of this world. You’ll also get to enjoy more than enough cargo space, as when all rear seats are folded, you’ll get the luxury to enjoy up to 98 cubic feet. Tucked under the floor of the cargo area is an additional compartment that measures in at about 3.1 cubic feet.

While the materials used and interior spacing make the Buick Enclave truly worthy of that ‘luxury’ moniker, it isn’t the only thing that makes riding and driving in this Buick SUV a first-class experience. Base models of the Buick Enclave get a solid spread of automotive tech which includes an Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth connectivity, and GM’s nifty OnStar safety and concierge system. All those features you’ll get for that reasonable entry-level price. Pay top-dollar, and you’ll get top-dollar features. Additional features like massaging heated front-seats, a three-zone automatic climate control system, and a Bose Audio system can all be experienced in high-end models, which can jump prices up to the near $60,000 range. What is a little frustrating however, is that you’ll need to pay a higher price to enjoy the full range of safety features. Even mainstream automakers are including active safety as standard on their vehicles, and for Buick to charge extra for them is a huge setback. That said, you can equip the Buick Enclave with some of the best features on the market today, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist with lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control.

What We Think of the 2020 Buick Enclave

When it is all said and done, the 2020 Buick Enclave is still a great luxury vehicle. While it may not come with all of the incredible safety features that even low-end competitors provide, the remainder is still pretty good. The Buick Enclave is a good fit for anyone who wants a luxury SUV but doesn’t want to pay the high-entry costs that other models tend to require. It also doesn’t rely on flashy gimmicks in order to provide a satisfying ride. If you don’t mind some missing safety features and a single powertrain option, then the Buick Enclave certainly might be something worth taking out for a test drive around town.

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