Determining the most comfortable Buick seems like it should be a pretty simple feat, but the problem is that “comfort” is a pretty subjective term. In addition to that, there are lots of different ways we could define “comfort” and how it relates to a vehicle that you’re in. With quite a few different models available at your local Buick dealer, looking at them from the outside doesn’t really tell you much about what kind of comfort they have to offer. Today, I’m going to do my level best to get to the heart of “comfort” and figure out which model in the Buick lineup is the most comfortable. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to leave aside comfort in terms of ride quality and suspension–this is something that can change a lot depending on the kinds of roads you drive on and how long you’re driving a vehicle. I’ll be focusing on the interior and how the features found therein really translate into comfort.
Quantifiable Comfort Criteria
Even though the idea of comfort is quite subjective, we’re going to focus on objective matters as much as possible. The easiest way to figure this out is to look at the different Buick models and compare similar specs between them. Not all of this is going to be purely quantifiable, there will be some qualitative statements here too, but by using a pretty level playing field, we can try to compare similar or comparable specs between these models.
With that in mind, the aspects of comfort that I’m going to primarily focus on when looking at these Buicks are:
- Interior Passenger Volume
- Front Head/Leg Room
- Rear Head/Leg Room
- Seating Materials
- Other Comfort Features
That last one might seem like sort of a catch-all, and that’s exactly what it is. It would be laborious to list out every possible comfort feature, so we’ll look at things in that category that include air conditioning and climate controls, seat adjustments, and more. Let’s get to it!
The Buick Encore
The Buick Encore is the smallest SUV in Buick’s lineup, which consists entirely of SUV and crossover models these days. There are actually two models that share this name: the Encore and the Encore GX. Despite similar names, these are two different models with some major differences between them, and I’ll get to the Encore GX in the next section.
- Interior Passenger Volume – Even though this is a small crossover model, the Encore still has nearly 93 cu.ft. of interior passenger volume. That’s with two rows of seating for up to five passengers: two up front and three in the rear.
- Front Head/Leg Room – Up front, you can get nearly 40 inches of headroom and just over 40 inches of legroom.
- Rear Head/Leg Room – As you would expect, things can be a bit more cramped for folks in the back seats. The Encore has almost 39 inches of rear headroom available and more than 35 inches of legroom.
- Seating Materials – There’s only a single trim available for the Encore, and it features cloth seating with leatherette trim.
- Other Comfort Features – The Encore has a 6-way power driver’s seat and 2-way manual front-passenger seat, with 2-way adjustable headrests. Beyond that, it offers single-zone air conditioning, which is fine but not thrilling.
Overall, this sets a pretty decent standard for comfort, and you definitely get more here than you’ll find with the starting option in many vehicles. That being said, something tells me Buick has more to offer and that we’ll see greater comfort as we go.
The Buick Encore GX
The Buick Encore GX might sound like it’s simply a trim of the standard Encore, but it is really its own model with numerous trim levels available. In terms of size, it’s pretty comparable to the Encore, but there’s a lot here to like, and we’ll see some impressive comfort features as we look at it. There are three trims available for the Encore GX, so keep that in mind when looking at what it has to offer.
- Interior Passenger Volume – Similar in size to the standard Encore, the Encore GX also has seating for up to five people and just over 94 cu.ft. of total cargo volume inside.
- Front Head/Leg Room – In the front, you get almost 40 inches of headroom and about 41 inches of legroom, essentially the same as the Encore.
- Rear Head/Leg Room – Passengers in the back get just over 38 inches of headroom and 36 inches of legroom, which is again much like the standard Encore.
- Seating Materials – Trim choice will affect the seating you get: the standard Select trim has cloth seating with leatherette trim, while the Essence trim has leather-appointed seating for added comfort.
- Other Comfort Features – The Preferred trim has a 6-way manual driver’s seat and 4-way manual front-passenger seat, with single-zone climate control. Looking at the Essence, you get a 10-way power driver’s seat, 8-way power front-passenger seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
In terms of space inside to stretch out, the Encore GX and Encore are nearly identical. With multiple trims on offer, however, the Encore GX takes the lead on comfort when you look at the Essence trim and everything that it offers. Adding other features, like adaptive cruise control, can also boost comfort by taking some strain off you during long road trips.
The Buick Envision
The Envision is Buick’s compact crossover SUV that’s pretty similar to the Encore models in size but offers a more spacious interior. This model has several different trims available, including Buick’s prestigious Avenir trim, which can boost its comfort to the next level. The Avenir is also available for the Buick Enclave, as we’ll see down below.
- Interior Passenger Volume – Although not massively larger than the Encore models, the Envision is bigger and has just over 100 cu.ft. of total interior passenger volume.
- Front Head/Leg Room – Up in the front, you get almost 40 inches of headroom and just over 40 inches of legroom, pretty similar to the Encores.
- Rear Head/Leg Room – Rear-seat passengers get about 39 inches of headroom and 39 inches of legroom, again similar to the smaller Encore models.
- Seating Materials – For seating, the Preferred trim has cloth seating with leatherette details, while the Avenir features perforated leather-appointed seating.
- Other Comfort Features – An 8-way power driver’s seat and 6-way manual front-passenger seat are standard on the Envision Preferred, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and single-zone climate control. The luxurious Avenir trim features 8-way power front seats that are ventilated and heated, along with heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
It’s clear that the Envision comes out on top over the two Encore models simply by virtue of having the Avenir trim available. The legroom and headroom are pretty similar, though it features quite a bit more total passenger volume so that you can stretch out more; the Avenir features are what really give it the advantage.
The Buick Enclave
As the largest offering from Buick, you might expect the Enclave to be the most comfortable option they sell. Since this model also has the Avenir trim level available, there’s a good chance that will be the case but let’s see for ourselves, shall we?
- Interior Passenger Volume – This is a midsize model with seating for up to seven people, so there’s definitely more room here: more than 157 cu.ft. of total passenger volume inside for people to enjoy.
- Front Head/Leg Room – Larger overall, the Enclave also gives you more space up front with more than 42 inches of headroom available and just over 41 inches of legroom.
- Rear Head/Leg Room – Second-row passengers have nearly 40 inches of headroom to enjoy along with about 38 inches of legroom, while folks in the third-row seats have just over 37 inches of headroom and more than 33 inches of legroom. You won’t want anyone too tall in the very back, but this is a great option for a big family.
- Seating Materials – While the other Buick models all start with cloth seating, the starting Essence trim for the Enclave features perforated leather-appointed seating. Looking at the Avenir trim, seating is similar though there are some other features to note.
- Other Comfort Features – With the Avenir trim, you get heated seats with individual controls, plus ventilated front seats with multiple levels of fan circulation to help you keep cool or warm when you need it. Available massage functionality in the front seats takes comfort to the next level, along with tri-zone climate control to make sure everyone across all three rows is comfy.
As you can see, the Buick Enclave definitely seems like the clear winner, though what I found most surprising is how similar the individual interior space is across their lineup. Even with the smaller Buick models, you still get plenty of space for your head and legs so everyone inside can be comfortable. However, the luxury features of the Avenir trims simply give them an edge, and since the Enclave starts with leather seating across all three trims, it wins out in overall comfort.