Are Buick Enclaves Better Than Other Mid-Size SUVs?

By Scott KingLast Updated September 9, 2020
Photo Courtesy: @EdMartinBuickGM/Twitter

In the crowded luxury midsize SUV market, the Buick Enclave nonetheless stands out for its smooth ride and abundant safety features. While the 2020 version of the luxury SUV hasn’t changed much from its 2018 predecessor overall, it does offer a few notable upgrades over previous models.

Even so, with numerous competitors out there, is the Buick Enclave truly the best vehicle in its class? The answer depends on your needs. The Enclave sports a range of strengths and a few weaknesses that you should know about before deciding to purchase one.

Getting to Know the Buick Enclave

The Buick Enclave is designed for comfort and daily use, especially by larger families. If you're looking for an SUV with plenty of room for passengers and cargo, you'll appreciate the Buick Enclave's spacious interior, which provides seating for seven across three rows. It has a total length of 204.30 inches and a maximum cargo volume of 97.6 cubic feet.

Photo Courtesy: @Buick/Twitter

There’s no shortage of amenities with this vehicle. For example, when the Enclave is remotely started, the heated and ventilated seats are automatically activated. The settings automatically adjust based on the feedback of temperature sensors and your preferred settings. An in-vehicle air ionizer — available in most trims — also purifies the air inside the SUV.

The base Preferred trim features a 310-horsepower V6 engine, remote start, eight-inch diagonal color touchscreen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities, heated driver and passenger seats and a total of six USB ports. If you want to take things further, you can upgrade to the Essence for leather seating in the first and second rows along with lane change alert and rear cross-traffic alerts as well as Sirius XM radio. Beyond that, the aptly-named Premium has a Bose Premium 10-speaker audio system, power-folding third-row seats, ventilated and massaging front seats and forward collision alert. Finally, the Avenir trim comes with HD camera and rear camera mirrors, a power moonroof with a fixed rear skylight and wireless smartphone charging.

Meet the Competition

One of the main competitors to the Enclave is the Audi Q7. Like the Enclave, it has three rows of seating for up to seven passengers. However, the Q7 has a larger standard 12.3-inch virtual cockpit along with leather seating, even on the base model. While the Enclave has a 60/40 split-folding third row, the Q7's is 50/50. The base Q7 has a lower-output 248-horsepower engine.

Photo Courtesy: @audisouthafrica/Twitter

Another competitor is the arguably more stylish 2020 Mazda CX-9, which comes with high-end cabin material, an array of standard features and modern styling. The base model comes with a 250-horsepower engine and available all-wheel-drive for inclement conditions. Heated front seats, a seven-inch full-color touchscreen display and three-zone automatic climate control round out the list of available features.

Both models (and others) offer advantages over the Enclave. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the better choice for all drivers. For instance, the Enclave is cheaper and more fuel-efficient than the Q7, while the CX-9 offers storage space as well as raw power, even if it’s cheaper than the Enclave as well.

Deciding If the Enclave Is Right for You

With all of that in mind, is the Enclave the right choice for your needs? When it comes to fuel economy, this mid-size SUV is about average for its class, with an EPA-estimated 18 miles per gallon around town and up to 26 mpg on the highway. Unlike some other vehicles, which can see a drastic reduction in fuel economy with all-wheel drive, the Enclave only loses one mpg for both city and highway driving when all-wheel drive is engaged. Additionally, the 2020 Enclave received an above-average predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power of 3.5 out of five. The basic warranty is valid for three years or 36,000 miles, while the powertrain is covered up to 60,000 miles or five years.

Photo Courtesy: @Buick/Twitter

If the mid-range cost, fuel economy, and general safety and reliability of the Enclave appeal to you, it could be the right car for you. While it's not as cheap as the Chevrolet Traverse or the Mazda CX-9. the Enclave is ultimately a solid deal worthy of consideration.

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