The Buick Enclave moved up-market with the release of an all-new second-generation model for 2018, hoping to draw comparisons with mid-size crossovers from more premium brands like Acura and Infiniti.
We’ll refrain—for now—from weighing in on whether Buick was successful in its goals. Like its predecessor, the second-generation Buick Enclave fits neatly into the midsize utility vehicle segment, with three rows of seating providing space for up to seven. It offers a single engine/transmission combo, coupling a 310 hp 3.6-liter V6 with a 9-speed automatic transmission, with standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option.
The Buick Enclave’s 2018 redesign brought about an extra two inches of wheelbase and length, affording occupants greater legroom without compromising on cargo space. Standard features include three-zone automatic climate control, a bounty of USB ports, and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Pricing for the 2020 Buick Enclave starts at $41,195 including destination, reaching $57,295 before options for a top-of-the-line AWD Avenir model.
Pros/ Nicely sculpted exterior / Refined cabin / Low base price
Cons/Very little standard active safety tech / Unimpressive fuel economy
Bottom Line/The Buick Enclave does what Buicks do best, offering upscale comfort at a sub-premium price.
Table of contents
Find everything you need to know about the Buick Encore here, along with expert reviews, specs, photos, videos and more.
Buick Enclave Pricing
The 2020 Buick Enclave has a slightly higher starting MSRP than the previous-generation model. The base trim level—renamed from “Convenience” to “Preferred”—starts at $41,195 including a $1,195 destination fee. That model is FWD-only; AWD is available from the next-highest Essence trim up, at a cost of $2,000 or $2,300, depending on trim.
Thus, the lowest possible MSRP for an AWD Enclave stands at $45,195, the drivetrain padding the Enclave Essence’s $43,195 base price by two grand. The leap from Essence to Premium trim is much greater, at $6,400, and the top-spec Avenir sits another $5,400 above the Avenir. Spring for that model and you’re looking at a $54,995 base MSRP, or $57,295 with AWD.
Buick Enclave Features
GM’s play to nudge the Buick Enclave a bit further up-market has brought a higher class, more ergonomic interior to the midsize crossover. Standard niceties include an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; a hands-free power liftgate; tri-zone climate control; heated front seats; and Buick Quiet-Tuning with active noise cancellation.
Working your way up the trim hierarchy unlocks features from blind spot monitoring to lane keep assist, to forward collision alert, heated steering, rear cross traffic alert, and an enormous power moonroof. Bose premium audio with 10 speakers, including a powerful amp and subwoofers, is optional on the Enclave Essence, and standard on the Premium and Avenir models.
Packages for the 2020 Buick Enclave include a Sound and Sites Package (Essence) with Bose premium audio and navigation; a Trailering Package (Essence, Premium, and Avenir) with a trailer hitch, wiring harness, heavy-duty cooling, and other towing goodies; and an Avenir Technology Package with adaptive cruise control, enhanced automatic emergency braking, and a more premium suspension setup.
Buick Enclave vs Acura MDX
The Acura MDX starts some $4,200 higher than the Buick Enclave at $45,395. They are similarly well-appointed when it comes to interior niceness, although the Acura packs in some thoughtful standard features not available on the Enclave until higher trims, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
Of course, if you don’t care about such things, the Buick’s lower starting price makes it an appealing value proposition.
Buick Enclave vs Infiniti QX60
The Infiniti QX60 is essentially a more premium take on the Nissan Pathfinder, starting at $45,375—$4,180 above the Buick Enclave. But like the Acura MDX, the Infiniti QX60 outdoes the Buick in terms of standard features, with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot warning all fitted as standard.
On the other hand, the Infiniti packs a standard continuously variable transmission, lending it only slightly better fuel economy, at the expense of some driving satisfaction.
Buick Enclave vs Ford Explorer
The newly redesigned Ford Explorer has moved up-market for 2020, starting reasonably close to the Buick Enclave’s base MSRP at $37,870 including destination. The real difference vs. 2019 is in the powertrain, which in the 2020 Explorer employs a longitudinal (RWD-based) layout for the first time in a decade.
But a premium vehicle the Ford Explorer is not – a fact reflected not only in its base MSRP, but in its more basic fit and finish, too. The Explorer-based Lincoln Aviator, meanwhile, has grown so pricey and upscale that it would be hard to consider it a direct competitor. That said, the Explorer’s standard blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist make a compelling enough argument against Buick’s Enclave.
2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Review Video
|Engine /||3.6L V6|
|Horsepower (hp) /||310|
|Torque (lb-ft) /||266|
|Transmission /||9-speed automatic|
|Drivetrain /||Front-wheel-drive / All-wheel-drive|
|Price Range (inc. destination) /||$42,390–$58,490|
Our Final Verdict
The Buick Enclave neglects to offer as standard many of the active safety technologies now ubiquitous in the market, demanding that buyers pay for higher trim levels to get such things as automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring. That’s perhaps a bit unbecoming for a premium offering, and there’s some question as to whether its just-south-of-premium base MSRP is enough to make up for it.
On the other hand, the second-generation Enclave is a well styled and nicely finished vehicle, boasting an interior that looks and feels far more upscale than its Chevrolet- and GMC-badged siblings, the Traverse and Acadia. And while active safety may not be its strong suit, creature comforts decidedly are, thanks to a thoughtful mix of standard comfort and convenience features like heated front seats, a power liftgate, and Buick QuietTuning technology, which helps keep the cabin whisper-quiet.
All things considered, the Buick Enclave is for the buyer who wants premium appointments at a sub-premium price, and who doesn’t mind giving up some active safety tech to have it.4.0