2020 Buick Enclave

BY ED KEMPER      

When you see a Buick with the model with name starting with the letter “E” you know by its looks and the name that it is a SUV/crossover. From the small to the big rankings, the Encore is a subcompact version, and Envision takes care of the compact spin. And last, but not least, is our test full size seven passenger Enclave. And unlike some in this class the seating set up is configured two upfront, two captain chairs, and three all the way back…more about that later.

On the power front, the choices are simple. The sole powerplant is a 3.0-liter V-6 producing a spunky 310 horsepower, and it is hooked up to a 9-speed automatic transmission. But there is one powertrain choice…either front wheel drive or all wheel drive. With a fair amount of power, the 0-60 time is a reasonably quick 6.6 seconds. The average fuel mileage rating is 21 mpg. Pricing starts at about $40,000, but our test vehicle was a super high end model.

Like its other “E” roommates, the Enclave styling theme maintains the Buick look particularly in the grille area. The happy semi-smiley grille has the Buick circle with its three symbols in the center and single chrome strips sideways on either side of the circle. To break up the long sides, there are pushed out sculpturing towards the lower portions. The roof at the liftgate slants downward, and a spoiler is above the rear window. Large taillights wrap around the body. The end result is a nicely crafted look.

As you would expect in this higher-end SUV, a passive entry system lets you in, and with a push of a button, the engine starts. In our test model, the interior was leather lined with chrome and wood inserts. An 8-inch colorful touch screen is in the center of the dash. Additional buttons and dials are below it to handle some features like sound and station choices. A three-way automatic climate system takes care of the cooling issues in front and back. In the dash pod there are classic gauges as well as a small video screen that with a push of buttons on the steering wheel can provide various forms of info. The leather-covered steering wheel has buttons on it for sound and station control, the cruise function, and phone use. Seven airbags and curtains provide safety protection. In addition various other systems are designed to avoid a collision…forward collision alerts, front pedestrian braking, lane changing alerts, etc. In some situations, the driver seat vibrates as part of the warning system.

Even on our rough roads, the suspension does a good job of absorbing impacts. Unless really pushed super hard, the engine operates in silence, and the transmission shifts effortlessly. With the use of paddles behind the steering wheel, the gears can be manually changed. A start stop at full stops turns the engine off until you accelerate. Even with this relatively tall SUV, corners are controlled and easily handled.

Rear room with the two captain chairs in row two is generous. The seats have individual armrests that can be lowered and raised as needed. The rear automatic climate system with vents in the ceiling is controlled with dials in back of the center console. On our model, a separate sun roof is above these seats. To gain access to the 3 person rear bench seat, simply go between the two captain chairs. Legroom is a little tight, but the two captain chairs can be slide forward. With a push of a button, the 60/40 split seat backs can be lowered or raised. The powered lift gate can be opened with a button the driver’s door or with a key. It can be closed with a button on the gate itself. Even with all the seats up, there is fair amount of luggage room in the back area, and there is additional storage under the rear floor.

With increasing numbers of three row seat SUVs, this one presents a worthwhile choice. Silently roomy would be an accurate description.

Tech Specs

Model: Midsize SUV, 7 passengers.
Price: base $40,000, as tested $56,995
Powertrain: 3.0 liter V-6 310 h.p., 9-speed automatic transmission, front wheel drive or optional all wheel driver.
Performance: 0-60: 6.6 seconds.
Fuel mileage: 21 m.p.g average, 18 m.p.g city, 26 m.p.g highway.
High Beams: Roomy SUV for seven passengers. Easy to get to the third row of seats. Quiet city vehicle.
Low Beam: Legroom in row three needs some help from row two occupants.

© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.
© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.