Smooth and stylish. Buick has worked hard to re-earn a spot as a respected luxury brand, and it shows in their design. The 2020 Buick Enclave remains one of their most stylish efforts.

Elegant proportions taper into gentle curves at either end, complemented by a few hints of chrome. The interior is nice, too – a curving minimalist dash makes the cabin feel spacious, and upper trims can see luxurious butterscotch leather.

As we’ve come to expect from Buick, the ride is composed and quiet. Sound deadening is excellent, and the standard nine-speed transmission is a good match for the 3.6-liter V6 engine.

Comfortable, too. Even without fancy leather, the Enclave’s cabin is a nice place to spend time. Interior space is excellent, with good head room even when the optional moonroof is added.

One of the Enclave’s selling points is its third row. It’s spacious compared to some rivals, and three adults can fit back there in a pinch (although head room is somewhat limited).

The details are thoughtful, too. The second row is designed to make third-row access easy, and the trunk has a nifty storage bin under the cargo floor. It adds 3.1 cubic feet to the already considerable 98 cubic feet of cargo space (with both rows folded).

Limited features. We applaud the Enclave for its base feature set, which isn’t bad. The Preferred trim starts with cloth upholstery, but it gets heated front seats, a power liftgate, and three-zone climate control.

But getting other essential features is an exercise in frustration. Buick hasn’t caught up to the times in the safety department, which means that common active safety tech like automatic emergency braking isn’t even available on the lower two trims. In a class where those features are increasingly standard, that’s a black mark in our book.

All-wheel drive is a similar story. The base Preferred trim is front-wheel drive only, and even the next step Essence gets only a primitive all-wheel drive option. Getting the most effective system requires bumping up to the Premium trim, which starts at nearly $50,000.

Oh, and if you want any color other than white? That’s extra, too.


Buick Enclave

Searching for value. The Premium trim is what you’ll need in order to get the active safety features included, too. At that level, the Enclave also has Bose sound, leather upholstery, and massage-capable front seats.

That’s a good kit, but with all-wheel drive, it puts the price at nearly $52,000. Against luxury crossovers and SUVs from the likes of Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz, that may be a decent bargain.

But against increasingly polished mainstays like the Honda Pilot, it dings the Enclave’s value proposition. The base trim will only appeal to buyers in the sun belt, and a family vehicle deserves better safety tech than the base Enclaves can offer.

One final downside is fuel economy. Even for a crossover, the Enclave's 21 miles per gallon combined (20 mpg with all-wheel drive) is mediocre.

Final thoughts. The 2020 Buick Enclave accomplishes what it set out to do: become a genuinely good luxury crossover. It’s comfortable, spacious, quiet, and chic. With the right options, it ticks nearly all of our boxes.

But it’s also unnecessarily limiting, and getting those options bumps the price up considerably. The Enclave may still make sense for the right buyer, but it's not a slam dunk.

We can’t help feeling that Buick could have had a bigger winner here. As things stand, our recommendation comes with an asterisk, and the competition is worth a look.

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