2020 Buick Enclave Essence AWD

The 2020 Buick Enclave remains Buick’s largest SUV with seating for 7 passengers. The Enclave was first introduced to the Buick lineup 12 years ago and is now four years into the second generation model. Our test vehicle was a 2020 Buick Enclave Essence with All-Wheel Drive. 2020 Buick Enclave Essence

Buick designers have done an admirable job with the exterior styling: the streamlining of the front headlight array and tapered hood have added an air of elegance to the design and the roof-line also flows to the power tailgate, giving the Buick Enclave a pleasing side profile.

The Buick Enclave comes equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine paired to a modern and efficient, 9 speed transmission. The engine is quiet and refined, with variable valve timing and dual overhead cams. With 310HP and 266 lb-ft of torque on tap, acceleration is responsive without being rushed or exhilarating. Simply put, it’s not that type of vehicle. This is a family hauler, one tuned towards traditional American luxury buyers. The suspension follows the comfort focused game plan and responds impressively at soaking up road bumps and imperfections.

GM’s updates to the 2020 Enclave have been mostly focused inside the cabin. An 8-inch LCD touch screen infotainment system is standard on all models and OnStar 4G LTE internet connectivity, Navigation, and SirriusXM satellite radio are all integrated into the Enclave’s cabin. The touch screen adjustments are somewhat annoying when traveling by oneself as the attention required to line up and adjust features can be distracting. Thankfully most of the adjustments are mounted on the steering wheel, which should make it a breeze. However, GM forgot that the average buyer for these vehicles is, like myself, probably over 40 years of age. The markings on the steering buttons are so small and faint, you need reading glasses to see what you are pressing. Once again, that attention required is better served concentrating on the road.2020 Buick Enclave Essence dashboard

A remarkably clean, sculpted, low profile dashboard is faced with premium looking wood patterned plastics, wrapped in lush faux leather. The black dash and door trim contrasted nicely with the super comfy, power adjustable, caramel coloured genuine leather seating. The trim level we were testing came with leather seats, which were power assisted and heated for the front occupants. On higher trim levels, massaging seats are available.

The middle row passenger seat slides out the way to allow for easy and safe entry in the third row. The middle seats were able to recline as well as slide back and forth for extra comfort. They also fold flat to accommodate additional storage. The rear row seating has power folding to provide a flat surface to carry larger items in the back of the Enclave. Total storage available is 2764 L (97.6 cu. ft.) with the second and third row of seats folded down. With all seats in place for maximum passenger capacity, there is still 668 litres of storage available. A power lift-gate makes accessing this storage a breeze.

Out on the road, the Enclave is a pleasure to drive. Not in the typical enthusiast manner that most automotive writers tend to want to reflect on. No. The Enclave is targeted to a broader audience, people to want to get from point A to B in safety and comfort.

We borrowed the vehicle during a period where the roads were not snow covered. We can only assume the all-wheel drive system is as competent as the other electronically controlled, reactive systems on other GM vehicles that do a good job shuttling power to the drive wheels as needed.

I have to admit, in the week spent driving the 2020 Buick Enclave, I found myself enjoying the relaxation that comes with lack of drama. No I didn’t find the need to impress fellow drivers with the Enclave’s off the line speed, carve into corners at break-neck speed or to test the off-road capabilities of its all-wheel drive system. As mentioned earlier, its just not that type of vehicle. It’s perfect for a family who has a need, perhaps only occasionally to move 7 passengers and their belongings while coddled in upscale comfort and safety. 2020 Buick Enclave seating

The list of standard equipment on the Enclave included a host of safety equipment including lane change alert with blind spot warning as well as rear cross traffic warning, rear park assist with a hi-definition monitoring camera. Another feature on our test vehicle was an electronic noise cancelling system to keep any mechanical or road noise to a minimum.

The list price of the vehicle was $51,098. Not inexpensive, but certainly reasonable compared to other vehicles in the near luxury segment. Optional equipment included a Sport Touring package that consisted of a set of sharp looking 20 inch wheels and other decorative fittings ($1,495), a tricoat frosted white paint job ($1.195), a block heater ($195) and wheel locks ($95), bringing the as tested total to $54,078 before fees and taxes.

Overall, the 2020 Buick Enclave seems like a solid value with good looks and a refined powertrain.