The 2021 Buick Enclave Is a Questionably Expensive Way to Haul 7 People

Those who want modern amenities and old-school charm will gravitate toward the Buick lineup. Buick’s most popular model is the Enclave, which competes in the mid-size SUV class. So far, the 2021 Enclave has impressed critics with its power, but it still falls short in a few areas. 

Where the 2021 Buick Enclave shines 

The new Car Buick Enclave Avenir ahead on the International Auto Show in New York
The Buick Enclave Avenir | KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

The Enclave shines brightest for its velvety smooth performance. It’s pretty good looking too. All Enclaves are powered by the same 310-hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic. This Buick offers plenty of power and reaches 60 mph within seven seconds, which is laudable for a vehicle its size.

Like many of its competitors, the Enclave can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. However, it’s below the class average for fuel economy. Models with the standard front-wheel system have an EPA rating of 21 mpg overall; opting for all-wheel drive sacrifices a point. Competitors, including the Toyota Highlander and the Mazda CX-9, do a bit better in this category. 

“The Enclave moves in a smooth, soft, and quiet manner. A refined and sophisticated multi-link independent rear suspension not only contributes to the excellent ride quality, but also endows it with the ability to take corners like a much smaller SUV.”

Kelley Blue Book (2020)

Cabin comforts 

The 2020's standard beige-colored cloth interior.
2020 Buick Enclave Interior | Buick

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The Enclave has plenty of space to haul seven people across its three-rows. We’ve especially recognized the Enclave for its tranquil cabin that blocks out bothersome road noise. The Enclave’s quiet nature lives up to expectations for a luxury vehicle.

However, the Enclave’s interior finishings aren’t that remarkable. It comes standard with cloth upholstery, which isn’t impressive for an SUV that competes in the luxury realm. You have to upgrade for more frills such as leather and heated seats.

“…Material quality and attention to detail are what hold the Enclave back from being competitive with its luxury-branded rivals. The wood trim looks and feels chintzy, the sunshades for the optional panoramic roof aren’t power operated, and only the passenger-side second-row seat slides forward to allow third-row passengers in and out—a clear cost-cutting move that compromises convenience. “

Car and Driver (2020)

Technology offerings

Front seats of a 2020 Buick Enclave
Front row seats of the Enclave | Buick

While the Enclave’s trimmings could be nicer, it does deliver regarding in-car tech. It was rated as one of the SUVs with the best infotainment systems. The 2021 Enclave comes with a crisp 8-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a wifi hotspot. Still, it’s behind the curve regarding advanced safety features.

As U.S News highlights, the 2021 Enclave only comes with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Many of its classmates have a longer list of safety gadgets. You’d have to upgrade to get commonly expected items such as forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. 

Should I buy a 2021 Buick Enclave?

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir from the back view
2020 Buick Enclave Avenir | Buick

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The 2021 Enclave has a starting price of $40,000. This Buick piques with its performance and plush cabin. Even so, its list of standard features and so-so interior design leave room for improvement. Mainstream models, including the Kia Telluride, are about $10K cheaper and come with a more upscale interior. The Enclave is a good SUV overall, but it could do more to live up to its luxury moniker.