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2021 Buick Enclave Review

The Buick Enclave ranks in the middle of the midsize SUV class. It’s roomy and powerful, but it has cheaper cabin materials than you'd expect from a vehicle with such a high price tag.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy seats
  • Large cargo hold
  • Silky ride
  • Ample engine power
  • Some low-rent cabin materials
  • High base price

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Buick Enclave's #9 ranking is based on its score within the Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Buick Enclave has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 24 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 8.5
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.9 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Buick Enclave?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Buick Enclave a Good SUV?

Yes, the Buick Enclave is a good midsize SUV. It has a lengthy list of standard infotainment features, a cushioned ride, and a powerful V6 engine. It also has some of roomiest accommodations in the segment. However, this crossover comes with few standard active safety features (though many are available), and it has too many low-quality cabin materials for a vehicle with such a high base price.

Why You Can Trust Us: 24 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Buick Enclave review. It combines concrete data like horsepower ratings, fuel economy, and cargo space dimensions with XX professional reviews. This Buick Enclave review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Buick Enclave?

Well-equipped and spacious, the Buick Enclave is a compelling vehicle. However, there are plenty of great SUVs in the class that are worth considering. The Chevrolet Traverse shares many components with the Buick, but it's more affordable. The Mazda CX-9 has sharper handling, and the Acura MDX offers a bit more luxury.

Find a 2021 Buick Enclave for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Buick Enclave: What's the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 models.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Enclave »

Here are the key changes to the Buick Enclave over the past few model years:

  • 2018: fully redesigned; nine-speed automatic transmission replaced six-speed automatic; V6 engine gained 22 horsepower; added several standard and available features
  • 2019: no notable changes
  • 2020: no notable changes
  • 2021: no notable changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Enclave, 2019 Enclave, and 2020 Enclave reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Buick Enclave Cost?

Buick has not released official pricing for the 2021 Enclave as of this writing. Based on the nearly identical 2020 model, we expect the base trim to retail for around $40,000, which makes it more expensive than most nonluxury SUVs. Getting the high-end Avenir trim with all-wheel drive will push that price past $54,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

Buick Enclave Versus the Competition

Buick Enclave vs. Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse has much in common with the Enclave. These midsize SUVs have a similar amount of passenger and cargo room, and both GM vehicles feature the same V6 engine. The Chevy’s main edge is its affordability. Its starting price is around $10,000 less than the Buick's, so there’s little reason to spend that much more to get essentially the same vehicle.

Compare the Enclave and Traverse »

Buick Enclave vs. GMC Acadia

The Enclave and the GMC Acadia also have a lot in common. They have similar performance scores, and the GMC can be had with the same V6 engine. The GMC costs less than the Buick, but the Enclave offers several advantages. The Enclave has a better history of predicted reliability, roomier third-row seating, and a lot more cargo space, owing to its larger overall size. The GMC is a fine vehicle, but the Buick is the better choice.

Compare the Enclave and Acadia »

Compare the Enclave, Traverse, and Acadia »

Enclave Interior: Spacious but Somewhat Low-Rent

Enclave Cargo Space

With 23.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 58 cubic feet behind the second row, and 97.6 behind the first, the Enclave has one of the largest cargo capacities in the midsize SUV class. Additionally, this Buick provides 3.1 cubic feet of underfloor storage.

How Many People Does the Enclave Seat?

Up to seven people can sit in this three-row SUV. Cloth upholstery is standard, as are heated and power-adjustable front seats. Upgrades include leather upholstery, ventilated and massaging front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, a power-folding third row, and a heated, power-folding steering wheel.

Few rivals provide as much head- and legroom as the Enclave. The seats are well-padded, and you’ll find lots of space, even in the third row. The second-row captain’s chairs make it easy to access the rear, and outward visibility is good thanks to the thin roof pillars.

Enclave and Child Car Seats

This SUV has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row seats and a tether anchor for each third-row seat. This LATCH system is generally easy to use, but some of the tether anchors could be confused for other hardware.

Enclave Interior Quality

Cabin quality is a shortcoming for the Enclave. Cheap plastic panels and switches squeak when they rub against each other, and even the nicer pieces, like wood trim, feel a bit flimsy.

Enclave Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This Buick's infotainment system is richly equipped and easy to use. There are plenty of physical controls, and the touch screen is bright and responsive, although it’s a bit small compared to those in rivals like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, six USB ports, Siri Eyes Free, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: a navigation system, wireless device charging, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a Bose sound system with 10 speakers
  • Additional standard features: remote start, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a moonroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Enclave Performance: Strong and Comfortable

Enclave Engine

Powering the Enclave is an energetic 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It easily brings this vehicle up to speed and provides bursts of power for merging on the highway and climbing uphill. The V6 is paired with a responsive and smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission.

Enclave Gas Mileage

With front-wheel drive, this Buick gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the class. Adding all-wheel drive lowers fuel economy to 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Enclave Ride and Handling

The Enclave has a refined, well-mannered ride, and its suspension helps the vehicle glide over blemishes in the road. It has composed handling, thanks in part to its sturdy brakes and good steering feedback, but this bulky, three-row SUV can be hard to maneuver in tight spaces.

Enclave Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this crossover SUV can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Enclave Reliability

Is the Buick Enclave Reliable?

The 2021 Buick Enclave has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Buick Enclave Warranty

Buick backs the Enclave with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Enclave Safety

Enclave Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Buick Enclave an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 Enclave as of this writing, but it gave the similar 2020 model the highest rating of Good in all five crash tests performed.

Enclave Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors

Available advanced safety features:

  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Front parking sensors
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Rear camera mirror
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Enhanced automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Following distance indicator

Read more about safety »

Enclave Dimensions and Weight

The Enclave is 17 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,359 to 4,685 pounds, and it has a gross vehicle weight rating of 6,160 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Buick Enclave Built?

Buick builds the 2021 Enclave in Michigan.

Which Buick Enclave Model Is Right for Me?

Buick makes the 2021 Enclave in four trim levels: Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Avenir. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available in all but the Preferred trim. The base model has plenty of technology, but it’s light on driver-assistance features. Getting comfort add-ons like leather seats requires you to move to the Essence, and getting more safety technology will require you to jump to the Premium or Avenir trims.

Buick Enclave Preferred

The base Preferred trim has an MSRP of around $40,000. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, six USB ports, Bluetooth, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free power liftgate, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and alloy wheels.

Buick Enclave Essence

Retailing for roughly $42,000, the Buick Enclave Essence gets leather-appointed seats for the first two rows, an in-vehicle air filter, satellite radio, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change alert. AWD costs $2,000.

For around $1,400, you can get the Sound and Sites package with a navigation system and a 10-speaker Bose stereo. A moonroof costs about $1,400, and a rear camera mirror and a surround-view parking camera system can be added for a bit more than $800.

Buick Enclave Premium

With an MSRP of around $48,400, the Premium comes with a 10-speaker Bose stereo, HD Radio, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, massaging and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a power-folding third row. The Premium also gains Buick’s Driver Confidence Plus package, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, automatic high-beam headlights, and a following distance indicator. AWD costs $2,300.

The Surround and Sites package costs around $2,500 and adds the Essence’s optional equipment, minus the moonroof. For about $3,100, you can get the Sun and Sites package, which has navigation, a moonroof, and larger alloy wheels.

Buick Enclave Avenir

The range-topping Avenir has a starting price of around $53,800. In addition to many of the options listed above, the Avenir adds wireless device charging, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, and an 8-inch digital driver display.

Exclusive to the Avenir is a roughly $2,100 package that adds enhanced automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and a retuned chassis and suspension. AWD costs $2,300.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

See 2021 Buick Enclave specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Buick Enclave is a well-rounded midsize SUV that impresses with its lively engine and refined ride. This crossover also has one of the roomiest interiors in the class, and it comes with a richly outfitted, easy-to-use infotainment system. However, it has cheaper cabin materials than you’d expect to find in a vehicle with this price tag.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Enclave’s cost reflects its straddling position, too. Starting at $40,000, the 2021 Enclave brings a hefty amount of metal and unexpected features like a hands-free power tailgate for the money. A standard V6, polished ride manners and a roomy interior are also appealing." -- Autotrader
  • "The Buick Enclave is a close cousin of the Chevrolet Traverse but slightly dressed up. It's a well-rounded three-row SUV with plenty of power and space, but it's also one of the priciest choices, even if it doesn't appear so from an interior-quality perspective. There are certainly more compelling SUVs in this segment, but the Enclave is worth a look if you fancy a quiet and comfortable ride that's easy to wheel around town." -- Edmunds
  • "The Buick Enclave is a premium, comfortable, and roomy SUV with a tempting starting price. It drives well and is practical, but unlike rivals, you must pay extra for active safety features like automatic emergency braking." -- Kelley Blue Book
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