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Big Jim’s Garage

One of the interesting things about reviewing cars is the line from people “Hey, how ya like it?”. Some cars get that question more than others, but the Buick Enclave could be the leader in the clubhouse. Everywhere I went people who say “Buick huh? How ya like it?”. So after a trip across the Mackinac Bridge and travelling the twisty roads of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula I can honestly say…I like it. I like it a lot. 

First thing is the ST package – while some cars use this to denote a performance upgrade (horsepower, etc.) the Buick Enclave is more about the look…and it works. Upgrade to the front grille, better looking wheels, badging and all season floor mats. It’s a nice upgrade that I’d highly recommend. 

Under the hood you’ll find a 3.6 liter V6 that generates 310hp and plenty of torque – perfect for road trips and city driving. The nine speed transmission was smooth (although the auto stop/start is a little abrupt). 

Mileage: 22 combined (mostly freeway – where we average 26mpg). Great range for a 3 row SUV that comfortably seats six (even on long trips). 

But what makes the Buick Enclave stand out in the crowded SUV market? It’s what you don’t hear…it’s quiet. Really quiet. Relaxing quiet. Stream through the woods quiet. Okay…you get it. But even with the crappy roads in Michigan it proved itself time and time again. I would encourage Buick to revisit the manual clip on slider for the moon roofs…they rattle at freeway speeds. Not overwhelming but just enough to notice. 

Besides that I loved it – plenty of room for luggage with all three rows in use, good sightlines while driving (even across the Mackinac Bridge).

If you’re looking for a SUV I’d highly recommend putting the Buick Enclave Essense on your short list. 

2020 Buick Enclave Essence AWD as tested ($49,055). 


Review by Jim O’Brien @wcsxjim