2020 Buick Enclave Essence: A Versatile Ride Through Orange County and Beyond

Review of a Quiet, Refreshing Buick Unlike Any Other
The 2020 Buick Enclave Essence AWD 1SL provides a comfortable and spirited drive of a sedan with the tools and space of an SUV. Photo Credit: Arturo Hilario

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

On first approach, the 2020 Buick Enclave Essence has a stealth appearance. The curves of the SUV’s exterior would easily be considered a blend with a sports car of a much smaller stance. As you approach it, get inside of it, and learn all its feature-rich amenities – you realize a sports car wouldn’t have the room to hold such features and comfort.

I recently had the opportunity to look at, and drive Buick’s newest mid-size luxury SUV, which led me through an extremely comfortable experience through a weekend trip through sunny Southern California, while still thrilling and versatile when it needed to be.

The trim I tried out was the 7-passenger, 2020 Enclave Essence All Wheel Drive 1SL model in the Ebony Twilight Metallic color. I really enjoyed the look of this darker hue, and with its 20” aluminum sport wheels, it did not scream out “grocery store ride” at all. Although, it can most definitely be used as such.

With a 17 city, 25 highway and 20 combined MPG fuel economy, the Enclave is an efficient drive, even as a daily driver if the space is needed on the daily commute. It’s third row folds down flat to provide more than 97 cubic feet of space, perfectly versatile for whatever situation may arise (like that trip to the grocery store).

In my specific experience, four pieces of luggage, two carry ons and two larger check-ins, fit with room to spare even before folding down the third row.

It’s a comfortable, thrilling ride for being an SUV. Hopping into the driver’s seat is asking for the pursuit of adventure. In my trip, whether it was driving to and from Disneyland USA and its vast parking structures, or taking it on the occasional late-night, light traffic stroll through Southern California highways, the 2020 Enclave Essence is a comfortable, powerful tool and it beckons of road trips and cruising along to one’s favorite music or podcast.

Since we were headed to a strictly Disney trip, there wasn’t necessarily opportunity to ride out into the sunset in the Enclave, but the miles I put on it were some of the comfiest and relaxing in an SUV I’ve had the opportunity to ride in. Creature comforts like the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make connecting to your favorite streaming apps like Spotify and Audible simple, and should you choose to go with the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi service, you’ve got yourself a mobile hotspot and a smooth ride, all in one.

The first thing I noticed when driving the Enclave Essence was its smooth ride, clear view from the driver’s angle and the scent of the clean air in the vehicle’s cabin. This is the in-vehicle air ionizer at work, which keeps the circulating air within the car clean and fresh.

Although the outside air in Orange, CA wasn’t too smoggy nor odorous, the Buick’s indoor air was a welcome and very much noticeable difference. This should help anyone with allergies I presume. It helped me out for sure.

Another thing I kept an eye (or should I say ear) out for was Buick’s QuietTuning technology, which is essentially an active noise canceling feature, like those found in headsets for headphones. This feature comes together through extra seals around the doors, acoustic laminated glass and noise-reducing rear suspension. When coming back from Disneyland to go out to eat or rest up at the hotel throughout the long days there, it was nice getting into the Enclave and immediately cutting out the loudness from the outside.  

Both the air-ionizer and QuietTuning tech are features which, unlike myself who was seeking out these features from my studying of the feature list, aren’t things that may be noticed by those inside the Enclave, but will certainly be feeling the effects of a quiet ride (besides conversation or the occasional radio assisted singing) and fresh air.

So, in Southern California, I went from the Happiest Place on Earth to by far one of the comfiest cars. No pixie dust needed.

The 2020 Buick Enclave starts at $44,000 USD while the model I drove, the Enclave Essence All wheel drive 1SL, is priced at $49,055 with the Sport Touring Edition package added on.

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