2020 Buick Enclave Avenir. Photo: GM

Last week I drove the 2020 Buick Enclave Avenir, a family-sized crossover that proved an important point: it pays to do your homework.

Quick take: The Enclave is an attractive alternative to a minivan, with plenty of space for people and stuff. It's handsome, quiet and comfortable, and it drives well, too.

  • But when you compare its value to other models in its class, the Enclave doesn't stack up well.
  • Starting at $40,000, it seems pricey compared to other seven-passenger SUVs.
  • Yet, at $56,100, the top-tier Avenir I drove can't really compete with traditional luxury SUVs.

That's been the problem with Buick all along — it's a 'tweener that tries to carve out a premium space between mass market brands like Toyota or Honda and luxury marques like Mercedes or Lexus.

My biggest problem with the Enclave — which I really do like — is that active safety technology like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic forward-collision-mitigation braking are only available on the most expensive version.

  • And you still have to pay $2,095 extra for the Avenir tech package.
  • If Toyota can offer all that as standard equipment even on its $36,000 base Highlander, why can't Buick?

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