When it comes to choosing the right mid-size, 3-row SUV for the family, there are plenty of options, including the 2021 Buick Enclave and the 2021 Hyundai Palisade. Which is better?
- The Buick Enclave is one of the largest models in the segment.
- The Hyundai Palisade is a midsize 3-row SUV that replaced the Santa Fe XL in 2020.
2021 Buick Enclave
Base Price: $41,195 / Read our 2021 Buick Enclave Review
What we like: Roomy third-row sea; expansive cargo hold; quiet ride; powerful standard 3.6-liter V6.
What we would change: Make more active safety features and driver assists standard on lower trims; offer a second-row bench seat to raise passenger capacity to eight.
Overview: The generously proportioned Buick Enclave aims to be a step up from mainstream-brand SUVs. It offers a roomy interior, a smooth and powerful V6, and a quiet ride. Atypically in this class, the Enclave’s standard third-row seat can be used by adults, and captain’s chairs are the exclusive offering in the second row. Cargo space is the best you’ll find in the segment, particularly behind the third seat, where many SUVs are surprisingly skimpy. A 3.6-liter V6 smoothly spins out 310 horsepower and is paired with a 9-speed automatic and FWD or AWD. Maximum towing is 5,000 pounds, and EPA combined estimates are 21 mpg (FWD) and 20 mpg (AWD). Despite the Enclave’s luxury aspirations, however, many now-common active safety features and driver assists are not available on lower trims.
What’s new for 2021: Forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist are now standard on the Premium and Avenir. The same two trims also get seats with power lumbar and message. AWD is now an option on the Essence. The active twin-clutch rear differential and the air ionizer have been dropped.
Features and technology: The Enclave is offered in Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Avenir trim levels. All models get an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a surround-view camera is standard on the Avenir and optional on the two middle grades. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on the Essence and higher. Forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist are included on the top two trims. Adaptive cruise control is exclusive to the Avenir, where it costs extra.
What does the future hold: The second-generation Enclave made its debut in 2018, and we don’t expect a redesign until 2024 at the earliest. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Buick move more of the Enclave’s active safety features to the standard equipment list before then, however. See 2021 Buick Enclave models for sale near you
2021 Hyundai Palisade
Base Price: $33,675/ Read our 2021 Hyundai Palisade Review
What we like: Tons of safety and technology features; adult-usable third-row seat; usable luggage area.
What we would change: Add engine options for more power.
Overview: The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a midsize 3-row SUV, and even at its least expensive, it comes packed with great content and plenty of space for people and their luggage. It’s very well thought-out and offers plenty of luxury-style amenities in a good-looking package.
What’s new for 2021: A new trim level comes in at the top of the 2021 Palisade range: Calligraphy. All versions gain LED headlights as standard, along with HD radio and wireless smartphone integration. SEL trim now comes with a sunroof and LED cabin lighting. The previously 4-pin pre-wiring setup for trailers is upgraded to a 7-pin arrangement.
Features and technology: The 2021 Hyundai Palisade comes in four versions. They include the standard SE, SEL, Limited and new for 2021, Calligraphy lines.
At the base, the SE comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, heated outside mirrors, 8-occupant seating, cloth upholstery, power-folding second-row seats, selectable driving modes (all-wheel drive also includes a Snow mode and hill descent control), adaptive cruise control with stop/go, rear occupant alert, rear parking sensors, 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth phone/audio streaming, HD radio, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, five USB ports, and an audio system with a quiet mode for the rear seats.
The SEL seats seven, swapping a pair of captain’s chairs into the second row, though you can opt for the bench seat in this trim to seat eight. It comes with remote engine start, keyless entry/ignition, roof rails, powered sunroof, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, safe exit assistance, LED cabin lighting, and a self-dimming rearview mirror with a remote garage door opener.
The Limited adds onto these features and includes rain-sensing wipers, a dual-pane sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated/ventilated second-row captain’s chairs (no bench option), Nappa leather seating surfaces, head-up display, 360-degree camera system, 12.3-inch digital driver information display, 64-color ambient cabin lighting, 630-watt/12-speaker Harmon Kardon surround-sound system.
The new Calligraphy line adds things like trim-specific 20-inch alloy wheels, dedicated front and rear-end treatments, standard all-wheel drive, puddle lamps, quilted leather door panels, and a perforated leather-covered steering wheel. It retails for $48,890.
What does the future hold: The Palisade will continue to get trim updates going forward. See 2021 Hyundai Palisade models for sale near you
Enclave vs. Palisade: Strengths comparison
Buick Enclave Benefits: Exceptional cargo space for its size; quiet.
Hyundai Palisade Benefits: Stellar warranty and luxury interior with lots of tech and safety.
2021 Hyundai Palisade vs. 2021 Buick Enclave: Which is better?
If you’re looking for a technology-packed, capable, and lux people hauler, look no further than the Hyundai Palisade. In this comparison, it beats out the Buick Enclave because it comes with more included tech than the Enclave, and it gets a stellar 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
|Popular Powertrains||2021 Buick Enclave||2021 Hyundai Palisade|
|Engine||3.6-liter V6||3.8-liter V6|
|Horsepower||310 hp @ 6,800 rpm||291 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque||266 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm||262 lb-ft. @ 2,500 rpm|
|Transmission||9-spd automatic||8-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||21 mpg (18 city/26 hwy)||22 mpg(19 city/26 hwy)|
|Warranty||3 years/36,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||10 years/ 100,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety||5 stars||5 stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||7||8|
|Wheelbase||120.9 inches||114.2 inches|
|Overall Length||204.3 inches||196.1 inches|
|Width||78.8 inches||77.8 inches|
|Height||69.9 inches||68.9 inches|
|Turning Diameter||39.0 feet||38.7 feet|
|Headroom, Front||42.6 inches||40.7 inches|
|Headroom, 2nd row||39.9 inches||40.1 inches|
|Headroom, 3rd row||37.6 inches||37.8 inches|
|Legroom, Front||41.2 inches||44.1 inches|
|Legroom, 2nd row||38.9 inches||42.4 inches|
|Legroom, 3rd row||33.5 inches||31.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||62.4 inches||61.2 inches|
|Shoulder Room, 2nd row||61.7 inches||60.8 inches|
|Shoulder Room, 3rd Row||57.3 inches||55.2 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||157.3 cubic feet||155.3 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||97.6 cubic feet||86.4 cubic feet|