2018 Buick Enclave vs. 2017 Lincoln Navigator

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Enclave and Navigator have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Enclave has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Navigator’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Enclave are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Navigator doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Enclave has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Navigator doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Enclave Premium/Avenir has standard Forward Automatic Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Navigator doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Enclave Premium/Avenir’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Navigator doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Enclave offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Navigator only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Enclave uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Navigator uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Enclave and the Navigator have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.


The Enclave’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Navigator’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Buick pays for scheduled maintenance on the Enclave for 2 years and 24,000 miles. Buick will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Lincoln only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Navigator.

There are over twice as many Buick dealers as there are Lincoln dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Enclave’s warranty.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick third in reliability. Lincoln is ranked 20th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Enclave gets better fuel mileage than the Navigator:







3.6 V6/9-spd. Auto

18 city/26 hwy

15 city/21 hwy

3.5 turbo V6/Auto


3.6 V6/9-spd. Auto

17 city/25 hwy

15 city/20 hwy

3.5 turbo V6/Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Enclave’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Navigator doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Enclave uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Navigator requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.


A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Enclave, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Navigator.

Tires and Wheels

The Enclave has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Navigator doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Enclave’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the Navigator (120.9 inches vs. 119 inches).


The Buick Enclave may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1450 pounds less than the Lincoln Navigator.

The Enclave is 3.1 inches shorter than the Navigator, making the Enclave easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Enclave is 8.2 inches shorter in height than the Navigator, making the Enclave much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Unibody construction makes the Enclave’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The Navigator doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

The front grille of the Enclave uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Navigator doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Enclave uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Navigator doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Enclave has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and 5.4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Navigator.

Cargo Capacity

The Enclave’s cargo area provides more volume than the Navigator.




Behind Third Seat

23.6 cubic feet

18.1 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

58 cubic feet

54.4 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Enclave easier. The Enclave’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.2 inches, while the Navigator’s liftover is 34.8 inches.

The Enclave’s cargo area is larger than the Navigator’s in almost every dimension:




Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Enclave’s cargo door can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Navigator doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


The Enclave’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Navigator’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Enclave Premium/Avenir detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Navigator doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

On extremely cold winter days, the Enclave Premium/Avenir’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Navigator doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Enclave Avenir offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Navigator doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.


The Buick Enclave outsold the Lincoln Navigator/Navigator L by almost five to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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