2019 Buick Enclave vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Buick Enclave’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The BMW X5 doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

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 X5 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 X5 doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

To help make backing safer, the Enclave Essence/Premium/Avenir’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Enclave and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Enclave 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the X5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 6 times as many Buick dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Enclave’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 10 more horsepower (310 vs. 300) than the X5 s/xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Enclave FWD gets better highway fuel mileage than the X5 s/xDrive35i RWD (18 city/26 hwy vs. 18 city/25 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Enclave uses regular unleaded gasoline. The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Enclave has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The X5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Buick Enclave higher (6 out of 10) than the BMW X5 (3). This means the Enclave produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the X5 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Enclave, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X5.

Brakes and Stopping

The Enclave stops shorter than the X5:

 

Enclave

X5

 

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Buick Enclave’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The BMW X5 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

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 X5 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Enclave’s wheelbase is 5.4 inches longer than on the X5 (120.9 inches vs. 115.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Enclave is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the X5.

For better maneuverability, the Enclave’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the X5’s (39 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Chassis

The Buick Enclave may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 400 pounds less than the BMW X5.

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 X5 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 X5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Enclave has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

The Enclave’s cargo area provides more volume than the X5.

 

Enclave

X5

Behind Third Seat

23.6 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

58 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

35.8 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

97.6 cubic feet

76.7 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Enclave Premium/Avenir’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Enclave’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Enclave’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Enclave has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Consumer Reports rated the Enclave’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the X5’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Enclave (except Preferred) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Enclave is less expensive to operate than the X5 because typical repairs cost much less on the Enclave than the X5, including $72 less for a water pump, $1426 less for a muffler, $24 less for front brake pads, $280 less for a starter, $115 less for fuel injection, $41 less for a fuel pump, $412 less for front struts, $1025 less for a timing belt/chain and $868 less for a power steering pump.

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

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