2019 Buick Enclave vs. 2018 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/26

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 Ford Explorer doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle 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 Explorer 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 Explorer 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 Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Enclave (except Preferred) offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer 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.

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

Warranty

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The Enclave comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Enclave 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Explorer. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Explorer ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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

Buick pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Enclave. Buick will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Explorer.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/26

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 36 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 7 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

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The Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 30 more horsepower (310 vs. 280) than the Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. The Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (310 vs. 290) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 255) than the Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Buick Enclave is faster than the Ford Explorer turbo 4 cyl.:

 

Enclave

Explorer

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/26

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

 

 

Enclave

Explorer

 

2WD

3.6 V6/9-spd. Auto

18 city/26 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

3.6 V6/9-spd. Auto

17 city/25 hwy

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 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 Explorer 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 Explorer Sport/Platinum requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Enclave AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Explorer (21.7 vs. 18.6 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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

Transmission

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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 Explorer.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Enclave has larger tires than the Explorer (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18).

The Buick Enclave’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Explorer 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 Explorer doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The Enclave offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Explorer’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Enclave’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the Explorer (120.9 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

Chassis

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

Passenger Space

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The Enclave has 1.8 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear hip room, .7 inches more rear shoulder room, .2 inches more third row legroom, 7.8 inches more third row hip room and 6.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Explorer.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Enclave

Explorer

Behind Third Seat

23.6 cubic feet

21 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

58 cubic feet

43.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

97.6 cubic feet

81.7 cubic feet

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

 

Enclave

Explorer

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

23.8”/54”/90”

19.7”/49”/79.8”

Max Width

52.7”

48”

Min Width

48.6”

40”

Servicing Ease

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/26

The Enclave uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 39% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

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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 Explorer’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Enclave the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Explorer can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

When the Enclave Premium/Avenir is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Enclave has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.

The Enclave’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/26

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Enclave is less expensive to operate than the Explorer because typical repairs cost less on the Enclave than the Explorer, including $191 less for a muffler and $60 less for a timing belt/chain.

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