2019 Buick Enclave vs. 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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 2020/06/05

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 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Compared to metal, the Enclave’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a metal gas tank.

Both the Enclave and the Highlander Hybrid 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, around view monitors 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Toyota covers the Highlander Hybrid. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Highlander Hybrid ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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

There are over 65 percent more Buick dealers than there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Enclave’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 16th in initial quality. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th.

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The Enclave’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (310 vs. 306) than the Highlander Hybrid’s 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Enclave FWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (19.4 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Enclave AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (21.7 vs. 17.2 gallons).

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Enclave’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander Hybrid are solid, not vented.

The Enclave stops shorter than the Highlander Hybrid:

 

Enclave

Highlander Hybrid

 

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Enclave has larger tires than the Highlander Hybrid (255/65R18 vs. 245/55R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Enclave offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Highlander Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The Buick Enclave’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Enclave has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Enclave’s wheelbase is 11.1 inches longer than on the Highlander Hybrid (120.9 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Enclave is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander Hybrid.

Chassis

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The Buick Enclave may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 450 pounds less than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Enclave has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear legroom, .6 inches more rear hip room, 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.7 inches more third row headroom, 6.8 inches more third row legroom, 2.9 inches more third row hip room and 2.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Highlander Hybrid.

The front step up height for the Enclave is 1.3 inches lower than the Highlander Hybrid (18” vs. 19.3”). The Enclave’s rear step up height is .8 inches lower than the Highlander Hybrid’s (18.7” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Enclave

Highlander Hybrid

Behind Third Seat

23.6 cubic feet

13.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

58 cubic feet

42.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

97.6 cubic feet

83.7 cubic feet

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

 

Enclave

Highlander Hybrid

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

23.8”/54”/90”

17.5”/43”/80”

Min Width

48.6”

45.6”

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

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is limited to 3500 pounds. The Enclave offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The Enclave uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander Hybrid 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 Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 23% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

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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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Enclave Premium/Avenir’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Enclave and the Highlander Hybrid have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Enclave is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander Hybrid prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Highlander Hybrid’s power windows’ 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 Highlander Hybrid can only operate 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 Highlander Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Enclave has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Model Availability

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The Enclave is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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