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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Navigator are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Buick Enclave doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.
The Navigator offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Enclave doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Navigator (except Base)’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Enclave doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Navigator and the Enclave 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 and around view monitors.
The Lincoln Navigator weighs 1000 to 1496 pounds more than the Buick Enclave. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Navigator has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Enclave doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 16th, below the industry average.
The Navigator’s 3.5 turbo V6 produces 140 more horsepower (450 vs. 310) and 244 lbs.-ft. more torque (510 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6.
The Navigator has 3.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Enclave FWD’s standard fuel tank (23.2 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Navigator has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Enclave AWD’s standard fuel tank (23.2 vs. 21.7 gallons).
A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Navigator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the Enclave.
For better traction, the Navigator has larger standard tires than the Enclave (275/55R20 vs. 255/65R18). The Navigator Select/Reserve/Black Label’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Enclave (285/45R22 vs. 255/65R18).
The Navigator Base’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Enclave’s standard 65 series tires. The Navigator Select/Reserve/Black Label’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Navigator Base has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Enclave. The Navigator Select/Reserve/Black Label’s 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Enclave.
The Navigator’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Enclave doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Navigator’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Enclave (122.5 inches vs. 120.9 inches).
For greater off-road capability the Navigator has a 1.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (9.6 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the Navigator to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Navigator offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Enclave can only carry 7.
The Navigator has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front legroom, 2.8 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, 3.9 inches more rear hip room, 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.6 inches more third row legroom, 2.9 inches more third row hip room and 6.9 inches more third row shoulder room than the Enclave.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Navigator’s middle and third row seats recline. The Enclave’s third row seats don’t recline.
The Navigator’s cargo area provides more volume than the Enclave.
Second Seat Folded
103.3 cubic feet
97.6 cubic feet
The Navigator has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Enclave doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Navigator’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Enclave doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Navigator. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Navigator’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Enclave’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.
The Navigator’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (6200 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Buick Enclave is only 5000 pounds. The Navigator offers up to a 8300 lbs. towing capacity.
The engine in the Navigator is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Enclave. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 10% lower rating, Buick is ranked 9th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Enclave Premium/Avenir, the Navigator offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, foot pedal distance, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The Navigator (except Base) offers an available heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Enclave doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Navigator’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Enclave’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.
In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Navigator’s exterior PIN entry system. The Enclave doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.
The Navigator’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Enclave’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Navigator has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Navigator (except Base)’s optional Enhanced Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Enclave doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Navigator is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because it costs $81 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Navigator than the Enclave, including $395 less for a water pump, $137 less for a muffler, $118 less for front brake pads, $204 less for a starter, $182 less for fuel injection, $194 less for a fuel pump and $22 less for a power steering pump.
A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Navigator as the 2018 North American Truck of the Year. The Enclave has never been chosen.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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