2020 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Buick Enclave

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Enclave doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the Cadillac Escalade 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.

Both the Escalade and Enclave have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Escalade 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 Enclave’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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard Reverse Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Enclave doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Escalade offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Enclave doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Escalade and the Enclave have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seat center airbag, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, 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 blind spot warning systems.

The Cadillac Escalade weighs 893 to 1497 pounds more than the Buick Enclave. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Cadillac Escalade is safer than the Buick Enclave:

Escalade

Enclave

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

186

333

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

35.2%

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

51 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Cadillac Escalade is safer than the Buick Enclave:

Escalade

Enclave

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

23

69

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

107 G’s

161 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

107

134

Spine Acceleration

26 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

208 lbs.

716 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade first among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Enclave isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 110 more horsepower (420 vs. 310) and 194 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Cadillac Escalade is faster than the Buick Enclave:

Escalade

Enclave

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96.8 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade’s fuel efficiency. The Enclave doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Escalade has 6.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Enclave FWD’s standard fuel tank (26 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Escalade has 4.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Enclave AWD’s standard fuel tank (26 vs. 21.7 gallons).

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac Escalade, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the Enclave.

Brakes and Stopping

The Escalade stops shorter than the Enclave:

Escalade

Enclave

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Escalade has larger standard tires than the Enclave (275/55R20 vs. 255/65R18). The Escalade’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Enclave (285/45R22 vs. 255/65R18).

The Escalade’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 Escalade’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Enclave. The Escalade’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Enclave.

The Escalade has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Enclave, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

The Escalade has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Enclave doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Enclave.

The Escalade 4WD handles at .77 G’s, while the Enclave Avenir pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Escalade 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Enclave Avenir (27.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Escalade has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (8 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the Escalade to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Escalade offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Enclave can only carry 7.

The Escalade has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 4.1 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom, 2.5 inches more rear hip room, 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room, .5 inches more third row headroom, .8 inches more third row hip room and 5.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Enclave.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Escalade’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Enclave doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

The Escalade’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.

Towing

The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (8100 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Escalade 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 Cadillac service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

The Escalade’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Enclave does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Escalade Luxury/Premium Luxury/Platinum has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 Escalade’s front power windows 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 front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Escalade has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Enclave doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Escalade’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 avoid possible obstacles, the Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Escalade has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel is only available on the Enclave Premium/Avenir.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac Escalade has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Enclave Avenir offers wireless charging.

The Escalade’s Automatic 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Escalade owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Escalade with a number “5” insurance rate while the Enclave is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Escalade is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because typical repairs cost much less on the Escalade than the Enclave, including $284 less for a water pump, $69 less for front brake pads, $93 less for a starter and $55 less for fuel injection.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade third among large premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Enclave isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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