2020 Chevrolet Tahoe vs. 2020 Buick Enclave

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the Chevrolet Tahoe 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 Tahoe and Enclave have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Tahoe 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.

The Tahoe 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 Tahoe 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, blind spot warning systems, front parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The Chevrolet Tahoe weighs 670 to 1243 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 Chevrolet Tahoe is safer than the Buick Enclave:

Tahoe

Enclave

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

285

333

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

35.2%

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 Chevrolet Tahoe is safer than the Buick Enclave:

Tahoe

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.

Warranty

There are over 47 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Tahoe’s warranty.

Reliability

The Tahoe 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 run on only half of its cylinders at a time, 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.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Tahoe’s reliability 46 points higher than the Enclave.

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.

Engine

The Tahoe’s standard 5.3 V8 produces 45 more horsepower (355 vs. 310) and 117 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The Tahoe’s optional 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 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3 V8 is faster than the Buick Enclave:

Tahoe

Enclave

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 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 Tahoe’s fuel efficiency. The Enclave doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Tahoe 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 Tahoe 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 Chevrolet Tahoe EcoTec3 6.2 V8, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the Enclave.

Brakes and Stopping

The Tahoe stops much shorter than the Enclave:

Tahoe

Enclave

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Tahoe has larger standard tires than the Enclave (265/65R18 vs. 255/65R18). The Tahoe’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Enclave (285/45R22 vs. 255/65R18).

The Tahoe’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tahoe offers optional 22-inch wheels. The Enclave’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

The Tahoe 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 Tahoe offers an optional automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Tahoe’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Enclave doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

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

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

The Tahoe LT executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Enclave Avenir (27.9 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Tahoe has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (7.9 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the Tahoe to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Tahoe offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the Enclave can only carry 7.

The Tahoe has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 4.1 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more rear hip room, 3.4 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 Tahoe’s optional second and third row seats (not available on LS), 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 Tahoe. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

The Tahoe’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 Tahoe’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (6400 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Buick Enclave is only 5000 pounds. The Tahoe offers up to a 8600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Tahoe 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.

Ergonomics

The Tahoe’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 Tahoe Premier offers an optional 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 Tahoe’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 Tahoe’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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Tahoe owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Tahoe will cost $300 less than the Enclave over a five-year period.

The Tahoe will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Tahoe will retain 50.08% to 50.55% of its original price after five years, while the Enclave only retains 34.43% to 39.22%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Tahoe is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because typical repairs cost much less on the Tahoe than the Enclave, including $172 less for a water pump, $84 less for front brake pads, $84 less for a starter, $49 less for fuel injection and $772 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Tahoe outsold the Buick Enclave by over two to one during 2018.

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

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