2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2020 Buick Enclave

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 2020/05/28

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Buick Enclave doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series 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 RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Enclave doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake 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 RX Series offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Enclave doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The RX Series’ 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 RX Series and the Enclave have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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

RX Series

Enclave

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

176

333

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.9 inches

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus RX Series is safer than the Buick Enclave:

RX Series

Enclave

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

53

69

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

110 G’s

161 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

594 lbs.

716 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

14 inches

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Enclave last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Reliability

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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 RX Series’ reliability 30 points higher than the Enclave.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium 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 Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Buick is ranked 18th.

Engine

© 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 2020/05/28

As tested in Motor Trend the RX 350 is faster than the Buick Enclave:

RX Series

Enclave

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.7 MPH

84.5 MPH

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 2020/05/28

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

MPG

RX Series

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

450h 3.5 DOHC V6

31 city/28 hwy

3.5 DOHC V8

19 city/26 hwy

Enclave

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/25 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Enclave doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

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The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Enclave doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Enclave:

RX Series

Enclave

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

12.4 inches

The RX Series stops much shorter than the Enclave:

RX Series

Enclave

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The RX 350 handles at .79 G’s, while the Enclave Avenir pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Enclave Avenir (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (8.2 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The RX Series is 11.8 inches shorter than the Enclave, making the RX Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RX Series. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 24% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series 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 RX Series’ 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.

The RX Series 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 RX Series’ 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.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The RX Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Enclave’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Enclave doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RX Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Economic Advantages

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

The RX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RX Series will retain 46.6% to 51.56% 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 RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because it costs $309 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the RX Series than the Enclave, including $62 less for front brake pads, $109 less for fuel injection, $124 less for a fuel pump and $23 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/05/28

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Lexus RX Series as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Buick Enclave by over two to one during 2019.

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