2021 Volkswagen Atlas 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 2020/08/05

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Atlas 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 Atlas has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Enclave doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver 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 Atlas 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 Atlas and the Enclave have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

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

Atlas

Enclave

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

333

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

35.2%

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

51 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

156/231 lbs.

258/133 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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the Buick Enclave:

Atlas

Enclave

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

57

69

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

48 G’s

161 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

527 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.

Warranty

© 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 2020/08/05

The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Enclave’s (7 vs. 6 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Enclave.

Reliability

© 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 2020/08/05

The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Enclave’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Brakes and Stopping

© 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 2020/08/05

For better stopping power the Atlas’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Enclave:

Atlas

Enclave

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

The Atlas stops shorter than the Enclave:

Atlas

Enclave

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/08/05

For better traction, the Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Enclave (265/45R21 vs. 255/65R18).

The Atlas’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Enclave’s standard 65 series tires. The Atlas SEL Premium’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 Atlas SEL Premium offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Enclave’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/08/05

The Atlas’ 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.

The Atlas’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (55.1% to 44.9%) than the Enclave’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Atlas more stable handling and braking.

The Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the Enclave Essence pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Atlas SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Enclave Avenir (27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the Enclave’s (38.1 feet vs. 39 feet).

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

Chassis

© 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 2020/08/05

The Atlas is 3.3 inches shorter than the Enclave, making the Atlas easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion is quieter than the Enclave Essence (76 vs. 78 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Atlas has .3 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear hip room, .7 inches more third row headroom and .2 inches more third row legroom than the Enclave.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Atlas easier. The Atlas’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Enclave’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Atlas. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

© 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 2020/08/05

The Atlas’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

© 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 2020/08/05

The Atlas’ 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 Atlas 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 Atlas’ 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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Enclave doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Atlas SEL Premium’s 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

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

The Atlas will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Atlas will retain 39.77% to 41.75% 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 Atlas is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because it costs $127 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Atlas than the Enclave, including $55 less for front brake pads, $127 less for a fuel pump and $66 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Atlas will be $3537 to $8295 less than for the Buick Enclave.

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 2020/08/05

The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the Buick Enclave by 59% during 2019.

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

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