2021 Volvo XC90 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 2020/10/30

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 middle seat belts.

The XC90’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 and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 XC90 and Enclave have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 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 Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Buick doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Enclave. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Enclave’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Enclave doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply 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.

The XC90 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Enclave doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The XC90’s 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 XC90 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 and available 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 Volvo XC90 is safer than the Buick Enclave:

XC90

Enclave

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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 Volvo XC90 is safer than the Buick Enclave:

XC90

Enclave

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

51

69

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

153 G’s

161 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

94

134

Hip Force

608 lbs.

716 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

HIC

209

251

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

34 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

554 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Enclave was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Enclave’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Enclave.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Enclave’s 170-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the XC90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Enclave’s 730-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Enclave’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 6 more horsepower (316 vs. 310) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The XC90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 90 more horsepower (400 vs. 310) and 206 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Buick Enclave:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

Enclave

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

n/a

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

17.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

131 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 2020/10/30

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Enclave:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

Enclave

MPG

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/25 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Enclave:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

Enclave

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/25 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Enclave must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Enclave doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Enclave:

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

Enclave

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12.4 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Enclave:

XC90

Enclave

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

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 2020/10/30

For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Enclave (275/45R20 vs. 255/65R18).

The XC90’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 XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Enclave. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Enclave.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 R-Design/Inscription has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’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.

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the Enclave’s (57% to 43%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

The XC90 T6 AWD 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 XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Enclave Avenir (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (8.3 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.2 inches higher than on the Enclave (9.9 vs. 7.7 inches).

Chassis

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The XC90 is 9.3 inches shorter than the Enclave, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the Enclave Essence (71 vs. 78 dB).

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the XC90 is 2.2 inches lower than the Enclave (15.8” vs. 18”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 2.7 inches lower than the Enclave’s (16” vs. 18.7”).

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90 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.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC90. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (4000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The XC90 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 XC90’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 XC90’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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 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.

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 XC90’s 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 XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Enclave doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC90 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Enclave doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’s optional Park Assist Pilot 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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The XC90 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the XC90 will retain 45.56% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the Enclave only retains 33.96% to 37.87%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because it costs $164 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Enclave, including $62 less for a muffler, $48 less for front brake pads, $253 less for a timing belt/chain and $128 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/10/30

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Buick Enclave isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Enclave has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Enclave has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 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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