MPG

Explorer

RWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Enclave

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/25 hwy

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

Transmission

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

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Enclave (275/45R21 vs. 255/65R18).

The Explorer ST/Platinum’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 Explorer ST/Platinum offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Enclave’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Enclave doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer’s 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.

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

Chassis

The Explorer is 5.5 inches shorter than the Enclave, making the Explorer easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has 1.8 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom, 1.4 inches more rear hip room, .2 inches more rear shoulder room and 1.3 inches more third row headroom than the Enclave.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer’s second and third row seats, 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 Explorer. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The Explorer’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (3000 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Buick Enclave is only 5000 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Explorer 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 Explorer’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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The Enclave doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar? can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Enclave’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Explorer Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Enclave doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

The Ford Explorer outsold the Buick Enclave by over five to one during 2018.

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

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