North Georgia Ford Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 Buick Enclave Near Chatsworth, GA

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2017 Ford Explorer

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2017 Buick Enclave

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Enclave doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Enclave doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum has standard Reverse Sensing System to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The Enclave doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Explorer and the Enclave have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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 Ford Explorer is safer than the Buick Enclave:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

214 lbs.

318 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

There are over 40 percent more Ford dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 270) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 77 more horsepower (365 vs. 288) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 270) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Buick Enclave:




Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10 sec

14.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.8 sec

23.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

8.4 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

4.5 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

86 MPH

Top Speed

123 MPH

108 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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







2.3 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

19 city/27 hwy




3.5 V6/6-spd. Auto

17 city/24 hwy

15 city/22 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto


2.3 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

18 city/25 hwy




3.5 V6/6-spd. Auto

16 city/23 hwy

15 city/22 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto


3.5 turbo V6/6-spd. Auto

16 city/22 hwy



The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Enclave doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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




Front Rotors

13.85 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

13 inches

The Explorer stops much shorter than the Enclave:





70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Explorer’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Enclave’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Explorer has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Explorer flat and controlled during cornering. The Enclave’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Enclave AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Enclave AWD (27.7 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Enclave’s (38.9 feet vs. 40.4 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the Enclave’s (40 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (7.8 vs. 7.6 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Buick Enclave.

The Explorer is 3.6 inches shorter than the Enclave, making the Explorer easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Enclave doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Explorer Sport 4WD is quieter than the Enclave AWD (37 vs. 38 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 1 inch more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 2.7 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more third row legroom than the Enclave.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer 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.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Enclave doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Enclave doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

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.

On a hot day the Explorer’s driver can lower the front windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Enclave can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The Enclave doesn’t offer an exterior keypad 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.

Intelligent Access standard on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick Enclave doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

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’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Enclave only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Enclave doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the Explorer and the Enclave offer available heated front seats. The Explorer also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Enclave.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Enclave doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active 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 Comparison

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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the Enclave because it costs $297 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the Enclave, including $127 less for front brake pads, $15 less for fuel injection, $341 less for a timing belt/chain and $383 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Buick Enclave by over four to one during the 2016 model year.

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