The Ford Explorer and Buick Enclave are both well-known for being comfortable, stylish SUVs. The Explorer has a variety of good drivetrains and trim options, and the Enclave has plenty of luxury features for those who want to be pampered on the road.
See a side-by-side comparison of the Explorer & Enclave »
But which one makes toting around a bunch of passengers more enjoyable?
What the Ford Explorer Gets Right
The newly restyled Explorer has a lot to offer today's choosy SUV buyer. A strong 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission makes driving a pleasure, especially when the option for four-wheel drive is factored in. An EcoBoost V6 -- available exclusively on the Sport model -- improves fuel economy and puts out 365 horsepower. The Explorer also has an engine for those concerned with fuel economy, and that is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that produces 280 horsepower and delivers up to 28 mpg highway.
With the maneuverability of a smaller vehicle and the durability of a larger one, the Explorer can handle a bit of mild off-roading. One of the Explorer's biggest selling points is its excellent selection of technology features, which includes a six-speaker sound system and -- at higher trim levels -- the MyFord Touch touchscreen navigation system. High safety ratings make the Explorer particularly appealing to families.
What the Buick Enclave Gets Right
Nothing says classy-but-affordable quite like the Enclave. After recent revisions, the Enclave now has better cabin materials and the Buick IntelliLink system with touchscreen navigation and smartphone connectivity. It houses a sturdy 3.6-liter V6 coupled to a six-speed automatic with optional all-wheel drive, and delivers good handling and stability.
Its three rows of seating are pleasantly spacious, and can hold up to eight passengers, plus up to 115 cubic feet of cargo. Although the Enclave only comes in one trim level, it has three groups -- Convenience, Leather and Premium -- that offer plenty of extra luxuries. Standard are the OnStar emergency system, auxiliary jacks, and 8-way adjustable seats. Upgrading means niceties like blind-spot warning, leather upholstery, and a 10-speaker Bose sound system. All in all, the Enclave offers a dependable and cushy ride.
Our Verdict: Buick Enclave
Although the Explorer has plenty of good features, a strong V6, and a thrifty four-cylinder, the Enclave manages to provide similar power and amenities with an added measure of class.