|97.4||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||85.1|
|310||Standard Horsepower (hp)||295|
|Std.||Automatic Emergency Braking||Avl.|
When it comes to brand recognition among domestic automobile manufacturers, Buick and Dodge are instantly recognizable. Both have legacies and lineages that can be traced back several decades. Here in the modern era of transportation, both intend on furthering their respective legacies by continuing to offer consumers the very best. One of the areas in which competition is strong among manufacturers is the world of the family SUV. For Buick, the 2022 Enclave is a luxury-based offering set to go against European rivals such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Dodge, on the other hand, has placed its emphasis on performance and versatility in the form of the 2022 Durango, a vehicle going against other consumer-friendly SUV heavyweights such as Kia, Hyundai, and Ford. While both companies are competing against different markets, today they’ll go head-to-head in a competition to see who the best in show is. It’s the 2022 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Dodge Durango. Only one can triumph as the SUV we pick for the people.
Comparing the performance attributes of the Buick Enclave and the Dodge Durango proves to be somewhat of a challenge. Both have very similar drivetrains and engine offerings, and their fuel economy is practically identical. Like so many other comparisons that have been made over time, it’s the small differences that make the largest and most sustainable impact. Both the Enclave and Durango offer a V6 as the standard engine. However, the Buick offering is more powerful, generating 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. The engine in question is attached to a nine-speed automatic transmission for smooth shifting and a refined ride.
While Buick has placed emphasis on providing a smooth ride, Dodge has gone in the completely opposite direction and focused its attention on what has attracted so many to the brand—raw, unshakable power. The introductory and smallest engine that finds its way onto the Durango is the Pentastar 3.6L V6. While it’s still an effective engine, it underperforms Buick. Capable of 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, Dodge attaches their V6 to an older eight-speed automatic transmission. When it comes to the other available engines, Dodge’s outlook appears to be that of “the only way to go is up.” To this end, the other two engines available for the Durango are a 5.7L and 6.4L V8. Both these engines are built for the raw power that one needs for towing and not much else. Case in point, the 5.7L Hemi boasts 360 horsepower and can tow a maximum capacity of 8,700 lbs. Likewise, the larger 6.4L Hemi can tow the same amount, but its 475 horsepower exceeds expectations.
As impressive as these specs appear, they do lead to a disadvantage the Durango possesses. Many manufacturers have taken the initiative with their SUV fleets, offering more economically viable options such as turbocharged 4-cylinders to alleviate the high fuel costs that SUVs have been known for in the past. The Durango’s engine options are great for those who need to tow and trailer but not for the everyday driver. While Buick limits its choices to one, it’s still economically viable and finds a way to still provide its drivers with an adequate amount of performance.
Another disadvantage that the Durango has can be found in its drivetrain. While the Buick Enclave offers its customers the option of AWD and FWD, Durango goes in the opposite direction in favor of offering AWD and RWD. Rear-wheel drive is effective in some scenarios, but anyone who’s driven in the snow will tell you that it’s very counterproductive. For all of this, the Durango appears to be marketed towards a niche audience and not a wide demographic.
One might assume that the Enclave’s emphasis on luxury and the Durango’s prioritization of power equates to a world of difference in the interior design of both vehicles. Like so much else of the features that are found on both vehicles, there’s quite a bit of similarity in the interior design. Despite its penchant for raw power and towing capabilities, the Durango’s interior is an exercise in promoting style and flair. From the black and red instrument gauge to the two-toned upholstery that seamlessly blends black and burgundy together, Dodge has taken the path of posh to contrast with the Durango’s powerful motors.
As for the Buick Enclave, it’s just what you might expect from an SUV that’s competing with high-end luxury manufacturers. Spacious, roomy, convenient, and comfortable are all words that can easily describe the interior of the vehicle when one sits behind the wheel for the first time. The luxurious upholstery has the same aesthetic that several luxury sedans carry, and its wood trim carries over that same feeling that many GM sedans did from decades past.
Speaking of space, this is another area where Durango falls short of what Buick accomplishes. Many have noted that the passenger room in the Durango is cramped and uncomfortable, and while its available storage space is reasonable at 85 cubic feet, it falls well short of the 97 cubic feet that the Buick Enclave has to offer. It’s a good thing that the Durango boasts its towing capabilities because the 17 cubic feet of storage space that it has when all three rows of seats are full is only slightly larger than the average of a mid-sized sedan. Compared to the Enclave’s tally of over 23 cubic feet, it’s more than apparent that the Durango comes up short where it needs to shine at its brightest.
Many sources will agree that SUVs are among the safest vehicles on the road today. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one that isn’t loaded with the latest technology in safety and driving assistance to give consumers peace of mind and provide them with a safe ride for them, their passengers, and their cargo. Both the Durango and Enclave have a variety of features that will be sure to make anyone feel safe climbing in and getting behind the wheel. In crash testing conducted by the NHTSA, the Dodge Durango only scored a 4-star safety rating, while the 2021 Enclave received a perfect 5-star rating. Upon closer examination of the test results, the Durango fared well in side collisions but wasn’t as effective when faced with frontal damage.
Another clear-cut indication of the Durango not being up to par with the Enclave is the minimal safety features that come standard in the Dodge. Just so we can provide a complete and objective analysis, we’ll take a brief look at what both companies offer as standard on their introductory trim lines for each vehicle.
The introductory trim of the Durango offers rear parking sensors, traction control, blind-spot warning, and braking assistance. However, there’s no forward-collision warning, security system, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Some of these systems are available but are reserved for the higher (and more expensive) trim levels. At the other end of the spectrum, the Buick Enclave equips its introductory trim with several standard features that put Dodge’s safety offerings to shame.
Automatic emergency braking, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, rear and front parking assist, lane change alert, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and OnStar safety services are all standard. The Enclave even comes standard with a theft-deterrent system. It appears that Buick’s ambition to compete with the higher-end SUVs has led to them making more available with the Enclave than most other companies with their offerings. In short, when it comes to comparing these two vehicles and the safety offerings they have readily available, Buick understands the needs of the many while Dodge is far too focused on the needs of the few.