|Standard Horsepower (hp)
|Cargo Space (cu.ft.)
Now that Americans tend to choose SUVs over minivans for family vehicles, it stands to reason three-row SUVs are becoming the trendsetting new choice for spacious travel. Much like the minivan, three-row SUVs can come loaded with features to make the interior feel luxurious with a bevy of conveniences, and two such contenders in the market do just that. A comparison of the 2022 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Dodge Durango will reveal how well the two SUVs stand up to each other in terms of features designed for families.
For 2022, the Enclave received a mid-cycle refresh, giving it a number of new styling details on the exterior, including updated headlights and taillights, new wheel designs, and sleeker front and rear bumpers. Interior updates in the Enclave show up in the new center console that boasts a new electronic shifter, a space-saving feature that is simple to use. The 2022 Enclave is available in the Essence, Premium, and Avenir trims, all of which have elevated the sense of luxury Buick is reputed for providing. Seating for up to seven passengers is available for the 2022 Enclave, and the option to upgrade to second-row captain’s chairs gives the interior an almost living room quality with the comfort of the seating combined with some of the entertainment options available.
On the other side of the coin, the 2022 Durango adds new features to its roster of available amenities, finally adding a pair of driver-assist features to its entry-level trim. Styling for 2022 models holds fast to the look of the previous model year, and the once-optional third-row bench seat is now standard for all trims. Upper trims see new features added as well, many of which range into luxury for the SUV that is truly geared for performance over comfort. Like the Enclave, the 2022 Durango supplies seating for up to seven, with the option for second-row captain’s chairs that reduce seating to six passengers. Where the Durango is known for its performance, features for the entry-level trim are not as luxurious or convenient as the more comfort-oriented Buick.
When it comes to family travel, whether near home or on the road for an adventure, it tends to be the little things that make the biggest difference. Small things like being able to approach your liftgate with an armload of luggage or groceries and open it with a gesture of your foot can make your travel much easier. On the road, you want a vehicle that’s dependable and provides a sense of secure performance to safely pull into traffic or pass a slow vehicle on the highway. With the entry-level 2022 Enclave, standard features are far and away part of the allure, and its powertrain is a well-sorted 3.6-liter V6 engine paired to a smooth nine-speed transmission.
Ride quality is where Buick always shines, and when driving the 2022 Enclave, you will not feel its three-row size. The powertrain readily accelerates from a stopped position, even with its automatic start/stop feature engaged for saving on fuel. Heading to the pump should be less painful than with large rivals, particularly in comparison to some of the 2022 Durango’s thirsty engine options, which can go as low as 13 MPG in the city and 19 MPG on the highway. Front-wheel drive is standard for the 2022 Enclave, but all-wheel drive is an option for all trims to improve traction in slippery conditions. Exterior features like the hands-free liftgate and proximity entry make parental duties easier, while the acoustic laminated windshield is part of making the interior a hushed quiet zone.
Where the 2022 Enclave delivers a silky, plush ride quality, the 2022 Durango focuses more on raw power. The entry-level 3.6-liter V6 engine is confident and capable, although it is actually slightly less powerful than the standard Buick V6, and the transmission only has eight gears. Unlike the Enclave, the Durango will feel every bit as large as it is. For performance reasons, the 2022 Durango comes standard as rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available for all trims. Pulling into traffic or passing on the highway are simple affairs for the powertrain in the entry-level trim, and this is the engine with the best fuel economy. Ranging into upper trims with their more powerful engines means a far more expensive fuel bill. In addition, the hands-free liftgate isn’t standard for the Durango like it is for the Enclave, though it does have standard keyless entry.
If you plan to ferry kids to school and activities during the week and then expect to travel with your family on vacations, having a vehicle with enough room for both people and cargo is key. Comparing two SUVs like the 2022 Enclave and 2022 Durango is a snapshot of the difference between refinement and ruggedness. When your preferences lean toward a quiet, comfortable interior with perforated leather seats that heat with the remote start feature, you want the Enclave. All these standard features are found in the entry-level Essence, including Buick’s incredible QuietTuning technology that is a trademarked active noise cancellation to keep highway noise out of the cabin.
In contrast, the 2022 Durango offers cloth seats without standard heat, and highway noise can be cumbersome in the cabin, especially with the larger engines. Though both SUVs offer tri-zone climate control and powered front seats with lumbar control, only the 2022 Enclave provides its buyers with a massage feature. Standard features for the Enclave include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless phone charging. Even GPS navigation can be found on the base trim of the 2022 Enclave, a feature not available in the 2022 Durango until the second trim level.
Even with audio systems, despite the Durango offering two options for upper trims, Buick makes a ten-speaker Bose system standard for the second trim, and it’s also available for the entry-level Essence. Dodge offers its nine-speaker Alpine system for the second trim level as an option in a package, but the more enticing Harmon Kardon system is only available on the uppermost trims. Finally, traveling with devices is part of modern life, and WiFi is becoming commonplace for most vehicles. Buick provides WiFi as standard for the 2022 Enclave, though the 2022 Durango once again only has this as an option. The theme here is that even if the Durango seems like a bargain for its entry-level price, the Enclave offers more standard equipment overall.
Driving with your family should mean you can trust the vehicle you’re driving to keep your family as safe as possible. Though Dodge markets the Durango as a family vehicle, standard safety features for 2022 models are minimal at best, especially for the entry-level trim. At the start, the 2022 Durango only comes with a Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and rear parking sensors. It’s almost unfair to compare these paltry offerings to what the 2022 Enclave has as standard for all trims. To start, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, and a Following Distance Indicator all help mitigate or prevent accidents ahead of the Enclave. Buick’s Intellibeam Auto High Beams automatically dim in oncoming traffic so the driver won’t have to worry about forgetting.
In addition, Buick provides standard Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning for safety in moving traffic. When reversing out of parking spaces or driveways, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist keep an eye on objects or moving vehicles behind the Enclave. Many of the driver-assist features link to the standard Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates when the driver needs to pay attention to potential danger. Even with this wide array of safety features as standard, Buick then adds parent-friendly features like a Rear Seat Reminder to alert the driver when a little one may still be in the back seat and Teen Driver, which allows parents to set limits for when they can’t be in the vehicle.
Dodge lists a hefty number of driver-assist features as options for the 2022 Durango. However, most of the features aren’t available until upper trim levels, even as optional equipment. Features like Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning are still not found until mid-level trims in a time when most manufacturers are making them standard. While Dodge does have a long list of available features, they are only effective if they are equipped. Buyers looking to save money are going to miss out on valuable safety features that families now expect to protect their loved ones.