We get it; shopping for a new vehicle can be a stressful time, and you want to make sure that you do your research. Chances are you’ve heard about some of the most recent comparisons that have been tossed around, as they naturally do every year. What makes the comparison between the 2021 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Nissan Pathfinder different, you may ask? For starters, both the Enclave and Pathfinder are produced by two manufacturers that are no stranger to competition. In many ways, the Enclave and Pathfinder are both trying to appeal to the same driver. Of course, chances are you’re planning on only purchasing one of the two vehicles, so you’re likely seeking out the info that will help you make a better decision when the time comes. We’ve got all the answers, so read on to learn about which of these two vehicles deserves your hard-earned money and a spot in your garage.
SUVs have become increasingly capable over the years, and both the Enclave and Pathfinder rely on V6 engines. Both engines are closer in specifications than you may think, with the Enclave hosting a 3.6L V6 as opposed to the Pathfinder’s 3.5L V6. With a larger engine, the Enclave manages to produce better performance than the Pathfinder, with its engine creating 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the Pathfinder’s V6 produces 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, and the latest models of both vehicles pair their V6 engines to a 9-speed automatic transmission. While the performance gains on the Enclave are 9% for horsepower and a nearly negligible 2.7% increase to torque output, this does ultimately make the Enclave the stronger ride on paper.
Inside the Cabin
Both the Enclave and Pathfinder are SUVs that support a maximum capacity of seven passengers. The Enclave, however, will come standard with captain’s chairs occupying the middle-row, whereas this is an optional upgrade for the Pathfinder; otherwise, you’re stuck with a bench seat. While the exact dimensions for the 2022 Pathfinder have yet to be confirmed, we speculate it won’t stray too far from preceding models. With this philosophy, we pitted the 2021 Enclave against the 2020 Pathfinder to get a better understanding of how the new model may stack up against the competition in terms of size.
For the most part, the Enclave offers a better experience for longer car rides, especially for second and third-row passengers. Admittedly, the head and legroom dimensions for the 2021 Enclave’s front row are smaller than the 2020 Pathfinder’s but not too dissimilar either. Sitting in the front row of the 2021 Enclave, you’ll find 41-inches of headroom, compared to the 2020 Pathfinder’s 41.1-inches. As one would expect, this difference is too small to notice, nor is the 1-inch difference between the 2021 Enclave’s 41.2-inches of legroom instead of the 2020 Pathfinder’s 42.2-inches.
As mentioned, the second and third-rows fare much better for the most part. The 2021 Enclave’s second-row offers passengers 39.9-inches of headroom instead of the 38.5-inches of headroom for the 2020 Pathfinder. Legroom in the second row is where the 2021 Enclave falters with 38.9-inches as opposed to the 2020 Pathfinder’s 41.7-inches. The third row, however, more than makes up for this, with 33.5-inches of legroom going against the 2020 Pathfinder’s 30.7-inches. Headroom in the third row is also greater on the 2021 Enclave with 37.6-inches instead of 36.5-inches.
While these interior measurements may change slightly with the release of the 2022 Pathfinder, we don’t think the changes will be significantly different. The 2021 Enclave still takes the lead in terms of cargo capacity, though, with up to 97.6 cubic feet of space available. The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder will only have up to 80.5 cubic feet of available cargo volume. There’s still a lot of space in the 2022 Pathfinder, but if you want the most space you’ll want to go with the 2021 Enclave.
Of course, each vehicle comes equipped with an infotainment center, as one would expect with modern-day SUVs. With the upcoming 2022 Pathfinder, Nissan is marketing seamless smartphone integration, but this simply means the same Android Auto and wireless smartphone charging that’s already found in the Enclave, with the latter on higher-tier trims such as Avenir. The new Pathfinder does offer drivers Wireless Apple CarPlay. However, it’s worth noting that Apple CarPlay is still present on the Enclave, and as long as you don’t mind utilizing a USB cable, then you’ll have no trouble whatsoever.
Safety features are abundant between the Enclave and Pathfinder, many of which are seen on both vehicles. The Enclave will come with Automatic Emergency Braking for both vehicles and pedestrians, and so will the 2022 Pathfinder. This feature is utilized when the driver can’t react fast enough to an oncoming collision. Fortunately, both vehicles also offer a form of a Forward Collision Alert to give you a heads-up before Automatic Emergency Braking is initiated.
Both vehicles also offer Lane Departure Warning that will omit warnings to you if your vehicle is not staying in your intended lane and is a highly useful feature for anybody who relies on highway travel daily. However, the 2021 Buick Enclave features Lane Keep Assist while the 2020 Pathfinder did not, and it doesn’t appear that the 2022 Pathfinder will either. Nissan has an answer to this in the form of Intelligent Lane Intervention, but that utilizes your vehicle’s brakes instead of adjusting the steering wheel, which may prove to be less effective in practice. Each vehicle offers a blind spot monitoring system to protect you from vehicles out of your viewpoint, and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert is seen on both vehicles, offering a visual guide to help you reverse your vehicle out of a parking space safely and efficiently.
The Enclave offers a High Definition Surround Vision camera that will display multiple different viewing angles of your vehicle and display them onto your infotainment center. Also, with the benefit of OnStar security, you’ll always have a helping hand in the times where you need it the most, such as Roadside Assistance and Automatic Crash Response. It’s easy to see that both Buick and Nissan are offering some pretty excellent safety features. When it comes to a comparison like this, we don’t like to see any brand skimping out on safety, and it’s clear that both of these brands are committed to making a safer driving experience for all.
And the Results
With all that said and done, which of these vehicles deserve your time and money? We believe that the 2021 Enclave is overall the better vehicle, but there’s a catch. Surely, you’ll likely be spending more in the 2021 Enclave than the 2022 Pathfinder. Truth be told, the 2022 Pathfinder is a fierce contender, but it is hard to compete with the unique brand of luxury that you can get with a Buick. In this head-to-head showdown, the 2021 Enclave is well worth your attention. If you want an SUV with a lot of cargo space, plenty of passenger room, a stylish design, advanced tech features, and that extra touch of luxury, the best choice is the 2021 Buick Enclave.