A silver 2022 Buick Enclave is shown from the front parked in front of a house during a 2022 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Dodge Durango comparison.

Look Beyond What You See Even When Looking for an SUV

We have all heard the phrase “beauty is only skin deep,” and you have probably also been told to “look beyond what you can see.” These expressions remain important even when you find yourself scrolling the web in search of your next SUV because no matter how attractive and appealing a vehicle looks, what matters most is how it will perform and how capable it is for your needs. Of course, you want the exterior of your vehicle to reflect who you are and the lifestyle you live, and who doesn’t want the interior of their vehicle to provide them with the level of comfort and convenience they want and deserve. To let you in on a secret, you don’t need to compromise what you desire in a vehicle to get one that is suitable for your needs. Just look at the 2022 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Dodge Durango to demonstrate how you can find the right style and design you are looking for while still getting a model fully capable of everything you need it to do for you.

Find an SUV Suitable and Capable for Your Driving Needs

The automobile industry has been taken over by the SUV segment, and there is no need to question why. They are universal passenger vehicles, they are capable of being work vehicles with their flexible cargo solutions and their ability to tow, and most importantly, they can be your daily commuter with acceptable, if not excellent, fuel economy. Due to their increasing popularity, SUVs now come in many different sizes, shapes, and styles. With so many models to choose from, if you are not familiar with automobile lingo and statistics, you will likely focus on finding an SUV that fits your budget, catches your eye with its appearance, and makes you feel pampered in the driver’s seat during the test drive. We don’t blame you, but there is more you need to consider before you sign the paperwork.

You can absolutely purchase that Buick Enclave Premium model with the ventilated and massaging front seats. Better yet, pamper yourself more with the top Avenir model to feel more like royalty. But don’t just buy it because of its looks. Make sure that it can make your life easier, not just more comfortable, because if you want an SUV to perform at the drag strip Friday nights, you might get some confused looks driving up to the starting line in your luxury Buick.

The Buick Enclave sure doesn’t look like it belongs at a race track unless it’s parked in the spectator lot, and statistically, it would not perform nearly as well as the Dodge Durango SRT 392 model, which appears more like a sports vehicle, and is designed as such with a V8 engine versus the Enclave’s largest and only engine being a V6. But when you dig into the specifications of the Enclave, it excels in other categories over the Durango.

A white 2022 Dodge Durango is shown from the side parked in front of a mountain.

Deciphering a Vehicle’s Specifications

Manufacturers usually try to design their vehicles to showcase what they are primarily capable of. There are, however, some whose looks can be very deceiving, like the three-row 2022 Nissan Armada, which has an exterior and interior appearing very elegant, similar to its competition, the 2022 Buick Enclave. However, the Armada’s capabilities take it farther off the pavement than the Enclave is capable of and is an example of why you need to look beyond what you see, because if you want to spend your week transporting your kids to school and yourself to work and still be capable of taking to the trail on the weekends, then even the all-wheel-drive version Enclave may not be ideal for you, although it should be capable of handling a maintained dirt road, just not rougher terrains with obstacles like rocks, trees, or mud holes.

If you’re searching the internet for your next model, check your local dealership’s inventory to see what models are available. Then, search the manufacturer’s website, like Buick’s, if you are interested in the Enclave, for the most information on that specific vehicle. If you are old-fashioned and prefer to search for your SUV in person, then you will find the most desirable and common specifications regarding performance and capabilities on the window sticker, known as the Monroney label, displayed on the model you are standing beside. You will just have to search for the information you are looking for since there is a lot of information crammed on those labels. Even if you are working with a salesperson, whether at the dealership or on their website, knowing what you want, need, and having general knowledge of the important specifications of automobiles, will help prevent you from purchasing a car that isn’t quite the right fit for you.

With the ongoing fluctuation of fuel costs, one of the first things that will grab your attention on the Monroney is the fuel economy information, which lists what you can expect to get for mileage when you drive in the city, highway, and a combination of the two. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is who provides this information for consumers. You will find the fuel economy written as miles per gallon (MPG) or miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) if you are looking at plug-in electric models like the 2022 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring. The higher the numbers, the longer the range between fuel-ups or recharges.

The next information you are going to want to find on the Monroney is the engine information which will give you the engine size, how many cylinders the engine has, and its capabilities. For example, on the Buick’s Monroney, the 2022 Buick Enclave has a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which means the size of the engine is 3.6 liters, and it has 6 cylinders. The larger the motor and the more cylinders mean more power leading to better capability. However, more power means you sacrifice fuel efficiency. Let’s look at the 2022 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Dodge Durango to show the difference in their capabilities.

When you compare the Enclave’s only engine option with the Durango’s largest and most capable engine, the 6.4-liter V8, the Enclave gets an estimated combined 20 MPG with its all-wheel-drive model versus the Durnago’s estimated combined 15 MPG. That’s huge if you are primarily using your SUV for commuting and want to save as much as you can on fuel costs. However, that larger V8 in the Durango can tow more weight with more horsepower and torque. Both the horsepower and torque specifications are equally as important in performance and capability as fuel economy. Generally speaking, horsepower is what gives your vehicle its top speed, and torque is what gets your vehicle to speed quickly, giving you the power to pull weight and get your SUV over the hills and boulders on the trail. The higher the ratings of each, the faster and more powerful your SUV will be.

How to Know Which Drivetrain is Right for You

Another very important specification of an SUV you need to look for is the type of drivetrain it has. This information can also be found on the Monroney label in the window of the model you are interested in at the dealership. The drivetrain is what delivers the power to the wheels for your vehicle to drive. There are four types of drivetrains: rear-wheel drive (RWD), front-wheel drive (FWD), all-wheel drive (AWD), and four-wheel drive (4WD). Each drivetrain distributes the power to the wheels differently: rear-wheel drive to the rear wheels, front-wheel drive to the front, all-wheel drive to all four wheels all the time but not equally, and four-wheel drive distributes the power equally to all wheels but only when activated.

Many SUVs are available with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, like the 2022 Buick Enclave. Front-wheel drive is easier to drive and gets better gas mileage than rear-wheel drive, but rear-wheel drive is better at maneuvering and handling corners and turns than the other drivetrains, which is why you can find it on sports vehicles and even trucks since it helps with towing. The 2022 Dodge Durango gets its high tow rating because it is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is great, especially for inclement weather or uneven road surfaces, and makes driving simpler since it adjusts the distribution of power automatically. However, some SUVs and many trucks come with four-wheel drive, which is best for off-roading and even towing and hauling.

The grille of a 2022 Dodge Durango is shown in close up.

Recommendations for Finding Your Next SUV

The most important thing you need to know when you are looking for your next SUV is to look beyond just the appearance of the models you are interested in. We all want to look and feel our best in our vehicles. We spend enough time in them, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to look and feel like royalty while we commute to our white-collar job or when we’re stopping at the grocery store on the way home. Just make sure that your SUV also performs as the essential piece of equipment you need it to for commuting, errands, or fun; don’t get blinded by appearances. Dig into the specifications of the SUVs that appeal to you and make sure they are suitable for you but also capable of performing in any way you need them to.