Large SUVs have become the new minivan. The modern SUV has become a different animal than its truck-based body-on-frame ancestors once were. These updated people movers have all the modern conveniences, without nearly any of the downfalls of the fallen truck-based SUV of yore. They move America from place to place in style and comfort with the attractive styling and ride height of an SUV. Among the seemingly infinite sea of SUVs on the market today, two stand out among the rest. The 2019 Buick Enclave vs 2019 Nissan Pathfinder comparison holds two of the best large SUVs up against each other.
These vehicles have been battling it out in this tough segment for many years, and their experience is evident through their innovation. They both bring comfort, style, and utility to the table, but which of these SUVs gives the best package overall?
Let’s first get down to the details of this segment. The large SUVs have changed and evolved since their dawn back in the ’50s. Once built on truck frames, essentially a pick-up truck with rear seats and a hatch instead of a bed. In 1983, Jeep released the Jeep Cherokee and changed everything. Built as a unibody construction instead of the body-on-frame as traditional, the Cherokee made huge advancements in ride comfort, packaging constraints, and overall frame construction. It was still built like a truck with solid axles front and back, but the unibody construction changed the way SUVs would be built forever. Now almost all SUVs are of a unibody construction, save for the full-size SUV’s like Chevrolet Suburban or Nissan Armada, and actually share platforms with their sedan relatives. In the comparison of the Buick Enclave vs Nissan Pathfinder, both vehicles ride on a manufactured platform shared across the line-up. The 2019 Buick Enclave is built on the GM C1XX, which shares its underpinnings with the Buick Regal, Cadillac XT5, and even the Holden Commodore! The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder rides on the Renault–Nissan D Platform, which supports a whole heap of cars from Nissan Altima to the Renault Laguna.
Both platforms are well developed and the manufacturers have had plenty of time to work out the kinks. I would say its a tie between the Enclave and Pathfinder. Neither platform seems to outshine the other, although the GM platform does support more luxury vehicles, suggesting it may have slightly more refined characteristics.
Clearly, the pricing is a major factor when comparing the Buick Enclave and Nissan Pathfinder. Pricing comparison is cut and dry and quite easy to compare. The only thing to keep in mind is what you get for your money.
The Buick Enclave has an extensive trim line-up and a wide price range, depending on what features you are looking for. The base model, the 2019 Buick Enclave Preferred, starts at an even $40,000. Moving up to the next trim levels, the Essence, and the Premium, the MSRP starts at $43,195 and $49,295 respectively. Top trim level, the Avenir, breaks the $50k mark and starts at $54,695. AWD is available on all trim levels and is an additional $2,000+ option.
The Nissan Pathfinder has a much lower starting price. The lowest trim level, Pathfinder S, starts at $31,530, a whopping $8,470 less than the Buick. The mid-range Pathfinder SV and Pathfinder SL are also more reasonably priced, starting at $35,365 and $38,020. The range-topping model of the Pathfinder is the Platinum edition at $42,870.
The winner is clearly the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder for this comparison. Shopping for the lowest priced vehicle will land you in the driver’s seat of a Nissan Pathfinder S. However, best price does not necessarily mean the best value. Let take a look at the features available on these SUVs and see what they have to offer for their price.
Winner: Nissan Pathfinder
Features and Interior
Both these vehicles can come well equipped and ready to take on whatever you can throw at them, but offers better options between 2019 Buick Enclave vs 2019 Nissan Pathfinder? A multitude of options can be chosen between the two SUV’s. Let’s take a look at what these vehicles have to offer.
The 2019 Buick Enclave has a drastically higher starting price, however, the entry level Enclave Preferred also features a significant amount more than the Nissan Pathfinder. Heated seats, active sound canceling, LED headlights, power liftgate, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are all standard features on the Enclave. Jumping higher into the trim packages, features such as ventilated front seats, power folding rear seats, auto headlights, automatic heated/ventilated seats and heated steering wheel, and a rear view mirror camera become available.
The Buick is made for comfort and class. The seats are soft and supportive, the leather is soft to the touch and quality stitching is seen throughout. Even the mid-range models, the ones within the price point of the Nissan Pathfinder, have quality leather heated seats, a leather-trimmed dash, and quality materials used throughout the cabin. An extensive use of metal up-scales the interior and makes touching several of the switches, dials and levers more of a dramatic affair.
The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder is built form a more economical standpoint. That being said, one does have to recall the past of the Pathfinder, at one point it was a full body-on-frame SUV meant for rugged terrain an, well, “finding paths.” The updated version of this does not have as aspirational off-roading capabilities, however, that rugged styling still persists with this vehicle. Furthermore, even though the Pathfinder is more economically based, it comes quite well equipped. The entry-level Pathfinder S has many great features like automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, and Bluetooth connectivity. Higher trim levels have features such as premium Bose sound system, LED headlights, motion activated liftgate, and heated second-row seating. Although well equipped, the Pathfinder is lacking in some of the higher-end features of the Buick.
The interior of the Pathfinder is well laid out and features excellent use of durable materials. The seating is comfortable and the riding position is near perfect. A very practical vehicle, however, it is lacking in the refinement of the Buick.
Overall both of these vehicles have a well-appointed interior and offer consumers excellent value for their dollar. Overall, a mid-range 2019 Buick Enclave is going to offer the best value for your dollar when it comes to build quality, features, and comfort. However, the Nissan does have a very feature-rich interior for its dollar point. The downside being the lack of refinement and quality.
Winner: Buick Enclave
No matter if an SUV is used to haul lumber or a two-year-old, safety is paramount. Accidents can happen at any time and from any angle, so being adequately protected from anything should be one of the most important concerns on any buyer lists. In the comparison of the Buick Enclave and Nissan Pathfinder, both offer great safety ratings and features.
The 2019 Buick Enclave comes standard with a wide amount of both active and passive safety features. In the NHTSA’s safety test, the Buick Enclave scores a five-star rating overall, only receiving four stars in the passenger front impact. IIHS rates all categories as “Good” the highest achievable rating overall.
Active safety features available on the Buick Enclave increase the overall safety. Features such as safety alert seats, automatic braking, automatic cruise control, lane keep assist/blind spot detection, and cross traffic alert. These features are available on all levels of the Buick are standard on the Premium and above.
The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder scores well in passive safety features as well. The NHTSA gives the Pathfinder a five-star rating, achieving four-star only on drivers side impact. IIHS similarly scores it with a “Good” in every category except drivers side impact and headlights (non-LED headlamps).
Active safety features are nearly identical as the Buick, however, the automatic emergency braking is a standard feature across all models. This is lifesaving technology and having is as a standard feature is a huge bonus.
Winner: Nissan Pathfinder
Both of these SUV’s are competitive in their own right. Offering outstanding value and utility, the 2019 Buick Enclave and the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder is a difficult match-up. Aimed at slightly different segments in the market, the Nissan offers amazing value for a quality vehicle, while the Buick offers value and refinement, only for a slightly higher premium. Depending on what you are looking for, each vehicle can provide you with an excellent hauler for you and your family. The Pathfinder’s value is nearly unmatched. A five-star safety rating with standard automatic braking is an enticing proposition and its feature-rich interior at such a reasonable starting point make for an excellent vehicle. The Buick Enclave has a quality well-made interior that has been thought out and well put together. The upscale materials and sound deadening make it the more refined, but also more expensive choice.
Overall, each vehicle offers a well packed large SUV, however, a mid-level Buick Enclave offers the right mix of refinement, features, and starting price.