For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Atlas are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Buick Enclave doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.
The Atlas has standard post collision braking, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Enclave doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Enclave doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Atlas offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Enclave doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
Both the Atlas and the Enclave have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Atlas the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 136 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Enclave has not been tested, yet.
The Atlas comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Enclave’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.
The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 4 years longer than the Enclave’s (10 vs. 6 years).
The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Enclave’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 13th.
The Atlas’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Enclave’s standard 65 series tires. The Atlas’ optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.
The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Enclave doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the Enclave’s (38.1 feet vs. 39 feet).
For greater off-road capability the Atlas has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (8 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the Atlas to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Atlas is 6 inches shorter than the Enclave, making the Atlas easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Atlas has .3 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear hip room, .7 inches more third row headroom and .2 inches more third row legroom than the Enclave.
A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Atlas easier. The Atlas’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Enclave’s liftover is 31.2 inches.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Atlas. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Atlas’ front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Enclave’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.
The Atlas has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Enclave doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
The Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Enclave’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Enclave doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Atlas SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Enclave doesn’t offer an automated parking system.