Buick Enclave vs. GMC Acadia

Here’s a newsflash; Badge engineering still exists. Remember the good ole K-Car? That craptastic heap from 1980’s Chrysler, which morphed itself into everything from the Plymouth Reliant, to a wood-sided Chrysler convertible? All they did was screw on a different grill, glue a different sticker to the trunklid, and viola! New car!

Well, that sort of thing still exists. Except now, the “platform sharing” has gotten a lot more high tech. Different models use far more unique bodywork than before. And the build quality is so good, you really won’t care that you’re driving a template car.

Such is the case with the two upscale Suburban Chariots in today’s car comparison. The 2013 Buick Enclave, and 2013 GMC Acadia share the same front-drive, truckish platform, but their flavor profiles are quite different.

So let’s look at the ingredients, Buick Enclave vs. GMC Acadia, and see which one your kids might want to be chauffeured to Prep School in…

2013 Buick Enclave

2013 Buick Enclave

On of the best-selling Buicks of recent memory is the large, 3-row crossover called the Enclave. It was designed for people who wanted to transition from a gas-guzzling BigUV, without sacrificing the room, or the panache. To that end, they basically made a minivan that looks like an SUV. There’s acres of room, a tall stance, a car-like driving experience, and a third row that someone over the age of 8 can fit into.

The 2011 Buick Enclave wound up being the bestseller in its class. And the 2013 Buick Enclave is being positioned to reclaim that title. A new, aggressive front end, with massive Xenon spotlights. Chrome trim everywhere. And an all new interior that’s befitting of a vehicle in the luxury class.

2013 Buick Enclave interior

The dash is now covered in a classy twin-texture soft-touch material, and accented with Ice Blue ambient lighting. The tacky plastic trim has been replaced by actual metal trim, with accent stitching, and gorgeous wood. There’s a new infotainment system called IntelliLink, and an industry-first center airbag that inflates between the front passengers in a side impact.

Under the hood is basically the same; 3.6 liters, front or all-wheel drive. The 6-speed transmission is new this year, along with the suspension system. So the big Buick actually rides, shifts, and handles better than before.

2013 GMC Acadia

2013 GMC Acadia

If the Enclave is Luxury Flavored, the 2013 GMC Acadia is the Sports drink. A massive 3-bar grill replaces the previous sculpted grill, and the GMC logo is so big, some states give it a separate zip code when you buy your tag. The chrome grill on the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali is even more “showy”, and the large LED framed HID headlights give this FWD/AWD crossover a very masculine look.

The LED tail lights are also new, and the rear side glass now wraps around to the back window. But there’s still a large rear pillar to block your view. Perhaps that’s why the 2013 GMC Acadia can be fitted with cross traffic alert and blind spot warning. A rearview camera and rear park assist come standard. And the other systems come as standard equipment on the $46k 2013 GMC Acadia Denali.

2013 GMC Acadia

The same materials/design applies to the interior, except the GMC Sport FlavorUV gets more metal trim, and red ambient lighting, instead of blue.

Buick Enclave vs. GMC Acadia, The Bottom Line

While it may seem a little odd that today’s car comparison covered two 1st cousins, they do come from a decent family. The 2013 Buick Enclave is designed to ooze luxury, while the 2013 GMC Acadia is decidedly more industrial-lux, like the GMC Terrain. Regardless of the flavor, these two premium 3-row crossovers are top sellers for a reason.