Should I buy the Buick Enclave or Mazda CX-9?

I am considering the Buick Enclave or the Mazda CX-9. Both are offered with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, and the difference in price is about $1,500 plus reduced gas mileage. We live in St. Louis and don't intend to do any off-road driving, but snow and ice are a consideration. Any thoughts?

Bill, St. Louis, Mo.

We can see why you’re having trouble reaching a decision because both have their good points. The Enclave is the more luxurious of the two and also more expensive, with prices on 2012 models ranging from about $37,325 to $46,590 including destination. The CX-9 has the sportier handling (especially the Grand Touring model) and lower base prices, $30,520 to $35,920 (including destination) for the 2012 lineup.

2012_cx9

Both are competent, comfortable and roomy, though the Enclave earns an edge for offering seats for up to eight; the CX-9 maxes out at seven. They’re also dead even in EPA fuel economy ratings, 17/24 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 16/22 mpg with all-wheel drive. In other words, they’re darn close except for price.

When we look at the price differences among comparable models, we don’t see enough extra in the Enclave to justify spending that much more, so unless you can get a super deal on an Enclave, we would choose the CX-9.

The Chevrolet Traverse, a corporate sibling of the Enclave, offers the same major features at lower cost. Base prices on the 2012 Traverse run from roughly $30,000 to $41,000, more in line with the pricing on the CX-9, so that may be a better comparison. The Traverse and Enclave also will receive styling and interior updates for 2013.

We pitted the Traverse against the CX-9 and four other large crossover SUVs in our $37,000 SUV Shootout, and the Traverse nosed out the CX-9 to finish second, so check out that comparison for more insight. The overall winner was the Honda Pilot, our 2012 Family Car of the Year, and we think you should add the Pilot to your shopping list.

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Answered by Rick Popely on November 18, 2012 in Buick , Buick Enclave , Mazda , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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