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  1. #1
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    1,473

    Durango vs Enclave with big kids

    I have not posted here in forever but hoping to get some opinions from those who really care about safety in the vehicle.

    We would like to purchase either the Enclave or the Durango in the next few days. My hang ups with the Enclave are the lack of headrest in the center or the 3rd row and the low, non-adjustable headrest in the outside seating positions. My kids are older now (9 and 11) so this really will have an effect on me in the future as my kids and their friends are just getting taller. I worry that in the next few years my 11 year old's friends will no longer have head support back there. My 11 year old is fine in the 3rd row now, though.

    Because of the headrest/lack of headrest issue I have been leaning towards the Durango. My worry is that the Durango's NHTSA crash test ratings are lower than the Enclave. The Durango's overall is 4 star vs the Enclave which is 5. The difference is due to the frontal crash testing where the Durango rated 4 and the Enclave 5.

    I guess I'm struggling. I like both cars and would be happy with either. The head rest issue bothers me more but I'm not sure I should actually be worried about the crash test rating even more?

    Would love opinions!!!
    Tanya

    Allie 6/6/03 - Monterey and Parkway
    Levi 4/3/05 - Probooster and Turbobooster

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  3. #2
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
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    Illinois
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    Re: Durango vs Enclave with big kids

    Welcome back!

    Have you seen my reviews at CarseatBlog? Take a look if you haven't, you might find something relevant to you.

    Neither one has been tested yet in the IIHS small overlap. Of the two, only the Durango has an autobrake crash avoidance system, but you have to get the Technology Package to get it. Unfortunately, you have to get the top trim levels to get that package, pushing the cost over $45K MSRP.

    Personally, I would not be too concerned about the Durango's NHTSA crash results. The only one that was a 4-star result was the frontal test for the driver. The frontal passenger and all 3 side impact tests were 5-stars. That's very good even though the overall rating is only 4-stars. In comparison, the new Toyota Highlander received a 5-star overall rating with the exact same individual test results. Likely, its rollover and other ratings were just that much higher within each classification to boost the overall rating a notch higher. The NHTSA ratings are sort of dumb like that.

    Of the non-luxury midsize SUVs, I prefer the 2014-2015 Highlander to the others right now, in part because it did reasonably well in the small offset crash test. I have a review of it at CarseatBlog as well. Sadly, they do the same as Dodge and limit the Technology package to the top trim, making only a few thousand less than Durango.

    Outside of the missing small overlap tests, which could come back to bother you, I'd have no issue with buying either a Durango or Enclave. I had an extended road trip in the Durango and I think it might have the edge if I was buying for my family. It is also someone unique among crossover SUVs that the 2WD option is rear-wheel drive. Not sure if that is a factor for you or not.

  4. #3
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,473

    Re: Durango vs Enclave with big kids

    Darren, thanks so much for your insight! I was not sure I would have anyone respond during the holidays!!!

    I have read the reviews on the blog and will go revisit them again before making a final decision. I'm just not sure I can get past the head rest issue in the Enclave though I was also thinking that by the time BOTH kids (and their friends) are too tall for the head rests in the back one of them will be driving so I would have no need to transport her friends that are too tall.

    I test drove the Highlander and just did not love it.

    Thanks again for the response! I appreciate it!!
    Tanya

    Allie 6/6/03 - Monterey and Parkway
    Levi 4/3/05 - Probooster and Turbobooster

  5. #4
    Senior Community Member VoodooChile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    943
    I have a 2014 Durango with a walk-through 2nd row. My kids are 9 and 5. Dd and friends are really comfortable, especially in the 3rd row--the seats are nicely tween/teen sized (although I can sit back there comfortably too). Ds sits in a hbb in one of the captains chairs, which are bigger.
    Dd 10/2005--Incognito
    Ds 3/2009--Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro, Clek Oobr

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    131
    We went through the same discussion on the head rests when we bought our traverse. We finally came to the conclusion that by the time dd not having enough head support in the 3rd row became an issue Ds1 will be either driving himself, taking the bus, or not wanting to go with mom and dad everywhere! Right now Ds2 (11) has plenty of head support in the 3rd row, and prefers to be back there by himself. I'm guessing that unless he has a major torso growth spurt he has 2-3 years before I have to move him. At that point dd can go back there. I would consider how often you transport other kids with both of your kids in the car. Is it often enough that you really have to factor that into your decision?

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    24

    Re: Durango vs Enclave with big kids

    I'm not sure if you've already made your purchase, but I thought I would weigh in that I sat in the 3rd row of my parent's Enclave this past week and while I was initially concerned about the lack of an adjustable headrest for me I found that the headrest in the outside seating positions easily came to the top of my ears. I'm 5'6" and have a long torso, so I think those seating positions would work better than I would have expected for bigger kids.

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