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2008 Buick Enclave

2008 Buick Enclave
Superb luxury crossover SUV.

By Jim McCraw

Review Pages
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1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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Overview

The 2008 Buick Enclave is an all-new luxury sport utility that seats seven or eight, offers big cargo space, and gets good fuel economy and performance from a modern V6 engine. It's a crossover, offering the space of truck-based SUV yet built using car-like unibody construction.

For 2008, Buick has retired the Rendezvous utility vehicle, and the Rainier sport utility, and the Terraza minivan from the showroom lineup, and in their place, there's a single vehicle that will try to be all things to all traveling families, the new, 2008 Buick Enclave.

Buick Enclave shares its basic platform with the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia, but it's as different from each of them as chalk is from cheese. Enclave is aimed at the upper end of the crossover segment, with competitors like the Acura MDX, Lexus RX 350 and Mercedes-Benz R 350. Enclave's styling is completely different from that of the Acadia and Outlook.

But what really sets the Enclave apart is its modern cabin, with stylish illumination, crisp graphics, genuine wood trim and nice leather. The seats are comfortable, and it can be ordered with a second-row bench seat or luxurious captain's chairs, depending on whether seven- or eight-passenger capacity is needed. There's lots of convenient cubby storage and the Enclave offers 115 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats folded down.

Equipped with GM's new high-feature 3.6-liter V6, the Enclave offers good acceleration performance while earning an EPA-estimated 16/22 City/Highway mpg under the more stringent new test procedures. Enclave is rated to tow up to 4500 pounds.

Model Lineup

At introduction, there will be two models, the Buick Enclave CX and the CXL. Both come with the high-feature 3.6-liter 24-valve V6 with variable valve timing. The standard CX comes with front-wheel drive ($32,790), while the CX AWD ($34,790) features all-wheel drive. The CXL also comes with a choice of front-drive ($34,990) or AWD ($36,990). At this stage, no hybrid or diesel version is on the horizon.

Options are many, including a range of three entertainment packages: Package 1 ($980) includes a 6CD changer, MP3 player, rear seat audio, and Bose speakers; Package 3 ($3025) adds a DVD touch-screen navigation and backup camera in addition to the other elements. The Luxury package ($925) includes heated outside power folding mirrors with turn-signal repeaters, steerable headlamps, tilt and telescope steering, and a 110-volt power outlet; the Driver Confidence package ($520) includes remote engine start, ultrasonic rear parking assist, and heated washer fluid. Freestanding options include chromed aluminum 19-inch wheels ($1495), metallic clearcoat paint ($170), a power sunroof with a second-row skylight ($1300). Other options include the Panasonic DVD rear-entertainment system, trailer towing ($350), power sunroof ($800), fog lamps ($115), cargo cover ($50), cargo divider, chrome trim package, and a 6CD upgrade ($295).

Safety features that come standard include OnStar emergency communications (with turn-by-turn navigation), anti-lock brakes, traction control, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Enclave is rated as a five-star front-crash, five-star side-crash and four-star rollover safety vehicle by the federal government.


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