Review: 2008 Buick Enclave
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The 2008 Buick Enclave SUV might be considered an updated version of one of its early 1970s Estate station wagons, with plenty of room and a generally car-like feel.
The sleek midsize Enclave follows Buick's rich styling tradition. The first General Motors experimental concept car was the slick 1939 Buick Y-Job, and Buick's 1953 Skylark convertible and stunning 1963 Riviera coupe are classics. Buick autos later got smooth, Jaguar-like styling, but the Enclave is the first Buick truck that belongs with the best-styled Buick autos.
The Enclave is similar in many respects to GM's Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. All have unique styling, but the Buick model looks the best of the trio.
Seven-passenger seating is standard with second-row bucket seats that permit a wide aisle to the third-row bench seat. A second-row bench seat also is offered for 8-passsenger seating.
Spacious Passenger Area
Even the base CX is loaded with comfort and convenience equipment, including a power tailgate for those carrying groceries or other cargo. There also is tri-zone climate control, power front seats, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player and power mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry
The CXL adds uptown items such as leather upholstery, heated front seats and a front passenger seat with a wider range of power adjustments.
There's a variety of options. They include a $1,300 power sunroof with a skylight for second-row occupants and a $4,320 Entertainment Package with navigation and DVD entertainment systems, rearview camera, rear audio controls and an upscale Bose sound system.
There also are handsome $1,495 alloy wheels for the CXL, but they're best left to warm-weather areas of the country that aren't cursed with corrosive winter road salt.
The 6-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly. It's generally responsive, but can get caught in too high a gear, and sudden downshifts cause it to select a lower gear in a jerky manner.
Estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg in the city and 24 on highways with front-wheel drive and 16 and 22 with all-wheel drive. Only 87-octane gasoline is needed, although Buick says 89-octane delivers the best performance.
The new Buick is fairly easy to enter because of its low floor, and long doors with large handles assist entry. Occupants sit high, and large outside mirrors enhance driver safety.
Quiet, Upscale Interior
I couldn't get the express-down driver power window out of express mode with the window switch. Stopping it when it was moving up in express mode was easy, though, and it has an anti-pinch feature.
The shifter partially blocks the two console cupholders for the driver, but the covered console storage bin is deep. Pockets in all doors are too small to be very useful.
Dual lights for the front visor mirrors are a thoughtful touch, but the elegant-looking center dashboard analog clock almost seems like a decorative item because it's too small to be read easily.
Generous Cargo Room
The hood has a hydraulic strut that does away with an awkward prop rod and swings open to reveal a large plastic cover for the sideways-mounted V6 and easily reached fluid filler areas.
The midsize SUV market no longer is one of the hottest, but it still has plenty of entries and the Enclave is one of the better ones.