2008 Buick Enclave
Buick isn’t known for producing cars that elicit adjectives such as “cool” and “classy”. For the past few years, the company has been seen as a producer of large and unwieldy vehicles with outdated designs. The new 2008 Buick Enclave
has rightly changed our minds. A sleeker, more modern design combined with a luxurious interior cabin sparks feelings of goodwill towards the nameplate. They’ve even upped the amount of standard features available and provided technology-heavy options. It seems Buick has entered 2008 with a new mentality, and we actually think that’s kind of cool.
What's to Like
Turquoise gauges illuminating the interior and seven, or an optional eight, supple leather seats will appeal to luxury enthusiasts. The van-like layout of the interior makes climbing in and out of the car less difficult than competing SUVs.
What's Not to Like
The cheesy analog clock placed smack-dab in the middle of the instrument panel renders the navigation screen too low to easily glance at while driving. On steep climbs the heavy SUV tends to roll back, forcing the driver to two-peddle it over hills.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
The Enclave’s ride is smooth as silk and the engine is quiet, but a compromise comes with uphill acceleration or passing power - the engine feels taxed. Overall the Enclave is lacking driving dynamics, but we understand, it is a Buick. Still, there’s a bit of liveliness when overdrive kicks in and its easy handling and soft suspension are perfect complements for the comfort minded.
Engine and Drivetrain
Both the Enclave CX and CXL are powered by the same 3.6-liter VVT V-6 engine, which produces 275 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, a tad bit low for a 4,780 pound vehicle. This automatic comes with standard front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive and has a towing capability of up to 4,500 lbs, or the size of a small boat.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
An optional second moon roof provides overhead scenery for those seated in the back. The Enclave provides a cavernous amount of storage space, but its extra rear under floor storage gives it a leg up on its competitors. On the amusement side, a DVD entertainment and navigation package at $4,320 is a pricey, but useful, option. It boasts a touch screen with voice recognition and a backup camera as well as a thumping Bose audio system.
Key Technology Evaluation
The Enclave has convenient features that make life a little easier. Power side mirrors tilt downward when you’re in reverse and two optional seatback-mounted DVD screens will keep the little, or big, ones quiet. The trunk door opens with a push of a button. Five-star crash ratings indicate that Buick hasn’t slacked off with its safety technology either.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
This is not a car that will be getting brownie points from Mother Nature. EPA ratings say this LEV-II SUV gets 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 16/22 in all-wheel drive. Please note, those numbers are achieved while driving like a saint. In this time of skyrocketing gas prices, this sort of fuel consumption will lighten your wallet significantly.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
The Enclave is a dream to climb into. Wood and metal trim swathe the interior and the instrument panel is elegantly designed. The rear seats move in all sorts of configurations and they’re all comfortable for children as well adults.
Buick touches, like the front grille and oversized headlights, give the Enclave a slightly exaggerated feel. The side view is much better, silver-wrapped windows and rear headlights and large 19” wheels pretty up the car’s appearance, while making it feel more substantial.
Market Segment and Pricing
The Enclave CX starts off at $33,505 and the CXL at $35,740. Even with optional all-wheel drive costing you a little more on both trims, these are typical costs for the market where the Enclave will be butting heads with the Acura MDX
and its stable mate, the GMC Acadia
What We Think
The Enclave’s design and advanced features will draw consumers over to Buick. An infinitely configurable interior, perfect for those who have ever-changing requirements for their people movers, reflects the newly found modernity of this somewhat staid nameplate. A Buick for a younger generation, who’d of thunk it?