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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought about posting this in another thread but there is so much info I thought it might get lost. I have been following all of the engine and trans threads and I thought you all would like another opinion. My wife has put about 2500 miles on and this was out first trip outside of our home area.


I have read the long threads about transmission and such so I figured I would post my opinions on a 2000 mile round trip which included the flat of the midwest and the Smokey Mountains. My original opinion still stands. I think the Enclave is SLIGHTLY underpowered.

First things first. Even though our Enclave was delivered after THanksgiving, I took her in Wednesday before we left for a transmission programming check and sure enough there was an update available. This thanks to another reader that posted his Jan Enclave did NOT have the update.

Drove from Chicago to Charleston, SC. Driving in the flats of the midwest, I averaged 19-20mpg with the cruise set on 80mph. In the mountains it dropped to 18mpg with HEAVY use of the accelerator pedal.

Regarding the shifting, I was expecting bad after reading so many posts but I must say it was very good for the most part in my opinion. On the flats, it would occasionally downshift but very smoothly and none of the rev to 3500rpms I have read about. At 80mph, it would shift and go from 2000rpms to about 3100rpms but again, fairly smoothly with little distraction to the other occupants. In the mountains there was MUCH more shifting with lots of high reving but I was also enjoying the mountain roads. The trans DEFINITELY shifted better and held a lower gear for much longer on long uphill climbs instead of shifting down, up, down, etc. Overall, we were pretty happy with the shiftring especially after all the comments. Don't know if there was anything new in my March 12th calibration compared to the updates others have but it is a big improvement IMO.

Regarding the handling, I was TOTALLY IMPRESSED how well this vehicle handled on the tight twisties of the SMokies. The steering was very precise with no noticeable over-steer or understeer. It never "pushed" into corners and always felt well "planted". I was driving aggressively in the mountains and the Enclave inspired nothing but confidence in the turns. Now, I'm not saying it handled like an AMG Benz but I was SHOCKED by how well this vehicle handles considering it's size and weight. The positive feedback to the wheel was confidence inspiring.

Regarding comfort, I found it to be very comfortable for a six foot 225lb man. The driver's seat was comfortable with great leg room with the seat back and the cruise on. Drive time was 15 hours total each way and there was no discomfort at any time other than the normal stiffness of sitting in a car for that long. My wife and kids had no complaints about comfort and the entertainment system worked flawlessly. The Nav system worked well also adjusting seamlessly to route changes. "Tiffany" as my youngest named her provided excellent guidance throughout the trip.

Overall, we were thrilled with the performance on our first long trip. No real complaints. Great job GM. I guess she's broken in now after my flogging of the gas pedal :thumb: We'd give her a 9 out of 10 based upon our expectations for such a large heavy vehicle.

BTW - We saw zero Enclave's on the way down but we saw 3 on the way back. One had the lamest looking blue bulbs installed to make it look like the HID option but man did they look bad!
 

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cruiser68 said:
BTW - We saw zero Enclave's on the way down but we saw 3 on the way back. One had the lamest looking blue bulbs installed to make it look like the HID option but man did they look bad!
Great review. BTW, aren't HID's standard on all Enclaves??
 

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Thanks for the review, I think road trip reviews like this are really insightful. You really did describe the tranny function well. I don't know how you were avoiding the downshift to over 3000 grand when on the flats unless the reflash you had did something. When in 6th it should always drop into 5th at 3000 grand first and then 2200 or so. On steeper hills it will hold 5th gear just as you described. Rosita talked about not having any problems in the mountains and the GM transmission engineer said that was typical as they are a steep enough grade for it to stay in 5th. It is the more rolling hills with the long upgrade that you described where you said there was MUCH downshifting that is the current problem for lots. Now consider living in the foot hills of the Adirondacks and driving those kind of hills everyday and you will know why it is annoying to me to the point of my complaints vs. driving in Nebraska for example.

Again I am glad you had a great trip, except for some issues, this is definitely a road car!!! Great review.
 

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Thanks for the comprehensive review, Cruiser68. Posts like yours give us confidence in the purchase decision while we wait, in my case to order a 2009. The Edmunds long term tests confirm your driving experience and it's exciting to think a car that size is so responsive and solid on the road. I know bsox and others are waiting for the appropriate tranny adjustments which I hope will be forthcoming. Driving in his environment with the constant shifting would be irritating at best. I'm really glad you have had a good experience so far. We travel frequently from Iowa to Colorado, but for us the true test will be on the annual trips from Iowa through Missouri and Arkansas to visit relatives in Louisiana. The rolling hills of southern Arkansas should offer a replication of the daily drive bsox probably faces. Thanks again and keep posting.

BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I believe you can get the Enclave without HID.

I too was wondering if there was a more recent flash. Unfortunately, my Buick service guy is not as forthcoming with info as my GMC service guy. He could not or would not give me a PN for the update or a date for the update. I actually use a tuning program called EFILive on my Denali and Enclave and it can read/change the calibrations on the trans. I can pull the programming to my laptop and compare with other calibrations but I only have one Enclave to compare it to. I THINK I have a copy of the oem trans tune so I'll see if I can find it and compare.

Regarding bsox and your comment about the foothills, I could see that being an annoyance. In the foothills of the Smokies, it definitely got more "busy". On the flats to slight hills, the downshift was really smooth with no head jerk of any kind and really no perceptible change.

We had not driven outside of Chicago on the old tune but there was a significant improvement for around town driving with the update. Enough that my wife said she liked it a lot better and for her to notice it means a lot ;D
 

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cruiser68 said:
I believe you can get the Enclave without HID.
No, you can't. All CX's and CXL's come standard with HID's. The OPTION is for steerable headlights on the CXL Luxury Package, but that's the only difference.
 

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If cruiser68 saw the lites lit up, the owner may have installed the plastic film now available to save lenses from stones. They are available with blue tint!
 
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