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As if to prove to everyone that it would have been wrong to kill the Buick division, the near-luxury channel of GM has been cranking out some truly great product. The latest example is the new 2008 Buick Enclave crossover vehicle, which will do its part to bring back all the luster -- and the market share -- to General Motors. The 2008 Buick Enclave comes in two trim levels, CX, which starts at $32,790, and the CXL at a base of $34,990. GM has also stepped up the warranty, with 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage and Buick's normal 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper basic warranty.

First Glance

Designing a "crossover" vehicle has to be tough, since you can't make it look too much like an SUV, nor can you err on the sedan side. Buick designers describe the Enclave as a rolling piece of art. Romance and passion were the team's driving force behind this vehicle. They hope you like it, because the Enclave represents the design for many Buick vehicles to come. It is elegant and contemporary without being fussy.

One design element we can appreciate is the key line that continues all the way around the vehicle as a focal point, as well as a level for headlight and taillight alignment. Inside is the same level of style and functionality to keep the cohesiveness of design. So much so that if you ran a string from the analog clock on the center dash it would line up with the Buick emblem on the outside of the power liftgate -- that's attention to detail.

The inspiration for the interior was an executive jet, including the lapis blue lighting of the gauges to match the blue light rings around the headlights.

To keep the "Buickness" alive, nicely integrated portholes have been incorporated into the hood, along with Buick's well-recognized waterfall grille. Large 18- or 19-inch wheels finish the expressive style of the new Enclave.

In the Driver's Seat

If quietness has always been synonymous with luxury, then the Enclave is a million-dollar ride. Thanks to Buick's focus on "Quiet Tuning," this is perhaps the quietest vehicle on the road. Tire, wind, and road noise are virtually non-existent thanks to the engineer's focus on damping all the bad sound. The three goals were to reduce, block, and absorb the noise, which Buick has perfected to an art form. This dedication to noise reduction came through not only during the drive, but also in sound comparison tests of the Enclave versus its primary competition: the Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX and Mercedes-Benz R350.

This is one time where the only way we can prove it to you is a test drive; go see for yourself.

The CX and CXL differ in only a few areas inside; the CX gets a premium cloth on the seats while the CXL is dressed in leather, perforated at that to help absorb sound as well. We liked the clean, classic interior design of the dash, and the fact that all the controls are located correctly and easily within reach. Seating is for 7 or 8, with second-row bench or bucket seats. The buckets feature "Smart Slide," which delivers easier access to the third row. Both rows fold flat as well for an amazing 115.1 cubic feet of cargo volume.

On the Road

Besides being extremely quiet, the Enclave has excellent road manners. MacPherson front and a new linked "H" arm rear suspension deliver a controlled ride regardless of road surface. The steering was nicely weighted, and the new six-speed automatic transmission shifted smoothly and quickly.

The engine? It's a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 275 hp and 251 lb-feet of torque, which gets the Enclave up and moving quickly. This is the highest-output naturally aspirated V-6 in GM's lineup, and features VVT. Fuel economy numbers highlight its efficiency, at 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the front-drive version and 16/22 for all-wheel drive.

Speaking of AWD, that's a choice you can make for the Enclave, which satisfies those who must deal with less-than-perfect weather conditions, although it's beneficial on dry pavement as well. Torque split is determined by vehicle speed, throttle position and individual wheelspin, and can deliver up to 100 percent to either axle depending on need. All the safety features are there, including StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation and a 5-star crash test rating.

One last feature we thought was outstanding: the brakes had excellent modulation and a linearity that many other manufacturers would do well to emulate.

Journey's End

There's no question Buick stepped up and brought a vehicle to market that outshines the best from the imports. No detail was overlooked, from interior fit and finish to tight body panel gaps. How about the articulating headlights that lead with lighting around corners? Or a new remote keyfob that lets you check tire pressure, vehicle security, and change radio presets?

But there's more to Buick than the Enclave. It's a true international brand, especially popular in China, where it sells over 300,000 units per year. The platform for the Enclave also is being used for the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. The Buick stands apart because of the design, and attention to quietness, as well as a higher level of standard features and materials.

Another bonus to owning the Enclave -- or any GM product for that matter -- is OnStar. We had a chance to try out the turn-by-turn navigation system when we got lost on the Enclave drive, and the OnStar operator downloads the instructions to the vehicle to get your where you're going quickly and easily.

Bottom line: if you're looking for the best near-luxury crossover vehicle on the market, skip the Lexus and Acura dealership and head straight to Buick. You won't be disappointed.

Source: http://suvs.about.com/od/buick/fr/08_BuickEnclbj.htm
 

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This review is so positive, it almost sounds like a press release from GM.
 

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By the way, I have not received my MT - Aug issue yet. I have called MT to resend one, they will do it, If I won't get it by 7/11. It is killing me, I have never lost it before and now that I really want to see this issue USPS did it's job.
 

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I agree about the gushiness, but if it was a GM press release, it wouldn't have made the mistake of implying that the second row bench doesn't have Smart Slide.
 

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The inspiration for the interior was an executive jet, including the lapis blue lighting of the gauges to match the blue light rings around the headlights.
Has anyone other than me noticed that the interior gauge lighting in actuality appears more "green" than
"lapis blue" as marketing and brochure photos indicate?
 

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ccaats said:
Has anyone other than me noticed that the interior gauge lighting in actuality appears more "green" than
"lapis blue" as marketing and brochure photos indicate?
I'll probably be able to answer your question in about 3 or 4 more months. :banghead: This reply isn't really directed toward you......just upset because my order is taking so long.
 

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Rocketman, no offense taken. I feel bad for you and your wait. I have been searching the eastern half of the country, hoping to find the exact vehicle my wife wants within about a 500 mile drive or less (then luck out that the dealer will sell to me at GM supplier pricing) but everytime I find one and send an email, they tell me it has already sold. I DON'T want to special order one and then have to wait 3+ months.....I DON'T have the patience. Good luck and I hope you get your Enclave soon!
 

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I have a dealer down the road that has the Enclave you want, with the exception of AWD. But it's further than 500 miles from Birmingham. Worth a try? He was willing to sell it to me for supplier, but we wanted White Diamond
 

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ccaats said:
Rocketman, no offense taken. I feel bad for you and your wait. I have been searching the eastern half of the country, hoping to find the exact vehicle my wife wants within about a 500 mile drive or less (then luck out that the dealer will sell to me at GM supplier pricing) but everytime I find one and send an email, they tell me it has already sold. I DON'T want to special order one and then have to wait 3+ months.....I DON'T have the patience. Good luck and I hope you get your Enclave soon!
I appreciate that. I'm so disgusted now I was seriously checking out the 2008 STS. I'm sure I can get one a lot quicker than the Enclave. With so many Dealers here in the ATL, I might be able to find what I want on the Lot. Thanks anyway.
 

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coldtex said:
I have a dealer down the road that has the Enclave you want, with the exception of AWD. But it's further than 500 miles from Birmingham. Worth a try? He was willing to sell it to me for supplier, but we wanted White Diamond
Thanks coldtex. Unfortunately, it's the AWD that's making it so hard for me to find what she wants. We actually found a FWD one exactly the same here in town, but after she test drove it on a rainy day and the front wheels broke loose turning out of a parking lot and going up hill, she said no thanks and wants to wait until we find (or order) an AWD. Unfortunately, not many dealers in the SE order AWD ones.
 
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