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Buick's new Enclave is an upscale vehicle that offers room for up to eight people and a well-appointed, quiet interior, says Richard Foster of Stoops Automotive Group in Muncie.

Production of the 2008 Enclave began in April. The first Enclaves arrived at the local dealership this month.

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Billed by Buick as a "luxury crossover," the Enclave is built on the same General Motors "Lambda" chassis as two other recently-introduced vehicles -- the GMC Acadia and the Saturn Outlook.

Despite its shared underpinnings, the Buick has a unique design and several features that set it apart from its cousins, Foster said.

"The Enclave has none of the same sheet metal as the Acadia or the Outlook," he said.

The new Buick's "Quiet Tuning" features create an "enclave" of serenity inside the vehicle even when the outside environment is noisy, Foster added.

He cited a demonstration he attended in which a Quiet Tuned Buick was compared to several other vehicles.

"For the test, an SUV with a very loud audio system was parked next to the Buick," Foster said. "With the Buick's windows rolled up, the music from the other vehicle could barely be heard inside."

Triple door seals, injected acoustic foam insulation, noise-dampening interior materials and specially-designed steel panels are among the features Buick uses to keep noise out of its Quiet Tuned vehicles, the company says.

All Enclaves are powered by GM's "High Feature" 3.6-liter, 275-horsepower V6 engine. The 24-valve, double-overhead camshaft engine has variable valve timing and "drive-by-wire" electronic throttle control.

Engineered at GM facilities in the United States, Sweden, Germany and Australia, the High Feature V6 is used in some North American, European and Australian GM models.

Foster said the engine is exceptionally smooth and powerful, giving the Enclave brisk acceleration at both low and high engine speeds.

The Enclave's six-speed automatic transmission has a manual-shift mode, he added.

"The manual mode can be useful in hilly terrain to keep the vehicle's speed under control without excessive braking," he said. "The driver can keep the transmission from shifting beyond a selected gear."

Buick says the six-speed automatic also has "shift grade logic," which can automatically downshift the transmission when the vehicle is descending a steep hill.

All Enclaves also have Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. An optional "articulating" feature automatically turns the headlights up to 15 degrees to the left or right to help the driver see around curves.

Two different trim levels --CX and CXL -- give the Enclave a base price range of $32,790 to $34,990.

Electronically controlled all-wheel drive is available with either trim level and adds $2,000 to the vehicle's price.

Safety equipment on all Enclaves includes dual-stage front airbags, front side-impact airbags and head curtain airbags spanning all three rows of seats.

Features on the $32,790 Enclave CX include a cloth interior, OnStar, folding second-row captain's chairs, six-way power driver's seat, two-way power passenger seat, 18-inch aluminum wheels, StabiliTrak stability control, traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system, XM radio, three-zone automatic climate control and a remote-controlled power rear liftgate.

The $34,990 CXL model has a leather interior, eight-way power driver's seat, four-way power passenger seat, 19-inch wheels and heated seats.

Options include eight-passenger seating, a power sunroof, second row console and four different entertainment packages that include a rear DVD system, rear audio controls, wireless headphones, navigation systems, and a Bose ten-speaker sound system.

All Enclaves are covered by a four-year or 50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
 
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