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Nuts & Bolts


Complaints: We drove this one nearly 700 miles loaded and unloaded. (Ria managed to stuff it with 600 pounds of luggage and still have space for three people.) That's not enough driving to find out everything that might be wrong with a vehicle. But it's enough to decide that we like the Enclave CXL pretty much the way it was delivered to us.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and handling are superior. Acceleration is very good. The Enclave has the best riding position of any crossover utility vehicle, wagon, minivan or sport-utility vehicle we've tested.

Head-turning quotient: Beautiful exterior sculpture, exquisite interior, all rendered with attitude. Bravo!

Body style/layout: The Buick Enclave is a front-engine, full-size, luxury crossover utility vehicle/tall wagon. It is available with front-wheel-drive or the tested all-wheel-drive. There are two trim levels, base CX and upscale CXL.

Engine/transmission: The standard Enclave engine is a 3.6-liter, 24-valve V-6 that develops 275 horsepower at 6,600 revolutions per minute and 251 foot-pounds of torque at 3,200 rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that can also be shifted manually.

Capacities: There is seating for up to eight. Cargo capacity is 116 cubic feet. Maximum payload is 1,475 pounds. The Enclave can be equipped to tow up to 4,500 pounds. It holds 22 gallons of recommended regular unleaded gasoline.

Mileage: With all of Ria's luggage, we got 19 miles per gallon on a highway run. But with only two occupants and light-to-no cargo, we got nearly 22 mpg on the highway.

Safety: Side and head air bags and electronic stability and traction control are standard.

Price: Base price on the tested 2008 Buick Enclave CXL with all-wheel-drive is $36,255. Dealer's invoice price on the base model is $33,898. Price as tested is $43,675, including $6,685 in options (onboard navigation with backup camera, rear parking proximity warning system, dual moonroof, Bose premium sound system with iPod and MP3 support capability, 19-inch chrome wheels) and a $735 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $40,182. Prices sourced from Buick and http://www.edmunds.com.

Purse-string note: The Enclave sits at the head of the line of GM's crossover trio, ahead of the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. The Outlook is friendlier to the purses of young families. The Acadia is for people who really want an SUV, but who can't live with the opprobrium of owning one.
Can anyone attest to the "Head-turning quotient?" 8) I'm hoping to get mine delivered this week...can't wait!
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