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Discussion Starter #1
See Part I here - http://www.enclaveforum.net/index.php?topic=709.0

Who's Car is it Anyway?
I mentioned in my original post that all of the experiences were MINE and not those of my wife - the original test drive was just me and the dealer. The MDX is her car and so the replacement will be hers too. So this morning I scheduled a test drive for my wife (kids along too).

Wife's Assessment of the Enclave
First of all, let me tell you, I have an immense amt of respect for my wife - she knows what she likes and it usually doesn't take her very long to figure out what she likes. I, however, tend to over-analyze purchase decisions. The Enclave we drove was a red on gray CXL with a $44,800 MSRP so it was fully equipped. It was all cleaned up when we arrived about 9am. The dealer got us going pretty quickly.

As my wife walked around the car she made a few comments:

Nice smooth lines, rich paint, it has allot of room, you can actually sit in the 3rd seat, you can actually get into the 3rd seat, I love the power liftgate, I like the light colored interior, the seats are comfortable, it has two sunroofs!, I like the way the roof rails are chrome and match the wheels, I still can't reach the laundry hooks - I guess I am just too short, pretty chrome Buick front end - way nicer than that hawk nose on the new MDX.

The drive
My wife started out driving and I can tell almost right away that she likes it. She said within the 1st 1/2 block - this is easier to steer than I thought it would be - it doesn't feel as large to drive as it is inside. Her comments in order as I remember them: This is so quiet, I don't think it is slow (I told her it was no speed demon), The air works well, It handles nice, I like this car, This is a reallllyyy nice car, I can see myself really enjoying this car.

So, there you have it - she loved the Enclave, end of story and doesn't really need to drive or look at anything else now. That is about how quickly she comes to things in her mind. I say, "well, maybe we should drive the CX-9 again" and "we haven't driven the new Highlander yet" and "Should we investigate the new MDX a little further" and she just says, "I really like the Buick, it is different - there is nothing else out there as beautiful as the Enclave - why would we look at those again?"

So, this is really the end of this thread, the boss has spoken - not that she is the boss, but in this case she is - it will be her car. OK, who am I kidding, I love this woman and would do anything for her!! :) :banana: So, we will be pursuing an Enclave now and you will be hearing lots from me as I over-analyze the rest of the purchase process (don't get me wrong - I enjoy it).

But, one last note. In my last review I gave the Enclave glowing comments on it's design and exterior fit and finish as well as glowing marks on how quiet it is. But, I also stated that it's power and handling were not in the same league as an MDX/Sport a BMW X5 or a Mazda CX-9. So, I wanted to revisit the Enclave's performance and handling a little more - to see just how much it would affect me as an owner (I actually do most of the driving when we are together as a family and on trips).

My Test Drive - Round II
I read several times how much some of you really dislike the transmission behavior - it shifts down twice when you give it moderate pedal pressure (I alos read that some newer Enclaves may have a new FLASH that eliminates this issue and if not, the FLASH should be available for existing Enclaves). When my wife drove it I didn't notice her having this issue at all. I also read on this forum that the transmission Plus and Minus buttons only work when the car is in "L" so I wanted to check this out (on my 1st test drive I was in "D" and I couldn't get the Plus/Minus to do anything. So, I start out in "D" and do everything in my power to apply moderate pressure and see what the transmission will do. Maybe 1/2 of the time I too noticed two downshifts and 1/2 of the time I only noticed one downshift. However, I can't say the two downshifts were overly annoying, although I wish it would only downshift once - the two downshifts were very quick and smooth. And, I noticed when a significant amount of pedal pressure was given it downshifted once and got with the program as I hoped.

Driving in "L" and shifting manually
Here is where I was surprised - I really enjoy this mode. It is very simple to use and I have to say I found it more natural to use than the paddle shifting manual/autos I have tried in the past. It works very "Enclave-like" while turning up the boil just a bit. It works very well for the way I like to drive when I am in a bit of a hurry - I can rev it out a little more to get around other vehicles more quickly or downshift once to pick up the pace just a little or downshift two or three times very quickly (from 5th to 3rd or from 4th to 2nd etc) for a quicker and more predictable acceleration. I enjoyed the way the Enclave manual/auto mode worked - the "feel" - it was not overly abrupt but not mushy either (that would have driven me NUTS). I also confidently negotiated some quicker traffic moves, changing lanes quickly while downshifting from 4 to 2 instantly and mashing the pedal to move over and around quickly.

I am now quite confident that I will be just fine performance-wise driving the Enclave - it will still not be as nimble or as quick as an MDX/Sport or a Mazda CX-9, but then it is a different vehicle entirely and one must enjoy it for what it is. And, my wife and I are beginning to get pretty excited about what the Enclave is!

Thanks again, Steve
 

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Great Analyisis II! :thumb:
 

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Excellent analysis. Very similar in many ways to our experience. With your review of the autostick, I will have to try that a bit more and have a second look. Good luck in your search for the Enclave - happy hunting.
 

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very good and a pleasure to read :thumb:

congrats on your decision.

in reading this i think this is the problem that many people are having w/the transmission in driving the enclave and the acadia. they dont know how to switch and start using the manual functions when they want more power. i on the other hand enjoy it just the way it is in the automatic position and had none of the issues that they acquired while driving... i will have to learn how to use the manual functions as i tried but never really learned how to drive a stick. this car definitely is different and people really have to learn the engine/transmission when driving this is definitely not YOUR GRANDFATHERS BUICK.

the excitement intensifies :blob: :blob:
 

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Sarends, Looks like you may be coming back to the Buick family!!! Of course, this is unlike any Buick before it. I like the Acura and Mazda, they are attractive vehicles. However, I feel the Enclave is the classiest of this genre by far. Even my brother and his wife who recently bought a Mercedes Gl450 I think?? were impressed with the looks of the Enclave. Tough crowd to please believe me. Also, how does the warranty of Acura and Mazda compare to the Buick???? Good luck with your purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
BUICK59, You know that I have a love for Buicks down deep as you probably remember that I owned (yes, unfortunately past tense) a metallic gold 1970 Buick GS Stage I, a Titian Red 1970 Buick GS 350 and a 1986 Regal T-Type Turbo. And, my Dad had several 50 and 60s Buicks that I know were fantastic vehicles. The only car I have driven that has excited me like my Stage I has been my 2002 BMW M5, albeit at a significantly steeper price.

The Enclave is a gorgeous, if nothing else, vehicle. I think, I am going to get excited about an SUV in a way I was never excited about the MDX.

Now if Buick could hit another home run (or two) with a couple more vehicles, that wd be awesome. At a bare minimum they need to capitalize on the momentum with the Enclave and make incremental improvements to it over its life cycle. I know it will never happen, but I think a GS Enclave with a turbo would be a nice addition!!!!

Thanks everyone, Steve
 

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I think we will see some great new product from Buick in the next few years. I hope the success of the Enclave has shown them if you DESIGN and BUILD an exciting, stylish vehicle people will buy it even if it is called a Buick. They have had exciting concepts over the years but have not followed thru. The Enclave is the exception. When I saw the concept 18 months my first thought was they must build this and to their credit they stayed true to the concept. Next up is supposed to be an all new Lacrosse/Regal in 09 -10. Hopefully with Enclave cues. Have you seen the Chinese Park Ave and the Riviera concept??? People are begging Buick to bring them here. I was not hopeful about Buick's future until the Enclave. I believe this is just the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have not heard of the Chinese Park Avenue, have you seen pics or heard of it?

I did stumble upon this Riviera concept. If Buick builds something like this it needs to also distinguish itself with decent performance - it is certainly a good enough looking car to get my attention, but it can't be a lame performer like the Reatta was. My concern is it would have decent looks but fail to impress anyone in the performance arena (like Chrysler Crossfire).

Good Looking Riviera Concept:



Do you remember the gorgeous Riviera GS? I saw one at a Sonic hot rod/car show night a while back in Grand Island, NE. Now, this is a beautiful car AND it had great performance too:

 

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Yes, the first generation Riv 63-65 was one of the prettiest cars of the 60's. Go to www.gminsidenews.com and search for Buick news, discussion and you will find threads about the Park Ave. and also Enclave. Rumor has it that an announcement about the Riviera will be made at the Detroit show in Dec. Who knows. If they make it the car will share the new Zeta rear platform the new Camaro will be using.
 

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i've seen it and it is beautiful inside and out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am sorry, seen what?

1) 63 Riviera GS

or

2) Prototype Riviera Concept

If 2), I assume you mean pictures?

Cheers! Steve

MsS42 said:
i've seen it and it is beautiful inside and out.
 

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:thumb: Very good second review, Steve. I liked it much better than the first, mainly because of the result :cheers: I am glad your wife pulled the override and talked you into the Enclave. Your description of her sounds very much like my wife! I had her talked into the Outlook, until she saw the Enclave and fell in love. She definitely made the right decision because I want to drive around in a vehicle that commands attention from import owners so that I can be a GM cheerleader! It's really what I have always wanted to do....LOL...and now GM has given us the "show car" so we can be just that!
 

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sarends said:
I am sorry, seen what?

1) 63 Riviera GS

or

2) Prototype Riviera Concept

If 2), I assume you mean pictures?

Cheers! Steve
im sorry steve.... i have seen the new buick park avenue for china on gminsiders.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Uh, how could your needs go from a tiny Mazda RX-8 (2) seater to an Enclave? Did you have quadruplets? If so, break out the champagne!!! :beer: (grin)

ClaveCraver said:
I went from a RX-8 stick to the Enclave and I love the Enclave. I do have to watch the corners but it is worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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The RX-8 does have a back seat. The soccer team just doesn't fit. I think the Enclave is BEAUTIFUL!!! and the ride is even better!!!!!!!!!! P.S. Sill have the RX-8 :-X
 
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