2008 Buick Enclave Review
By Brendan Moore
Boy, am I conflicted.
I really like the Buick Enclave. It’s comfortable, it’s chock-full of all sorts of nice stuff like leather and a great stereo with OnStar and XM radio and a backup camera. It handles and brakes pretty well, and it does those things very well considering what is. It is very attractive inside and out – I love the way it looks.
Everything it’s supposed to do, it does well. And, jeez, is it good-looking.
But it’s really big. No, not as big as a Lexus LX behemoth or a Cadillac Escalade, but still big, especially when you’re next to the plebes in their regular-size cars. This feeling of large-ness and excess largess is amplified by the fact that you’re a lot higher up than those cars. And the fuel mileage of the Enclave is tough to rationalize. I was driving the Enclave that GM loaned me for week all over, around town, to the office, etc. and never got better than an average 11 mpg. That was being pretty light-footed on the accelerator. I took it on a couple of 100-mile trips and got the average for the week up to 16 mpg after I coaxed 19 mpg out of it on those trips. Now, admittedly, I was moving along at a sustained 70 MPH on the highway, so it would make sense that I did not equal the 22 mpg the EPA says the Enclave gets for highway fuel economy.
I realize people use vehicles like the Buick Enclave to run errands around town and plenty of people use them as commuter vehicles, driving themselves to work every day and driving back home at night – by themselves again. But, really, it’s a lot of iron for just one person. You will use up a lot of gasoline moving yourself around in a vehicle like this. You can do a lot better in terms of a gasoline-burned to miles-driven ratio.
OK, that said, this is a wonderful vehicle for carrying around multiple people and their stuff. If I had infant triplets or three teenage daughters that played on a field hockey team I was always carting around, or even if I were traveling somewhere far away on a road trip with some other adults, the Buick Enclave is the thing that I would want to drive. I’d be grabbing the keys to this thing and hitting the highway.
Everything is so quiet and buttery-smooth in the Enclave – the 3.6 liter, 275 HP V6, the six-speed automatic transmission and the full-time AWD system. Yeah, that’s right, I do love it like that in a luxury vehicle.
The Bucik Enclave CXL AWD I drove had an MSRP of $44,950 after ladling on every option available after the base price of $36,255. The “base” Enclave CXL AWD starts out very nicely-equipped, but the extra money bought the following extra options:
Entertainment Package #4
– Touch Screen Navigation
– DVD Rear Seat Entertainment
– Rear Seat Audio Controls
– Bose Speaker Sound System
– Rearview Backup Camera
19” Chromed Wheels
Power Sunroof with Second Row Skylight
– Heated Outside Mirrors, Power Folding w Turn Signal
– Steerable Headlights
– Power Tilt and Telescoping Steering
– 110 Volt Power Outlet
Driver Confidence Package
– Remote Start
– Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist
– Heated Windshield Washer Fluid
Sweet, huh? It really is a wonderful place to spend a lot of time in with your family and/or friends.
Would I buy one? No, but I am by myself almost 100% of the time when I am in the car. My wife works, the kid’s in college, I don’t do the tailgating thing at sports events and I never call up three or four of my closest friends and say, “let’s drive somewhere that is 500 miles away, all of us in my vehicle”. Never happens.
BUT, if I actually needed a vehicle like this, this is the one I’d buy. It’s very impressive, and did I mention that it looks great?
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