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CROSSING INTO LUXURY

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Nov 4, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

CROSSING INTO LUXURY By Harvey Schwartz

The all-new 2008 Buick Enclave brings more luxury and versatility to the growing crossover sport utility marketplace. Buick placed third on J.D. Power's 2007 Initial Vehicle Dependability Study and this all-new 2008 Buick is the quietest, smoothest and most luxurious Buick that I have ever tested. Enclave is the vehicle that is going to change perceptions about Buick. It blends a graceful, curvy exterior with an elegant, well-crafted interior. The Enclave is smaller on the outside, but bigger on the inside, combining segment-leading fuel efficiency with room for up to eight passengers with space for cargo.

Starting at less than $33,000.00, the Enclave is priced to challenge its luxury competitors, offers better fuel economy and is quieter and roomier inside. It comes standard with a 275 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to the front wheels or all wheels with the AWD option. The Enclave comes with a long list of standard equipment focused around customer convenience and comfort. For example, the front-row center console armrest slides back and forth for personalized comfort and access to the lower storage area. The storage area is equipped with a pull-out tray that reveals a deep space of more than 60 cubic inch for storing items like bottled water or a small purse. Enclave's elevated footrest or dead pedal, adds comfort for drivers with high-heeled shoes while the power liftgate activates conveniently with the touch of one button. Other key standard equipment includes Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, tire pressure monitor, Stabili-Trak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, traction control, Quiet Tuning to reduce, block and absorb noise, tilt-telescopic, leather-wrapped, real mahogany wood-accented steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, smart slide second-row seat, dual exhaust with chrome tips, stylish analog clock with quartz movement, six standard airbags, power liftgate, XM satellite radio and On Star with Turn-By-Turn voice-guided navigation and more.

Buick's luxury crossover hints to the brand's legendary design cues such as a new waterfall black chrome grille-with a bold tri-shield emblem and portholes. Enclave's standard HID headlamps feature a blue ring integrated into the lighting units and there is the option of GM's articulating headlamps that turn with the direction of the front wheels. Large 18-inch wheels and tires are standard with 19 and 20-inch wheels and tires optional. Enclave's interior is designed as an extension of the exterior with complementing curves and warm, inviting colors, as well as premium, soft-touch, low-gloss materials. The instrument panel and other interior elements have precise attention to fit, finish and flushness throughout. It is about time that GM paid attention to the interior finish and the Enclave sets the standard for future GM vehicles. Buick's exclusive Quiet Tuning works because engineers have included an acoustic-laminated windshield, laminated safety door glass, triple-door seats, flat-blade windshield wipers, strategically placed sound-deadening material in more than 24 locations throughout the vehicle and the outside rearview mirrors and tires are designed to minimize noise. The result is a library-quiet interior that allows passengers seated in the third row to hear a conversation between first-row occupants. When it comes to function and roominess, Enclave looks smaller on the outside but lives bigger inside. The vehicle can be configured for seven or eight passengers, with three rows of seats, and still have space for gear behind the third row. Enclave offers 18.9cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third-row seat, 115 cubic feet of cargo room behind the first row when all seats are folded - that's more than the 2008 Lexus RX350, Volvo XC90, Acura MDX, and Audi Q7.

All seats have a tailored appearance with premium cloth standard on CX models and perforated and heated leather seats standard on the CXL. The first row includes two bucket seats, while the second row seats come standard with two captain's chairs. A second-row 60/40-split bench is also available. Second-row seats feature GM's Smart-Slide, which allows easy entry to the third row with the pull of one handle. With Smart Slide, the second-row seat cushions flips up while the seatback slides forward, compressing the space occupied by the seat. The seats also have fore-aft adjustment. The Enclave's step-in height for the front and rear doors are the same as a luxury sedan. The instrument cluster is easy to see and understand with new blue lighting accents. All buttons, dials and levers are within easy reach. A stiff structure, purpose-built suspension and aerodynamic shape are the core elements for the Enclave's car-like driving experience. The Enclave rides on a long, 119-inch wheelbase, and a wide 67.3-inch front and 67.1-inch rear tracks. The long wheelbase and wide track help the Enclave deliver a confident ride with precise handling. Enclave's smooth and controlled driving feel features standard variable-effort power-assisted rack & pinion steering supported by independent front and rear suspensions. The front suspension features a MacPherson strut design with direct-acting stabilizer bar that helps provide a more immediate feel during turns. The tops of the struts are mounted to the chassis through isolated strut mounts, with ball bearings that reduce steering friction. The inboard pivot points of the lower control arms are mounted to a rigid engine cradle, which is fully isolated from the chassis to reduce transmission of road noise to the cabin. The rear suspension is a linked 'H' arm design that provides kinematics that precisely positions the rear wheels through their travel and while cornering.

This unique geometry features coil springs with twin-tube shocks absorbers mounted on an isolated sub-frame that inhibits noise, vibrations and harshness. It is also compact, which enable a low load floor-a feature that helps the Enclave offer generous passenger and cargo space and a higher load-carrying capacity. The optional, intelligent all-wheel-drive system provides full-time function. It enhances both dry road handling and provides increased traction on wet, snow and ice-covered roads. Powerful four-wheel disc brakes quickly and safely slow the Enclave down from speed. Up front are 12.8-inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13-inch vented discs in the rear. Both ABS and Brake Assist help with braking control. The Enclave is powered by an advanced 3.6 liter DOHC, all-aluminum V6 engine with VVT that ensures linear delivery of torque across the rpm band, while electronic throttle control delivers crisp, immediate response and feedback. A new Hydra-Matic 6T75 electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission features a wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio to deliver both performance and fuel economy. The Enclave can tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped. Standard features inside not mentioned above include power windows with front express up/down, power door locks, grab handles above each passenger door, dual map lamps, AM-FM-CD/MP3 player with six stereo speakers, thick-cut pile carpeting, 3-12-volt power plugs and dual map lamps with compass.

The Enclave has a comprehensive safety system designed to protect passengers before, during and after a crash. Enclave is equipped with six standard airbags: two dual-stage frontal airbags, two seat-mounted side-impact airbags in the front row and two roof rail airbags that cover all three seating positions, three-point safety belts for all seating positions with pretensioners up front, front and rear crush zones and steel beams in each door. The standard OnStar system automatically notifies an OnStar advisor when an airbag is deployed and immediately call the vehicle and summons emergency help. I liked every minute I spent behind the wheel of the all-new Enclave. It has the power, performance, styling, interior roominess and function as well as all the creature comforts to make your drive all the more enjoyable. To elevate your enjoyment even more, you can option for the power sunroof, rear backup camera, power-folding side mirrors, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 20-inch tires, Bose Premium Sound System, remote start, heated seats, heated windshield washer fluid, and DVD rear entertainment system with GPS navigation. The all-new 2008 Buick Enclave points the way forward for GM with attention paid to the interior that puts it in the top tier of luxury crossover utility vehicles.

© Words supra and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT A Buick that we really would rather have. For more information about Buick products, go to buick.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CXL Price of vehicle: $34,255.00, as tested: $37,780.00 Engine type: 3.6 liter, DOHC, all-aluminum V6 with VVT Horsepower: 275 at 6,600 rpm Torque: 251 at 3,200 rpm EPA mileage specs: 16mpg, city / 24mpg, highway Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive optional Transmission: Six-speed automatic Front suspension: Independent, coil-over strut, direct acting stabilizer bar, full perimeter isolated cradle Rear suspension: Independent, link H-arm, coil springs with twin-tube shocks mounted on isolated sub-frame Wheels/tires: 18X7.5 cast aluminum/255/65R18 all-season radials 19X7.5 cast aluminum/255/60R19 all-season radials Brakes: Front: 12.8-inch vented discs Rear: 13-inch vented discs ABS, stability control, traction control, rollover mitigation progam Overall length: 201.5 inches Overall width: 79 inches Overall height: 72.5 inches Curb weight: FWD: 4,780 / AWD: 4,985

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