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Published on Sun, Nov 14, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2011 Buick Enclave CXL
2011 Buick Enclave

By John-Fredrik Wright Not long ago LA Car test drove the 2010 Buick Enclave. It was observed that Buick has gotten their shift together, and the 2010 Enclave was deemed to be 'a helluva car'. Thankfully, Buick has kept up the good work, and continues to deliver pretty good cars. Maybe even great? We’ll see. As far as the exterior of the Enclave goes, you’ll have a hard time distinguishing any differences from last years model. Actually, Buick uses the exact same pictures on their website for both years' models. Switching between the 2010 and the 2011 Enclave sites, there are only two differences; the 2011 starts at $35,615, exactly $100 up from last year; and the “cash back special offer” is $500 more on the remaining 2010 Enclaves. However, there is still plenty to mention about this car. I can see how some don’t like the round and smooth look of the Enclave; it might take some time to get used to it. For me though, I like looking into the Enclave’s deep blue round eyes and seeing her smile. It looks like she could have a part in the movie “Cars”; playing a pretty, yet a little chubby, mother. It must be a mother, seeing as her “eyes” follow every move you make (i.e. her articulating xenon headlamps).

2011 Buick Enclave CXL

A trusted mother; sturdy (she does weigh over 4700 pounds), yet nimble (easy to drive) and very smooth. The 6-speed transmission does a fabulous job at keeping the ride pleasurable. I did, however, on several occasions get the wheels to squeal a little when accelerating in tight corners (coming out of parking lots, for example). Other than that, the Enclave felt very secure. Interestingly, that was the only time I heard anything. Even during hard acceleration the engine noise is low, and when cruising down the highway the mother inside of the Enclave must fall asleep; there was just so little noise coming from the car (my mother-in-law covered for her, though). Being that it is a little chubby, it's a good thing that the Enclave has an available option that aids when parking. I would therefore definitely recommend the rear parking assist with the back-up camera option. I would have had a hard time parking was it not for this option. It even would have been beneficial to have the same sort of system on the front grille; it takes a while to figure out where the front bumper really is. Even if mothers usually can handle everything, it is good to know that the Enclave comes standard with the mother of all Mother’s Little Helpers; OnStar. I looked up a phone number to a restaurant, checked on traffic, and even got directions to a place I didn’t really know the correct name of sent to the Enclave’s Turn-by-Turn voice-guided navigation system. Just like with a mom, there are only a few minor negative details found in the Enclave. All are minor, and we expect that; just like all good mothers/wives, the Enclave will get even better with time.

2011 Buick Enclave CXL

The two captain seats in the second row are a little low. The passenger’s knees wind up not being supported by the seat, which can get uncomfortable during longer road-trips. It took me a while to find the manual shift option. It only works when in L-gear, and shifting is done using a button on the gear knob. Of course, this car doesn’t need a “manual” option other than maybe while towing and on steep downgrades; the automatic transmission does a great job. Also, it is my experience that you don’t tell a mother what to do; she’ll make you aware of what is best for you. The Enclave does a great job in safely carrying her occupant to their destination. The trunk opens automatically and has plenty of space to accommodate all the stuff that usually gets packed when going on longer trips. Buick boasts that the Enclave gets better highway fuel economy (24 MPG) than any other eight-passenger SUV. That, added to the great ride and drive, makes the Enclave a great road-trip car. If you are looking for a smiling spouse/SUV to haul around all your loved ones, the Enclave will do it graciously. And I bet every married driver wishes that his or her spouse had a remote start option.

2011 Buick Enclave CXL

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Soccer moms and dads never had it this good. SPECIFICATIONS: Name of vehicle: 2010 Buick Enclave CXL-2 FWD Price: $41,995 (base) $48,905 (and as tested with audio system w/navigation DVD, touchscreen navigation, DVDrear seat entertainment, XM Navigation and Traffic, etc.) EPA fuel economy rating: 17 (city) 24 (highway) Engine size and type: 3.6L V-6 VVT Horsepower @ 6300 rpm: 288 Torque @ 3400 rpm: 270 lb.-ft Transmission type: Hydra-Matic 6T75 – 6-speed automatic with manual shift control Drive configuration: FWD Steering (type): Power-assisted rack and pinion Suspension (front and rear): 4-wheel independent Brakes and tires: 4-Wheel ABS Disc Brakes Dimensions: Length: 201.5 in Width: 79 in Height: 72.5 in Curb weight: 4780 lb (FWD) or 4985 lb (AWD)

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