2008 Buick Enclave SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Buick Enclave SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Buick Enclave Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 275 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Buick Enclave

  • Better packaged than any Buick in recent memory, the 2008 Buick Enclave offers a spacious, upscale cabin that will appeal to SUV shoppers who use all three rows of seating on a regular basis.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Attractive interior design, kid- and adult-friendly seating in all three rows, huge cargo capacity, supple ride quality.

  • Cons

    A few cut-rate materials, some controls are hard to find and use, transmission can be hesitant to downshift.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Buick Enclave is an all-new large crossover SUV capable of seating up to eight passengers. Power comes courtesy of a 275-horsepower V6.

Full 2008 Buick Enclave Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Buick Enclave is an all-new large crossover SUV capable of seating up to eight passengers. Power comes courtesy of a 275-horsepower V6.


Buick wants to be known as a premium automaker, but none of the vehicles the brand has rolled out over the last five years have fully lived up to their luxury billing. The 2008 Buick Enclave could be the one that breaks Buick's mediocrity streak.

At first glance, the Enclave is just another new crossover SUV with a standard V6, a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations. But step inside and it's a different story from other Buicks. The cabin doesn't look like it was built to a price; rather, it comes across as a product of thoughtful design, with artistic curves to the dash, shapely front seats and Tiffany Blue-inspired illumination. On the whole, the '08 Enclave is a step up for Buick and a viable entry in the premium crossover SUV class.

The Enclave still shares its underpinnings with GM's latest batch of crossover SUVs, including the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. All use fully independent suspension, and all have an all-aluminum 3.6-liter V6 good for 275 hp, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Interior dimensions are massive by midsize SUV standards. Not only can the Enclave accommodate adults in all three rows, it has a maximum cargo capacity of 116 cubic feet -- more room than most full-size sport-utilities. A 60/40-split, fold-flat third-row seat is standard in every Enclave, and in keeping with the Buick's upscale mission, twin captain's chairs are fitted in the second row. For families who need even more seating capacity, a bench seat is available for no extra charge, and conveniently, this seat also folds flat. Cloth upholstery and rich-looking wood-grain trim are standard in all Buick Enclaves, and leather is included on the upscale CXL model. All the expected safety equipment, including stability control and three-row side curtain airbags, is standard across the board.

We have no doubt that the 2008 Buick Enclave crossover SUV will be a practical family vehicle for buyers who have $35,000 to $45,000 to spend and don't want a minivan. However, its success as a luxury SUV is not as certain. Although more opulent in its design and furnishings than other Buicks, there are still a few questionable interior vinyls and plastics. That could be a liability against the upscale interior treatments of competitors like the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Lexus RX 350 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. However, the Enclave costs less than all of these rivals, potentially offsetting this weakness.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A large crossover SUV, the 2008 Buick Enclave comes in CX and CXL trim levels. Both have a standard seven-passenger seating configuration via second-row captain's chairs and a third-row bench seat. An optional second-row bench seat, available for no extra charge, increases capacity to eight.

The base CX comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon HID headlights, a power liftgate, heated outside mirrors, cloth upholstery, a power driver seat, a telescoping leather/wood steering wheel, triple-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker CD stereo with an MP3 player input jack, satellite radio and OnStar telematics (including the Turn-by-Turn navigation feature). The high-line Enclave CXL adds 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and additional power seat adjustments, including memory settings for the driver.

Most options for the Buick Enclave are grouped in packages. There are four different entertainment packages, allowing you to pick up features like a navigation system, a back-up camera, a 10-speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash CD changer, and a rear DVD entertainment system that plays in 5.1 surround sound. There's also the Driver Confidence Package, which adds remote start, rear parking sensors and heated windshield washer fluid. Exclusive to the CXL is the Luxury Package, which contains adaptive headlights, power-folding outside mirrors, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a 110-volt outlet. Stand-alone options on both trim levels include the Dual SkyScape Sunroof (a sliding front moonroof with a fixed rear skylight), a second-row storage console and towing preparation.

Powertrains and Performance

Buyers have a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive on the Buick Enclave. Either way, the power source is a 3.6-liter V6 rated for 275 hp and 251 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Properly equipped, Buick's new crossover SUV can tow up to 4,500 pounds.


Every 2008 Buick Enclave comes with antilock disc brakes, a tire-pressure monitor, stability control (with anti-rollover logic), front-seat side airbags and three-row side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors are optional, and vehicles equipped with the nav system have a rearview camera.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Enclave feels genuinely luxurious. Buick says the design was reportedly inspired by the cabins of private jets, and amidst the gentle curves of the dash, the rich-looking wood-grain inlays and the soft, double-stitched leather, that doesn't seem like much of a stretch. Interesting details include the Tiffany-style analog clock and aqua blue instrumentation. A few of the plastics and vinyls seem a bit questionable in a premium SUV, though, and some of the controls are small, with complicated labeling. Large families may overlook these faults, though, when they see how roomy the seating is. Access to the third row is excellent, as the second-row seats tilt and slide out of the way at the pull of a lever. There are a usable 19 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat, and when you fold its 60/40 sections into the floor, you get nearly 68 cubic feet. With the second-row seats folded, the Buick Enclave offers 116 cubic feet -- one of the highest cargo volumes in the SUV kingdom.

Driving Impressions

The Enclave's V6 offers adequate power in all situations along with a mildly sporty exhaust note. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but it's programmed to maximize fuel economy, sometimes resulting in delayed downshifts. There is a manual shift button on the shift lever, but we'd like to see Buick offer the convenience of buttons or paddles on the steering wheel. As you'd expect, the Enclave is quiet and smooth-riding on the highway, though some buyers may find the CXL model a bit too firm due to its 19-inch wheels. Handling on the 2008 Buick Enclave is competent and predictable but not especially sporty.

Read our Buick Enclave Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Never buy gm again

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Vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CXL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I bought this 2008 Enclave less than a month ago. Brought it in for a slight humming noise at low speed. After "evaluation" they wanted over $2000.00 to "fix" everything. Owned a Toyota that had over 216000 miles and never had to put $2000 in to "fix" it. The Buick has less than 60000 miles. Called and spoke to the service manager at McKinney Buick as they wanted 50% more than a standard repair shop and they will not budge on their over priced repairs. Then they wanted us to pay for a loaner car for the week it took them to diagnose the problems. Any other shop could diagnose and fix in 1-2 days. I have always owned Toyota's and know I remember why. If you value $$$ stay away from GM/Buick.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

$ 48,000.00 mistake

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Vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CXL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

We purchased our 2008 Buick Enclave in late 2007. It was My wife's dream vehicle until the problems began i.e. Sunroof leaking,trans slipping,rattlle in rear drivers side,liftgate opens on it's own,service airbags light on twice, traction contol light on twice, reduced power on the highway three times,steering wheel rubbing noise,service stability light on,left front stabilizer is loose,air conditioning has been serviced twice for leaking and noise,front shocks replaced,brake rubbing noise,power steering pump leaking,front timing cover gasket leaking,right rear door weather stripping coming loose,noise while driving 50-60 mph on highway.washer heater causes fires, Don't buy this vehicle!

Don't walk away... run

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Vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CXL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Bought this vehicle brand new in 2008. Thank God it came with a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty because we used it. Tires wore quickly even with Michellins and averaged about $1300.00 to replace. Brakes and rotors needed to be replaced and that was just under $1000. I thought that was outrageous until I've heard of people paying more than that for brakes! To top it all off, transmission failed on the freeway at 73,000 going up north with NO warning. Luckily it was covered by warranty, but even the technician said to get rid of it as soon as the warranty expires. I am a believer in the saying "you get what you pay for." Not with this car. Save yourself the hassle, stress, and money.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2008 enclave worth a sac

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Vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CXL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

My husband bought this car for far more than it is worth, the sunroof leaks water directly into the fuse box which corrodes the relays causing the gages and all the electrical system to shut down. On a 200 mile trip smoke was coming out from the interior and smelled like burnt wires. Took it to the dealership several times only to have them say it is not covered by the warranty or that they cant find a problem. Now at 74000+ miles the transmission has given out. Thank God for the extended warranty. Service engine light comes on and off as it pleases. Had it serviced and the Service Stabilitrak and the Traction Control lights came on. Not worth the money being spent. Save yourself the stress

More power steering woes

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Vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CX 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Our very first American made vehicle. My wife's dream SUV. 73,000 miles she calls me in tears because she is in a parking lot and can't turn the steering wheel and cars are beeping at her and she has a 2 and 4 year old in the car and pregnant with out 3rd child. (the whole reason for getting this vehicle) We have owned it for 8 days... I drive to the store where she is and I can barely turn the wheel! I check the power steering fluid... its fine. Well, to make a long story short. I checked on the internet and found all the other stories about power steering problems and now, $2200 later we have out car back. THIS NEEDS A RECALL!!!

Liked the enclave until transmission

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Vehicle: 2008 Buick Enclave CX 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

My 2008 Enclave recently required a new transmission. This after only 70,000 miles and several other expensive repairs. Until recently when people would ask me how I liked it I responded, 'I like the way it drives but it's expensive to keep running. Now that the transmission failed, costing over $5,000 installed, I tell everyone this will be that last GM vehicle I will own. I will probably go back to a foreign made brand. It's a shame.

Talk About The 2008 Enclave

2008 Buick Enclave Discussions See all Started By

With the last 4 fill ups, the times it takes for the engine to start is getting longer. The range has been 5-15 seconds. At no other time have I had this issue. The check engine light came on around ?...

Those interested in Enclaves should exercise caution. I have a 2008 Enclave with 87,000 miles and is quickly becoming a maintenance nighmare. In the past two months I have had to replace the power ste...

We leave our enclave outside at night, and notice that on several occasions that the front windsheild will freeze up with ice crystals. As a result, we end up scrapping our front windsheild....

Read more about the 2008 Buick Enclave

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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