2008 Buick Enclave SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Buick Enclave SUV

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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 Yes

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (101 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Buyer beware, extremely unhappy customeră‚â…

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

I am joining this discussion, as we are also having an issue with our 2008 Buick Enclave. We need a new transmission. We have a 3/5/R wave plate fracture. It appears that this is a very common issue with the 2008 Buick Enclave, yet GM does not see a need to do a recall. I see unsatisfied Enclave consumers, on these forums, that are having issues with their transmission. We brought it to the service department, expecting it was still under warranty. To our surprise it was not, due to the in service date of the vehicle. Due to this date, we had missed the warranty coverage by six months. The service department quoted us $4900 to replace the transmission. We had a friend recommend calling GM direct and see if they had any cost assistance they could offer, let our frustration continue. I would like to cover the pain in detail, but there is not enough time. Basically after countless phone calls and two and half weeks later, I was told that they would not offer any help and per our case rep 70,000 miles for a vehicle, was a lot of miles. Imagine my shock that you could by a $50,000 vehicle and only expect to get 70,000 miles out of it. The woman who handled my case was rude and even suggested that maybe I should have bought a different brand vehicle. I did not expect GM to absorb the full cost, but I was hoping they would split the cost of the repair. I have owned GM vehicles for over ten years and after this experience, I am not sure I will ever buy or recommend another GM product. Any thoughts or help out there, I am open to suggestions.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

So far so good...

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

well dispite all the horror stories I read about a few major issues, I decided to take the plunge and buy a very well equipped 2008 CXL (everything but the folding mirrors, 110volt outlet and articulating headlights). It was a 1 owner car that was dealer maintained and I had access to all the service records. It seems the original owner had already addressed the steering (full replacement) and strut issue, and at 80,000 miles it runs tighter and quieter than the Mercedes M Class it replaced. Also I got an excellent price for the car well below book value. I did purchase a 3/36,000 extended warranty through my credit union which covers all major component, so if that wave plate goes...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

So sad this is happening

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

Mar 2011 power steering whine and locking up repaired under warrenty. Nov 2011 check engine light on, replaced solenoid under warrenty. Feb 2012 check engine light on, service stabilitrack, service traction control, traction control goes on and off, engine loses power, replaced throttle body covered under warrenty. Jan 2013 check engine light, service stabilitrak, service traction control, traction control goes on and off. No longer under warrenty repair is to replace valve cover and seal as the original is a flawed design and has been re-designed. Cost near $1000.00. GM takes NO responsiblity and no recall as not a "safety" issue. No but it is a flaw GM is well aware of!!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Nice car, but one big

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

There is a part in the transmission known as the 3-5-R clutch wave plate, or just the 'wave plate'. It has been discussed in depth on many forums for those of us that own an earlier GM, Lambda-designed based vehicle. Outlook, Acadia, Enclave, Traverse; not all model years are affected. The wave plate has an exceptionally high rate of failure, and we've speculated the possibly of reverse installation (it's a large toothed ring). They're covered under warranty up until 100,000 miles or 5 years. After that, you get to pay the $3000.00 (or more) bill yourself. So far, GM has refused to acknowledge the problem, but we're still trying to get them to do something about it. BEWARE OF THIS ISSUE!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Aging enclave

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

We've had the car now for 4 years with less than 40,000 miles and have run into a few snags - all covered by warranty. 1. Both retractable mirrors stopped working. 2. Battery went dead warranty covered replacement. 3. The vehicle one day left me dead in a parking lot and would not jump start. Both ONStar, & car phone wouldn't work but other electrical did. It had to be towed to dealer they stated anti-theft system locked up and "only" dealer could reset. This is a worry if I had been out camping in remote location. 4. GPS NAV system disk error - had to replace entire radio system. 5. Water pump failed - had to pull off road and call for tow.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Stay away from the 2008

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

In '08 models of the GM vehicles sharing the "Lambda" platform including Enclave, Traverse and Acadia, GM built the V-6 using a defective timing chain. These chains are prone to stretching which throws a trouble code 1st or causes major engine damage. GM/Buick's solution is to re-program the on-board oil life monitor to advise owners to change oil more frequently which will not fix anything. If the vehicle is still under warranty when the chains stretch, they will be replaced with completely different part numbers. If not under warranty you are screwed for about a $4-$5K repair. GM refuses to do a recall and there should be a class action pn this issue. Cargo door latch, steering squeaks

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

Talk About The 2008 Enclave

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Gas Mileage


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