2008 Buick Enclave Long Term Road Test

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2008 Buick Enclave: Helping Me Move

September 16, 2008

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I'm currently in the middle of a move (fun!) so was semi-pleased when my choices for a car for the night were between our 2008 Buick Enclave, the Rondooo and the Smart. I wish we still had our trucks. Why O why did they have to go away at the same time? Anyway, the Enclave didn't let me down.Â

I was only going to fill up the SUV as much as I could since I was doing this by myself and I think the Buick, and I, did pretty well. Look at all those boxes in there. I even folded down the second-row seats and moved them out of the way so that I could put more boxes on the floor.

They were all very easy to unload, too. Not too high up.

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2008 Buick Enclave: All Things to Most People

September 15, 2008

buick-enclave-555.jpg In less than one week we'll be saying goodbye to our long-term Buick Enclave.

Surely I won't be the only one who'll miss the Enclave's inherent versatility, so eager to carry five kids and new Pottery Barn dining room chairs in the same weekend.

Despite anever-ending supply of test cars rolling through our garage, it's always hard to let a good one go.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 23,952 miles

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2008 Buick Enclave: Reunion Stand-in

September 08, 2008

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You may recall my earlier post in which I ruminated over which long-term vehicle I would take to my high school reunion. Nissan GT-R? Audi R8? Cadillac CTS? Pontiac G8? Benz C300?

Would you believe, the 2008 Buick Enclave CX? I know, I know. I can hardly believe it myself. Ever since I graduated I've dreamed of rolling up to the valet at my high school reunion in a fine Buick SUV. Haven't we all? And now my wife and I have lived that dream.

Actually, it went like this: The 2009 Nissan GT-R was (and is) broken and waiting for fuel system parts, so the Audi R8 was my backup plan. But a last minute testing schedule change Friday afternoon left me 120 miles north of the office (and the Audi) in a Ford Flex. Another editor who lives near me needed the Flex for the weekend for a story he was working on. I was the logical choice to trade vehicles with him, and he happened to be rockin' the Enclave.

So my wife and I stepped-out, in fine style, from a minivan-esque SUV. That's about where we are in life anyway, so perhaps karma had something to say about the whole thing.

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2008 Buick Enclave: Labor Day Trip

September 02, 2008

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I put about 600 highway miles on our Enclave over the Labor Day weekend. There were
no surprises -- the Buick was enjoyable for the entire trip. Given that the Enclave has almost 23,000 miles on it, I kept an ear out for squeaks and rattles. I heard only one intermittent rattle coming from the lower part of the center stack.

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2008 Buick Enclave: Back Again

August 25, 2008

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Ever take a break from a car and come back to it only to find that it's not quite how you remember it? That was me last week when I took the keys to our Buick Enclave. I had last driven it six months ago. When pulling out of the Edmunds parking garage, the Buick seemed like a big bowl of mush, with a squishy brake pedal, a wallowing ride and vague steering. I didn't remember it being this bad.

Then again, I had been driving our Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution around for two weeks prior to the Buick. My perspective had been skewed.

Now that I have acclimated to the Enclave (again), we're best friends.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 22,337 miles

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2008 Buick Enclave: 22,000 miles and Ticking

August 12, 2008

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Last night I pulled in my driveway after a pleasant drive home and watched the odometer on our long-term 2008 Buick Enclave click exactly 22,000 miles. Brought a tear to my eye. Not really, but I thought I'd give the haters out there something to comment on.

Anyway, the power steering problem, which as been the truck's only reliability hiccup, is fixed and everything on the vehicle seems to feel as new. Brakes, suspension, engine, transmission? It all feels good. Even the SUV's tires still look new.

And we're not finished yet. We've only had the Enclave since November first, which means there's still three full months left on this 12 month test. We'll keep you posted, meanwhile I'll continue my quest to acclimate to the Buick's fuzzy cloth seats. Who the hell ordered this thing without leather anyway?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 22,008 miles

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2008 Buick Enclave CX: Power Steering Repair Redux

August 04, 2008

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Thursday July 24th I brought our Long-Term Buick Enclave back to Santa Monica Auto group to address the continued problems we've been having with the power steering. Late afternoon on Wednesday June 30, our Enclave was fixed and back in our hands.

The wait was expected, Santa Monica Buick called us late Friday to let us know that the problem had been diagnosed and that new parts had to be ordered. Parts included a new power steering pump, a new steering rack, and new hoses. The parts, they said, would be in on Tuesday and the job should be finished Wednesday. A rental car was offered but declined.

In a past life Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds (no relation) developed steering systems for a major manufacturer and, upon road testing the vehicle, said that when the first pump failed it had probably contaminated the fluid with pump-parts that were now lodged in the rack. Turns out he was correct, that was the exact diagnosis that GM came up with and remedied.

After the fix we were contacted by GM to discuss the situation. They let us know that replacing the pump first is standard operating procedure as contamination is not a guarantee. The dealership, however, should have road-tested the vehicle further, found the flaw, and replaced the rack on the first visit. None of this should ever have hit the consumer. They also made it very clear that errant dust from our dirt road trip had nothing to do with the pump's failure, though the high-rpm churning required to not get stuck may have exacerbated the issue. Bear in mind that the same amount of wheelspin and engine use will be required by every driver to keep momentum up in the snow-belt.

All-in-all it was a fine visit with a good amount of communication and information from the dealer level. And the best part is, the Buick is back and it feels just as solid as it did before.

Days out of service: 6

Cost: 0.00

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 21,638 miles.

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2008 Buick Enclave CX: Back to the dealer

July 24, 2008

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This morning I dropped the Buick Enclave back at Santa Monica Chevrolet Buick to fix the ailing power steering that's kept the big Buick sidelined for the past few days.

They said they'd have an idea of the problem by this afternoon. We'll keep you posted when we get any news.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 21,200 miles.

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2008 Buick Enclave: Dirt. Power Steering Failure. Coincidence?

July 23, 2008

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The power steering problems we've been having with our long term 2008 Buick Enclave have been well documented in this blog, but you still don't know the whole story. What we haven't told you is that the power steering trouble started soon after this little off road excurstion.

Now I'm not sure the two are definitely related, and we have no way of knowing if they are for sure, but it wasn't long (a week or two) after we drove the SUV through this silty dirt for several hours that the power steering got funky.

I'll also admit that the front-wheel drive Enclave isn't really geared up for such terrain. Although it never got stuck, it did struggle through some of the deeper sections. And it was clear and no surprise to its passengers that the Enclave wanted back on the highway as soon as possible.

Still, it isour job is to test a vehicle, and any SUV should be able to drive though some dirt without having major systems failure soon after. Again, I'm not saying this off road adventure (for sure) caused our power steering failure, but the timing is suspect.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2008 Buick Enclave: Seating Options and an Oil Change

July 08, 2008

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For some reason, my six year old son insists on riding in the third row of seats even when he's the only passenger. Thanks to seats that quickly and easily fold and slide I can accommodate his odd request. The rest of the car ride is spent with me saying "I can't hear you buddy, you've got to talk louder."

The Enclave was also due for an oil change so I took it to Cerritos Buick, GMC, Hummer in Cerritos, CA. Total cost for the oil and filter change plus an inspection - $65.41. We declined the dealer recommended service items which would have put the bill closer to $200. I don't like the "Dealer Recommended" service sales tactic, it bothers me.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 20,775 miles.

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