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: 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: 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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2008 Buick Enclave CX: Plenty of Useful Cargo Space

January 17, 2008



Now that I've put myself out there as a genuine fan of the Enclave, I thought I would take a moment to highlight another well thought out feature. Took it to the grocery store last night and when it came time to load up my bags full of gin, tonic and limes, I discovered this handy underfloor storage bin. Not only did the recessed well keep my precious cargo from rolling around, the lid was sturdy and it stayed up on its own. Seems simple, but I've been in numerous SUVs that didn't even have cargo nets let alone underfloor storage, so this was a nice surprise...

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 9,578

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2008 Buick Enclave: Oregon Trip Wrap-up

January 04, 2008

Wouldn't you just know it? After a 2,000 mile there-and-back-again trip to Oregon in our 2008 Buick Enclave, I get sick just as I'm getting home. Nice. I'd wanted to wrap-up this a few days ago, but better late than never. Here goes:

The Buick seems optimized for those who are not in a hurry and prefer a somewhat relaxed pace. This doesn't mean the Enclave is a clumsy yacht or a rolling couch, because it isn't. The Enclave is coordinated and balanced up to a certain point. If you push harder, it doesn't "lose it", it simply fails to reward the enthusiast driver - not a serious flaw for a family truckster such as this.

Ride: The Buick rides smooth and quiet, just like you'd expect, and it feels well-balanced with one or two aboard and no cargo. But itgoes a bit soft and underdamped in the rear when four plus presents and luggage are present. This seems about right for the comfort-minded, but it leaves me wondering if my personal preference would havebeen better served by the GMC Acadia or Saturn Outlook. I smell a follow-up.

Steering and handling: The Buick has good coordination and feels more agile than any truck-based SUV, but it doesn't respondin kindwhen pushed - it simply starts toshow its weight. Steering accuracy is there, but feedback is not. I didn't like the slick, cold and spindly feel of the wooden segments of the steering wheel, either. Full-leather wrap for me, please.

Cargo and seating: This is a true 3-row vehicle. When we get to my folkshouse, the six of usmake the 25-mile run into town forpizza in whatever I bring. Unlike the Commander I brought two summers ago, everyone had plenty of space. Last year, the Tahoe couldn't make the pizza run at all because I'd had to leave its suitcase-style third seats in my California garage in order to carry as much as the Enclave can withits bigger third seats merely folded into the floor. Still, my folks' 2005 Honda Odyssey minivan holds a lot more in any seating configuration you care to compare.

Engine and transmission: I never lacked for power or torque, but I found the economy-minded transmission reluctant to kick-down. Sure, I could have used the +/- buttons (and I did), but I would have had to do thatoften on the rolling terrain of US 101. C'mon, this is an automatic - a six-speed automatic - and I want to leave it in "D". The manual overridemodeshould serve those who want to use it. One shouldn't have to use itfor miles and miles at a time. Coming home, however, I drovea slower paceand ran afoul of the transmission calibration less often. And I got significantly better...

Fuel Economy: On the trip up, I drove semi-aggressively, swore at the reluctant kickdown, used manual shifting from time to timeand overrode the cruise control often. I achieved an even 20.0 mpg average over 2 tanks and 821 miles. On the way back I used the cruise control religiously, set it at the posted limit, drove my wife nuts ("I want to get HOME"), watched the traffic sail past, felt more at ease with the transmission and achieved 24.3 mpg, a 20% improvement.Over the same two-tank distance I used 7.0 fewer gallons and spent $26.17 less. And yes, that 25.6 mpg best tank turned out to be legit. I actually beat our 2WD Enclave's 16 city / 24 highway EPA ratings.

Enjoying the Buick, then, is all about getting in synch with its personality. Considering the driving habits of the traditional Buick(or Camry/Highlander)buyer, I'd say they'll have many satisfied customers. I don't think I quite fit the mold this CUV came out of, however, and I see room for improvement.If they ever made a Cadillac version of this, for example,with some of the feel of the SRX webrought to Oregon last summer, I'd be right there.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,880 miles

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2008 Buick Enclave: Hauling Nuts

November 19, 2007

As Nut Mom for Girl Scout Brownie Troop 421,I was tasked with picking up the entire troop'sfall fundraiser order from the local Long Beach, Calif. warehouse.

Usually minivans are my first choice for transporting cases of Girl Scout goodies, but since our trusty Kia Sedona left the long-term fleet in July we've been minivan-free, sothis time Iturned to our new 2008 Buick Enclave instead.

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