What Changed for 2008:
- The Buick Enclave is an all-new model, and the brand's largest crossover utility to date
- Standard seating for 7, with optional seating for 8
- Replaces the Rendezvous and Rainier in Buick's lineup and becomes the division's only SUV model
- Mechanically similar to the GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook, but with different styling
- 3.6-liter V-6 engine
- 6-speed automatic transmission
- Choice of front- or all-wheel drive
- Standard power tailgate
- Specially tuned for a quiet ride
- Optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system
The Enclave is an all-new model, and is Buick's latest effort to enhance the brand's perception among consumers and appeal to a younger, more mainstream audience. While the styling of Buick's previous utility models, the Rendezvous and the Rainier (both discontinued for 2008), basically involved putting a Buick \"face\" on existing General Motors products, the Enclave goes all-out with a nose-to-tail styling makeover that differentiates it from the mechanically similar GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook. More luxurious features and Buick's \"QuietTuning\" (see explanation below) further differentiate the Enclave from competitors. Under the skin, the Enclave shares GM's new crossover SUV architecture, including V-6 power, available seating for 8, and an emphasis on easy access to the second and third seating rows.
The Buick Enclave is available in CX or CXL trim levels, both with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Standard equipment on the Enclave CX includes tri-zone climate control; stereo with an MP3-capable CD player and XM satellite radio; 18-inch alloy wheels; power-operated tailgate; 6-way power driver seat; power fore-aft adjustment for the front passenger seat; OnStar hands-free communication; auto-dimming rear-view mirror; remote keyless entry; Xenon headlights; and cloth seats. On the options list, amenities include seating for 8 passengers; GPS navigation system; rear-seat DVD player; sunroof; remote vehicle starter; rear parking assist; and a towing package that increases the Enclave's towing capacity to 4500 pounds.
The Enclave CXL also includes options for leather seats; 19-inch wheels; 8-way power driver seat and 4-way power front passenger seat (both heated); and a memory function for the seats, mirrors and (optional) tilt/telescoping steering column. Other options are similar to the CX, with the addition of a Luxury package that includes power-folding side-view mirrors (auto-dimming on the driver's side); headlights that turn with the steering wheel; power tilt and telescoping steering wheel; and a power inverter with a 110-volt outlet.
The Buick Enclave is powered by GM's 3.6-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing. Power output is 275 hp at 6600 rpm and 251 lb.-ft. of torque at 3200 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and buyers can choose front- or all-wheel drive. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Enclave are 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models, and 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway for models equipped with all-wheel drive. The Enclave's 4-wheel independent suspension is tuned for a quiet, comfortable ride with car-like response.
The 2008 Buick Enclave comes with a comprehensive list of standard safety equipment: front air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags and three-row side curtain air bags; 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes; traction control; and electronic stability control. The 2008 Enclave received perfect 5-star ratings in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) front- and side-impact crash tests. NHTSA subjected both front- and all-wheel-drive versions to its rollover tests, and both earned 4 of 5 stars, putting both versions of the Enclave among the better-performing models in the segment.
Along with its styling, the Enclave's quiet ride is among its most-touted features. Buick employs what it calls \"QuietTuning,\" which includes specially laminated windshield glass, triple door seals, and special attention to the hardware components that can generate wind or road noise: the tires, side mirrors and windshield wipers. Another interesting aspect of the Enclave is the easy access it provides for rear-seat passengers. The rear axle is located behind the second-row seat rather than under it, allowing the rear doors to have a straight trailing edge, which in turn provides plenty of room for entry and exit. The second-row seats employ GM's SmartSlide feature-tugging on a single lever raises the bottom cushion and moves the seat forward, allowing easier access to the third row.