Buick Enclave yields responsive, civilized ride
THE RIDE: Four-door, up to eight-passenger 2008 Buick Enclave luxury crossover SUV. DOWN THE ROAD: Based on the GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook SUVs, this all-new vehicle from Buick already is in huge demand at dealerships nationwide. Available in four trims, the front-wheel-drive Enclave keeps road and engine noise to a minimum, thanks to a Quiet Tuning system. The result is a responsive and civilized ride. TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 3.6-liter V-6 engine puts out 275 horsepower at 6600 rpm and 251 pounds-feet of torque at 3200 rpm to propel the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in just 8.2 seconds. Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Enclave gets a fully independent front and rear suspension, enabling it to exhibit good overall cornering balance and self-assuring stability. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering makes it easy to maneuver the Enclave through rush-hour traffic or cruise the highway. Behind the 18-inch aluminum wheels hide 12.8-and 13-inch ventilated brake rotors in front and rear, respectively. LOOK & FEEL: A bold waterfall black chrome grille with a centered Buick tri-shield emblem and vertical portholes graces the front fascia. Also eye-catching are xenon HID headlights with a blue ring, three-dimensional tail lamp housings and dual exhaust pipes with chrome tips. The roomy cabin is pleasing enough with excellent fit and finish materials. Fine leather and real mahogany wood share space on the four-spoke leather steering wheel, door panel and shifter knob. A second-row Smart Slide seat moves fore and aft to make space for tall passengers. A third-row split bench seat can accommodate three passengers quite comfortably. Covered storage areas are abundant, not just above the dashboard but also under the cargo floor. An analog clock looks tasteful between two air-conditioning vents.SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain for all rows, four-wheel antilock brakes and traction control, GM's StabiliTrak system, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and remote keyless entry are standard. OUT THE DOOR: $32,055, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. The Entertainment Package 2 will fetch you a DVD system and audio controls for rear-seat passengers and Bose speakers. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 255/65R18; wheelbase, 118.9 inches; length, 201.8 inches; weight, 4,985 pounds; fuel capacity, 22 gallons; highway, 24 mpg; city, 16 mpg. WHY DIG IT: If you are looking to buy a luxury crossover SUV, check out the Buick Enclave. Base-priced at $32,055, the vehicle is a pleasing blend of people-hauling practicality, decent performance and numerous creature comforts. Plus, it earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for frontal and side crash tests.
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.
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