By KBB.com Editors
Over the years Buick has earned a reputation as a builder of cars that are long on comfort, if short on excitement. It is a little surprising, then, to encounter the Buick Enclave, a family-friendly eight-passenger crossover SUV that proves Buick can build an exciting vehicle. The Enclave is Buick's entry into the growing luxury SUV category and competes with well-established offerings from Lexus, Acura, BMW and Volvo. With eye-catching exterior styling, a highly usable interior and a remarkably quiet cabin the Buick Enclave has what it takes to be a viable competitor in this hot segment.
If you appreciate the refinement of a luxury car but also need the flexibility of a crossover SUV, we think you'll like the 2008 Buick Enclave. It offers the image of owning a luxury vehicle, yet at a more affordable price than many of its competitors.
You may not like the 2008 Buick Enclave if you plan to venture far from paved roads. All-wheel-drive is offered for the Enclave but it is engineered to enhance traction in the more realistic conditions of wet or snowy roads and is not intended for serious off-roading.
The Buick Enclave shares its basic structure with its siblings the GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook, but is aimed at the more demanding luxury buyer. Buick hopes the Enclave can succeed in the luxury SUV segment where its previous entries have had only marginal success.
Driving Impressions The 2008 Buick Enclave is made to carry up to eight passengers in relaxed comfort and it does so with ease. At the same time it also manages to deliver...engaging, even fun driving dynamics. The steering is light but firms up a bit at speed to give the Enclave a confident feel. The V6 engine provides good if not scorching acceleration and should be up to the task of hauling a full load of cargo or passengers. At cruising speeds Buick's attention to noise reduction pays off with very little wind, road or engine noise intruding into the cabin.
Getting to the rear-most seats in many vehicles can be a hassle. Not so in the Enclave, where the cleverly designed second-row seats, with flip-up cushions and the capability to slide far forward, provide a wide flat space to enter the third-row seating area.
Buick's QuietTuning method of in-vehicle noise reduction may seem like marketing hype, but it has to be experienced to be appreciated. At higher speeds the interior remains delightfully calm and free of the sounds that fatigue occupants on long drives.
The 2008 Buick Enclave's interior features a curvaceous dash design accented by camphor burl wood appliques and chrome trim. High-quality materials, a simple, logical layout and an impressively low level of interior noise make for an extremely inviting cabin. The Enclave is offered in both seven- and eight-passenger versions with slide-and-fold second-row seats that make getting to the third row extremely easy. Cargo space behind the third row is good and, with the second and third rows folded, the Enclave offers a cavernous, flat load area.Exterior
As one of the few vehicles to make it from concept to production without having its exterior styling diluted, the 2008 Buick Enclave offers a bolder appearance than many crossover SUVs. While large enough to accommodate eight passengers, the Enclave's artful body lines give it the look of a much smaller vehicle. The face of the Enclave features a "waterfall" grille, modern-looking portholes above the fenders and intricately detailed almond-shaped head lamps. Adding some flash to its svelte body are standard 18-inch wheels, chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets and chrome roof rails.
There are two trims offered for the 2008 Buick Enclave. The standard equipment list for the base CX trim includes 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power front seats and tri-zone automatic climate control. Stepping up to the CXL adds heated power adjustable front seats, leather seating surfaces and stylish 19-inch aluminum wheels. Standard safety features on all Enclaves include anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front air bags, front-seat-mounted air bags and three-row side curtain airbags that stay inflated longer in the event of a vehicle rollover.
Many of the optional features available for the 2008 Buick Enclave are grouped into packages. Included in the Driver Confidence package are remote vehicle engine start, a heated windshield washer fluid reservoir and rear parking sensors. Available only for the CXL trim is the Luxury Package that adds power folding side mirrors, adaptive headlamps and a power tilting and telescoping steering wheel. Also available are a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a rear-facing camera, eight-passenger seating, a navigation system and a sunroof.
Powering the 2008 Buick Enclave is a strong 3.6-liter V6. It delivers energetic performance and excellent fuel economy with the help of modern technologies like variable valve timing and an electronic throttle. The V6 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A wide spread of gear ratios helps get the most out of the engine while maximizing efficiency. We did, however, notice some delayed reactions from the transmission and the occasional rough shift. An optional all-wheel-drive system is also available which requires no driver intervention and automatically distributes torque between the front and rear wheels.
275 horsepower at 6600 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque at 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 FWD, 16/22 AWD
By MamaBuick on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, smooth ride, plenty of room"
Cons: "No sunroof"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I fell in love with the Buick Enclave the very first time I saw one. When I was in the market for a new car, I did not hesitate and got my very own Enclave. I absolutely love this SUV. It took a little adjusting to in the beginning going from a Expedition to the Enclave. This is an absolutely wonderful vehicle. It is comfortable and has plenty of room. The only complaint I have is that I don't have a sunroof."
By Sir Richard on Friday, July 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable and quiet"
Cons: "Haven't found any"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the quietest and most comfortable car I have driven. The handling is amazing for a heavy car and the third row seat is easy access, plenty of leg room and comfortable. My next car will again be a Buick Enclave"
By mtbsteve on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, quiet, space, beautiful inside and out"
Cons: "Handling could be a bit tighter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Just took delivery of a 2014 Leather AWD w/ sunroof and nav. After some commuting miles around the Boston area and a nice 450+ mile road trip, couldn't be happier. It is quiet, smooth and everything I have liked about former Buicks. I am in my young 30's and love it, easily holds the 2 kids and all their gear. The only downsides are that handling could be slightly crisper and I wish the engine was a little more efficient (see below). With that being said, it is a great cruiser and it puts you at ease while driving and while the mpg rating might be low, I was able to pull down 22.5 and 23 while traveling 70-80 mph on the highway loaded up and with hitting some minor hills in the Berkshires in western MA, easily meeting and beating the 22 mpg on the sticker even while not fully broken in. Extremely happy with the Enclave."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By FamilyHauler5 on Saturday, July 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Highway behavior, quiet cabin, amenities"
Cons: "fuel economy, nav, radio and onboard tech clunky"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is my first GM car in many years. I've been uniformly impressed with reliability, fit and finish, ride quality and amenities. Its a beautiful car and a great way to get a big family from one place to another. Downside is cost of operation (fuel economy) and tech sophistication. Nav and radio could be outsourced and upgraded considerably. Bose speakers are overmatched against the radio, etc. These are both sort of clunky and outdated."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Garner on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth and comfortable drive. Wonderful AC for all"
Cons: "Minimal cargo room in back"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been a blessing to our family of 8. Great for long rides that provide lots of comfort and very low noise. I'm spoiled when I drive other cars because they feel so rough."
11 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Nina23 on Friday, June 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "luxury, comfort, pretty good mpg, and roomy"
Cons: "steering, recalls, rack and pinion problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I thought this would be the car of my dreams...safety, luxury, comfort, remote start, 3rd row seats, DVD system for the kids, cargo room, oh, and did I mention luxury? Yes, it has it all....and it's pretty good looking going down the road too! Until I noticed the unusual "whine" when I turned the steering wheel, and the quiet clunking from the rack and pinion, and the funny pull when turning into parking spaces.... oh, and then the recalls for the seat belts and the air bags.... my dream car has turned into my nightmare :( BUT!, it is very luxurious, comfortable, and gets pretty good gas mileage :)"
14 people out of 23 found this review helpful