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 Spence on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, pretty car"
Cons: "poor gas mileage, lousy GPS"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Very unhappy with the GPS not user friendly Garman much better!! Also the icons for the instrument panel again not user friendly for older people. The ride is great, leg room and general comfort excellent. Mileage poor. Have had 3 prior Buicks this not my favorite"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Queen1952 on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great drive, roomy, stylish, comfortable ride."
Cons: "Needs more cushion or plushness in the seats."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this SUV for over three years. I have been pleased with every aspect of this vehicle. It is one of the most comfortable SUV's for long or short road trips. The ride is fantastic. The only imporvement that I would make is the cushioning on the front seats. I would like to see it a little more plush, like the GMC Envoy front seats. It is very responsive while driving it. It is roomy and the storage area is more than adequate."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By GD55 on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very comfortable to drive especially on long trips"
Cons: "Tailgate height not adjustable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My wife and I found the car to be very comfortable especially on long trips. We've never had a problem with it. Only thing is we wish we had rear view camera. Our next car will be an enclave & will have the camera."
12 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By mm3545 on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stylish, pleasure to drive, comfortable."
Cons: "Poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I did lots of research before purchasing my 2012 Enclave. I chose it because it was a Buick, it was well engineered, it had excellent leg room for my husband and it could tow and be towed by our motorhome. I have not had issues except the bluetooth and several recalls. I am disappointed that I only get 16 mpg most of the time unless we are on a trip with lots of highway driving. It is very comfortable, has all the bells and whistles and can carry 7 passengers. It has lots of cargo space, especially with the center seats down. It has excellent power, expecially when accelerating, and never knew it was towing a trailer. The only down side I find is the ride. It's very rough over bumps and it definitely doesn't have the ride of my 1955 or 1976 Buicks or my 1993 Lincoln Towncar that my Enclave replaced. I keep a car twenty years and I expect to keep this one that long too."
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By Danny on Monday, August 04, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, comfort"
Cons: "price of a fill up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I traded in my 2012 Verano for the 2013 Enclave. I did so because I was driving across country and needed the larger space. I filled up the Enclave almost to the ceiling, had 2 dogs, and 2 adults. This car drove like a luxury care being loaded down with all this stuff. It drove flawlessly and the v-6 engine always gave me the power I needed. The extra cargo did not cause any slow down or cause any power or performance let downs. I love the styling and I have almost every option you can have. The warning side mirrors are a life saver. My only complaints are there is no front camera warning systewm (now available on the 2014) and the cost at the gas pump. At last fill up it was $80 to fill up. It is luxurious and it drives amazingly. It is just a bit steep at the gas pump/"
24 people out of 39 found this review helpful
By chasnev on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, quiet, gas mileage"
Cons: "dashboard paint"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had three Enclaves. I drive them all over the country. First one had almost 90K miles. The ride is unsurpassed. The overall efficiency is very good. The space to haul things on long trip is great."
12 people out of 17 found this review helpful