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click above image for more high-res pics of the 2008 Buick Enclave

Thinking outside the box a bit, AutoWeek figured that if a customer can drive down to his or her local Buick dealer and purchase a new 2008 Buick Enclave, there's no good reason to wait until GM's embargo on ride evaluations lifts at the end of May before having a go at one themselves. So they visited a local dealer, test drove one and reported the findings for those of us interested in learning about this highly anticipated new Buick ASAP. There was a bit of backlash the last time AutoWeek did this when they reviewed the 2007 Chevy Silverado well ahead of its embargo lifting, but we'll have to wait and see if anyone, including GM, cares much this time. Embargo breaking seems to be the norm these days and the rules are ever-changing. So what did they think of the Enclave?

Follow the jump for the rest of the summary, and make sure you click through the read link for the full write-up.

[Source: AutoWeek]

The first thing everyone notices about the Enclave is that it looks so right. It's stylish and surprisingly young with good panel fitment that speaks to an increased focus on build-quality. But beauty is apparently more than skin deep here, as AutoWeek reports the Enclave exhibits very little body roll or brake dive, has a smooth ride despite the relatively taut handling, and offers responsive steering with good feedback between the road, the controls and the driver. This all-wheel-drive crossover weighs in at almost 4,800 lbs. and made the 275 hp, 3.6L V6 work pretty hard. A six-speed automatic seemingly programmed for economy didn't help. It seemed hesitant to react to enthusiastic inputs, so using the manual shift options were recommended.

AutoWeek says the Buick compares favorably to Lexus RX on noise levels, can't quite match the nimbleness of the Mazda CX-7, but does offer seating for eight PLUS a ton of cargo room. They laud the interior materials and surmise that it is probably going to be the most preferable version of these new Lambda-based GM utes. A better overall package than the Saturn Outlook or GMC Acadia, the Enclave will be seriously cross-shopped with Japanese competitors where it should hold its own, especially at prices that could be as much as several thousand dollars less than a Lexus.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I may have made negative comments about the front, but with this angle, I retract all previous negative comments. I like it. NICE WORK GM.it's good to see bigger, wider Buicks again.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How in the world would it be breaking an embargo if you can purchase and test the car now? I loved the concept and I love the production version. Such a nice looking CUV.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of SUVs, but I have to say: this is one sexy SUV. There aren't many SUVs I can say that about (among the few others are the Audi Q7 and Infiniti FX).

      Nice job, GM.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I never thought I'd say this about much but a Grand National - but "hey, that's a nice Buick"
      • 8 Years Ago
      I sat in a CX-9 when I was waiting at the dealership, and the interior design is very nice - sportier looking than the interior on the Buick, with even panel gaps and fairly nice looking materials. The third row looked really cramped though, and there wasn't much more space beyond the third row than is present in my GTI.

      If the Enclave takes off among the more traditional set, maybe Buick can offer an Enclave GNX? Turn the GNX acronym into a performance suffix like AMG or something... just a thought.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I love it. I'm waiting that Riviera or a Velite, but if I needed that it would be in my driveway.
      • 8 Years Ago

      This is nicer than any Hyundai or Mazda. Although you probably cant concieve of anything american being better than an Asian vehicle you need to examine these vehicles closely. I havent been in the veracruz but it's ugly and too small. The CX-9 is nice but check out the interior plastics before you pronounce it superior to the Enclave. Check out the 3rd row space and luggage space behind the 3rd row as well. Its not in the same league as the Enclave which is why it's cheaper.

      I'm 28 and I would drive an Enclave if I could afford one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't understand why GM sets press embargo dates months after the car goes on sale. It may sound like they have something to hide and don't want customers reading reviews before making a purchase but so far they've done it for two great vehicles; the enclave and the silverado... I just don't get it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey I am 28 and this appeals to me! Nicest Buick ever in my opinion.
      • 8 Years Ago
      All Buick (GM) needs to do is drop in a 5.3 with DOD, and the power issue will be solved.
      So far from the pics the SUV looks great.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why on earth did they reference the CX-7 for handling when the Enclave obviously competes in an entirely different class? Hasn't AutoWeek driven a CX-9 or the new MDX? These are just two examples of vehicles similar in size, accommodations, and price, yet considered good handlers for their class.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't know about a "ton" of cargo room... still looks pretty shallow when all three rows are up. Maybe it's enough for the target market on this vehicle, but Autoblog needs a better description. When I think of a "ton" of cargo room, I think of an Expedition or 8-pass Chevy Express :)
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