AutoWeek drives the 2008 Buick Enclave first

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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