Click image above for high resolution gallery When the Buick Enclave concept hit the Detroit Auto Show in 2006, the roomy CUV was very well received, but past experiences left both the media and public skeptical. Many felt that the stunning looks and luxury amenities of the Enclave would never make it to the dealer lot, and in the end there would be a lot of compromises made to keep costs down. As it turns out, the General pulled a fast one, and the exterior and much of the interior of the classy concept hit production intact. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz kept saying that Buick could compete with Lexus in terms of quality and refinement, and the Enclave shows that blogger Bob isn't just blowing smoke. We've been eagerly awaiting a crack at the Enclave in the Autoblog garage, and now we've finally got our chance. Read on for our impressions from our week-long test. %Gallery-5619% click any image to view high-res On the road, the Enclave has a commanding presence. Buick's CUV is Tahoe-like in both width and length, and the Enclave's monstrous chrome grille looms large in many a rear-view mirror. While the Enclave shares its underpinnings with both the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia, the Buick gets by far the most distinctive sheetmetal. Elegant, flowing lines are accented with tasteful chrome trim on the bodywork and around the headlights and taillights. The aforementioned grille and optional 19" wheels get an extra helping of the stuff, and give the Escalade a run for its money in the bling department. The size of the tires on the Enclave are massive, even when compared with other CUVs and even some larger pickups. Few large vehicles we've driven have garnered more positive comments than the Enclave, and one passer-by actually asked if he could sit in the back seat to test out the captain's chairs. Once inside, the appreciation of the large CUV grows. The driver's seat is so roomy, it took us a couple days to get used to our newfound freedom. Comfortable and supportive, the front seats provided ample cushioning for a long trip up north. Thanks to its lower ride height, getting in and out of the Enclave is a bit easier than in most truck-based SUVs. The steering wheel on our CXL (the L stands for leather) mixed thick leather with wood, and large, easy-to-use redundant controls were well-placed and easily accessible. The only problem we had with the controls was that we hit the tuner button on three separate occasions when making large turns, which changed the channel on the radio. The gauge cluster was bright and legible, and contained a readout for everything we could ever need. The backlighting looked very classy at night, with the analog clock, radio read-out, steering controls, and gauge cluster all sharing the same crisp blue hue. The center armrest has a small storage area for receipts, pens, or change, and a much larger compartment below can store anything …
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