2009 Enclave New Car Test Drive
The 2009 Buick Enclave is a luxury crossover sport utility vehicle that seats seven or eight, offers big cargo space, and gets good fuel economy and performance from a modern V6 engine. As a large midsize crossover, it offers the space of a truck-based SUV yet it is built using car-like unibody construction.
Buick Enclave shares its basic platform with the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia, and Chevy Traverse, but it's as different from each of them as chalk is from cheese. Enclave is aimed at the upper end of the crossover segment, with competitors like the Acura MDX, Lexus RX 350 and Mercedes-Benz R 350. Enclave's styling is completely different from its siblings.
But what really sets the Enclave apart is its modern cabin, with stylish illumination, crisp graphics, genuine wood trim and nice leather. The seats are comfortable, and it can be ordered with a second-row bench seat or luxurious captain's chairs, depending on whether seven- or eight-passenger capacity is needed. There's lots of convenient cubby storage and the Enclave offers 115 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats folded down.
Equipped with GM's high-feature 3.6-liter V6, the Enclave offers good acceleration performance while earning an EPA-estimated 16/22 City/Highway mpg (with all-wheel drive) under the more stringent new test procedures. Enclave is rated to tow up to 4500 pounds. Smooth and practical, we think it may be the best vehicle Buick has ever built, though there are some fine vintage models we certainly wouldn't mind having.
The Enclave was introduced for the 2008 model year. For 2009, Enclave gets a more powerful engine and various equipment upgrades. The 3.6-liter V6 engine adds direct-injection, upping horsepower from 275 to 288 and torque from 251 to 270 pound-feet. New features for 2009 include a standard Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, real-time traffic information for the available navigation system, available heated and cooled front seats, and a 110-volt power outlet that comes with all entertainment packages. A rear-view camera that projects its image on the rearview mirror is also new.
The 2009 Buick Enclave is offered in CX and CXL models, each with front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Both come with the high-feature 3.6-liter 24-valve V6 with variable valve timing. At this stage, no hybrid, diesel, or V8 version is on the horizon.
Enclave CX ($35,070) and CX AWD ($37,070) come standard with cloth upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, 6-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, 2-way power front passenger seats, second-row captain's chairs, split-folding third-row seat, OnStar assistance, power windows, power locks, power heated mirrors with turn signals, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD stereo with XM satellite radio and an auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass, outside temperature indicator, power liftgate, automatic bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, roof rails, and P255/65R18 tires on alloy wheels.
The CXL ($37,380) and CXL AWD ($39,380) add to the CX leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8-way power driver's seat, a 4-way power front passenger seat, memory for the driver's seat and mirrors, and P255/60R19 tires.
Options are many, including a range of four entertainment packages that build upon one another: Package 1 ($860) includes 10 Bose speakers, rear audio controls and a 110-volt power outlet; Package 2 ($2155) adds a rear DVD entertainment system; Package 3 ($2750) adds a touch-screen navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic information, as well as a rear backup camera; and Package 4 ($4045) gets a Bose surround sound system. The Luxury package ($750) includes power folding exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming driver's side mirror, steering-linked headlamps, and a power tilt/telescoping steering column; the Driver Confidence package ($920) includes remote engine starting, ultrasonic rear parking assist, and heated washer fluid. Other options include chromed aluminum 19-inch wheels ($1495), a second-row center console ($300), heated and cooled front seats ($650), a power sunroof with a second-row skylight ($1400), the Panasonic DVD rear-entertainment system with dual screens ($2010), a trailer towing package ($500 CX, $425 CXL), and a rear cargo cover ($130). A second-row, three-passenger bench seat is a $495 credit.
Safety features that come standard include dual front airbags, front side airbags, curtain side airbags with rollover deployment, OnStar emergency communications (with turn-by-turn navigation), tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. Enclave is rated as a five-star front-crash, five-star side-crash and four-star rollover safety vehicle by the federal government.