2008 Buick Enclave CXL Review

Good looks and performance from entry-level crossover

2008 Buick Enclave CXL Review

During the holiday season last year, I was given the keys to an all-new 2008 Buick Enclave CXL AWD. While I felt a bit like Santa Claus driving around town in this shiny red SUV, me and mine really enjoyed experiencing the affordable luxury it offered.



Only offered with a 275 hp V6 engine.


Impressive exterior and interior build quality and design, typical of GM’s new models.


Both base CX and premium CXL models offered with optional AWD.


Motivated by a 3.6-litre DOHC V6 that transmits 275 hp and 251 ft-lbs of torque to its all-wheel-drive system through a six-speed Hydra-Matic (6T75) automatic transmission with overdrive, the Enclave is a huge bargain in the luxury crossover utility category.


The Enclave comes in two basic trims – CX and CXL – with a choice between FWD or AWD, the latter of which basically adds a couple grand to the base. The CX boasts a long list of standard features, including premium cloth seating for seven, power windows, locks and heated side mirrors, keyless remote entry, cruise control with steering wheel controls, fog lights, remote trunk release and dual-zone front automatic climate controls.

The driver gets eight-way adjustable seats (six-way power) while the passenger seat includes four-way (two-way power) adjustments. You also get a six-speaker AM/FM/ satellite radio with CD and MP3 capabilities as well as OnStar which includes one year of the Safe & Sound plan. Second row captain’s chairs with a 60/40 split-folding third row bench are standard. A second row bench option allows eight to sit comfortably.

The CXL gives you everything the CX model does, plus leather upholstery on the first two rows (third row is vinyl), heated, fully electric adjustable front seats, a 10-speaker AM/FM/satellite radio with six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capabilities, heated windshield washer fluid system, ultrasonic rear parking assist, retractable rear cargo shade and convenience net, plus a 110-volt AC power outlet. The CXL also gets larger 19-inch wheels. Safety features on both include StabiliTrak vehicle stability control with rollover protection, four-wheel ABS disc brakes, a theft deterrent system and six airbags including first, second and third row side-curtain airbags.

While I wasn’t able to fill all seven seats the Enclave offered, holiday errands and Christmas shopping runs saw me put close to 125 miles on it around town. On Christmas day, my wife and I, along with my sister and our dog, ventured out on a 340-mile road trip to visit family out in the boonies, where I managed to get 21 mpg with 85-90 percent highway driving. Impressive!


I have very few complaints. Of course, the CXL test mule was outfitted with a few options that made it all the more enjoyable. Amongst all the gear and gifts we could throw inside, our Labrador Retriever had more than enough space in the third row, while my sister was enjoying Nacho Libre on the DVD entertainment and navigation upgrade from her own captain’s chair. The system includes a rear overhead LCD monitor with wireless headphones, component A/V jacks and a remote control to manage it all from the main AM/FM/CD/DVD/XM touchscreen vehicle interface located up on the dash. A rear passenger 110-volt outlet eliminates the need to buy a separate power inverter to plug in your electronics. With all the commotion in the rear of the vehicle, the wife and I hardly noticed as we listened to XM satellite radio the whole time.

Buick has engineered the Enclave to be amongst the quietest CUVs in the market and it really shows. Road, wind and engine noise are practically non-existent thanks to a 360-degree “QuietTuning” approach to the problem. The end result is a quiet, comfortable, feature-packed cabin bolstered by excellent workmanship and high-quality materials like leather seats and armrests, wood and metal trim and soft touch vinyl dash.

Nestled within the instrument cluster is a handy trip computer/vehicle information display that details things like your average speed, fuel economy, fuel used, range, tire pressure levels and more.


The front suspension is an independent coil-over setup while in the rear it’s an independent multi-link arrangement that holds the line in corners without too much body roll. Steering is accurate and power delivery smooth from bottom to top.

At 4,984 lbs and with a 119-inch wheelbase, I expected the Enclave to be a bit sluggish and imprecise. But that’s simply not the case. The Buick is a joy to drive, with ample power, light steering, confident suspension, excellent visibility and decent fuel economy. The EPA rates the latest versions offer 16/22 (city/highway) mpg.

PLUS Luxury crossover Bargain Surprisingly good driving dynamics Stand-out-in-a-crowd good looks

MINUS Significant curb weight Less than stellar acceleration Poor braking distance


The Enclave goes from zero to 60 mph in just under 10 seconds and it accelerates from 50-75 mph to pass in 8.5 seconds. Braking isn’t great either as stopping from 60 mph takes 178 feet. Overall, the Enclave performs well with respectable fuel economy figures. It’s priced very reasonably and offers a high level of perceived luxury. No matter what age bracket you’re in, if you’re looking for an entry-level luxury crossover that performs as good as it looks, it would be silly to overlook the Enclave.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked