Buick’s Enclave Converts the Heathens, One at a Time

January 6, 2008

GM’s big crossover triplets each have their flair--but when it comes to my favorite, I jumped on the GMC Acadia bandwagon before even driving the rest of the trio. Saturn’s Outlook? Fine for you, but I like something with a sharper, more traditional SUV look. Call me a heretic.

But what about Buick’s Enclave? Maybe it was the dance of the seven veils that GM used to introduce it at the Detroit auto show that turned me off initially. Or maybe it was the body-color C-pillar that separates the rear door windows from the rear quarter windows. For whatever reason, I listened to everyone else tell me the Enclave was the sweetest of the three and I waved them off.

Now after a couple of days in an Enclave fully stoked with GM’s navigation system, XM, a rear-seat DVD system and a rearview camera, I’m starting to come around. The Enclave’s pretty gorgeous in the flesh--even more so in the cocoa-brown and tan leather combination of my test vehicle. The seats are big and supportive, the V-6 has plenty of ripe-sounding power to send to all four wheels (mine’s an all-wheel-drive version), and it’s fully able to indulge your shopping bipolarity, since it can swallow a 20-inch and a 42-inch LCD TV at the same time without having to fold down the second-row seats. (Even post-Christmas, I’m doing my part for the greater economic good.)

I wasn’t quite prepared for the Enclave’s dimensions--I never noticed it in the other crossover triplets, but the Enclave feels every bit as large as it is, and it can be a trick to park--but the detailing, especially across the dash, notches it above Lincoln’s fine MKX.

It’s always worth a second look at a new vehicle, and in this case, it’s changed my tune.

Need more hot Buick road-test action? Ride with us here, or take a spin in the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia

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