2009 Buick Enclave Performance

7.0
Performance

The smooth-riding, nice-handling 2009 Buick Enclave leaves reviewers wanting more from its engine.

The 2009 Buick Enclave features a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine producing 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The direct-injection engine runs on regular unleaded gasoline, and 90 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available from 2,500 rpm to more than 6,000 rpm. The Enclave takes eight seconds to get from 0-60 mph, according to The Auto Channel, which they consider "more than adequate in most circumstances." BusinessWeek disagrees: “The Enclave is a lot slower than the Japanese and German rivals, too…I tried a number of times and didn't come close to matching that time.” Cars.com says that the Buick Enclave's engine "won't be mistaken for the kind of V-8 engine that has historically powered large SUVs," but will do the job when called upon.

While power and fuel economy are unremarkable, the 2009 Buick Enclave handles pretty well.

The V-6 is mated to the Hydra-Matic 6T75 electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission with clutch-to-clutch shift operation and automatic grade braking. Cars.com, ConsumerGuide, and Edmunds all report that the six-speed transmission, while "smooth shifting," is "more active than it needs to be" and has a strong tendency to upshift more than necessary. Motor Trend complains that the heavy crossover “makes the six-speed labor hard to launch you out of tight turns, up hilly roads, or onto busy freeways.”

The 2009 Buick Enclave comes in either front- or all-wheel drive, but the difference in fuel consumption is marginal, and fuel-economy ratings seem to be a bit optimistic, as TheCarConnection.com’s editors also observe. The AWD version gets slightly lower mileage on the highway, according to Cars.com, at 22 mpg, but the city figures for both models—as well as the overall average, according to Edmunds—is around 16 mpg.

Like most Buicks, the Enclave is a smooth operator when in motion at freeway speeds. According to Motor Trend, “The Enclave's ride is isolated, comfortable but with moderate roll.” The Enclave handles well “for a large, comfortable crossover utility.” However, they dislike the lack of steering feel, and “poor feedback, especially on-center.”

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