2008 Buick Enclave

Mark Gillies
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The Enclave is one of three crossovers that GM is building off the same so-called Lambda platform--this, the GMC Acadia, and the Saturn Outlook. The Buick is the most interesting of the three, with elegant lines and a gorgeous interior, whereas the Saturn and GMC are a little dull to look at, we're told. The Enclave even has portholes in the hood, but they look good here, as opposed to the dorky ones on the current Buick sedans.

The Buick is front- or all-wheel-drive, and power comes from a 270-hp 3.6-liter DOHC V-6, although there will be V-8 option. The GM triplets are larger than most crossovers so they can accommodate a real third-row seat.

The Enclave actually looks smaller than it is--at 202.3 inches long, with a 119-inch wheelbase, it is similar in size to the monstrous Mercedes R-class. We suspect that the V-6 will be hard pressed to motivate it in any kind of hurry.

The car shown at the 2006 Detroit show had a typically overdone "concept" interior, with enough TV screens to satisfy the most ADD family. Plus, we reckon the lovely brushed aluminum trim and leather covered dashboard won't make it into production. But the basic interior layout is the real deal, down to the three rows of captain's chairs (a seven-passenger model also will be available). The exterior design--including the huge panorama sunroof--is also nearly identical to that of the production car. The show car's 21-inch wheels look great, although they might be toned down when the car goes into full production.

Now the production version of the Enclave concept, which we expect in early 2007. General Motors must feel bad for saddling Buick with the gawky, big-butt Rendezvous--why else would they give the geriatric brand the most attractive example of its new crossovers? (The Enclave's siblings, the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia, will go on sale this fall.)

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