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The Enclave brings some much-needed styling moxie to the realm of car-based crossover vehicles with three rows of seats, most of which are as exciting to look at as a bowl of rice pudding. Like the exterior, the interior is highly styled and largely well done. The newest of GM’s new crossover triplets (the others being the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia), the voluptuous Enclave is Buick’s latest salvo in its battle to attract new buyers and placate naysayers who have questioned the relevance of the marque itself. The Enclave ought to give those critics something to chew on, because it’s everything a Buick ought to be–elegant, luxurious, quiet, and substantial–but in a package that will appeal to people who have not yet discovered an AARP card in their mailbox.
The Enclave shares its architecture and its 275-hp, 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 and six-speed automatic with the Outlook and the Acadia but gets its own custom nineteen-inch Michelin tires, specially designed to reduce tire noise. Other sound-deadening measures exclusive to the Buick include acoustic-laminated glass for the windshield, triple door seals, special engine mounts, and additional insulating materials. The suspension tuning, though, has not been softened for Buick duty, so the roomy Enclave rides and handles just as well as its siblings, which is to say, quite well for a vehicle that weighs some 5000 pounds in all-wheel-drive guise. That is, however, a lot of weight for even this robust V-6 to tug around, so the rumored Enclave Super V-8 model will be a welcome addition to the Buick lineup.