ALL-NEW MODEL

Advertised as Buick’s first luxury crossover, the Enclave is built on an all-new platform and uses a new V6 engine based on a global design. Seating is for seven or eight passengers, depending on the option level. Restyled, slightly less luxurious versions of it are also sold by GMC as the Acadia, and at Saturn as the Outlook.

The Enclave is available as the CX or CXL; both models use a 3.6-litre V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and are front-wheel drive, but can be optioned to all-wheel drive. The eight-passenger option replaces the standard second-row captain’s chairs with a bench seat on both trim lines.

Features on the CX include 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, side and curtain airbags, automatic tri-zone climate control, automatic Xenon headlamps, fog lamps, OnStar with Turn-By-Turn navigation, power liftgate, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, roof rails, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, tilt and telescopic wheel, garage door opener, six-way driver and two-way passenger power seat adjusters, CD/MP3 stereo with XM Satellite Radio, and tire pressure monitoring system.

The CXL adds 19-inch aluminum wheels, heated leather seats with eight-way driver and four-way passenger power adjust, rear parking assist, remote vehicle starter, power foldaway mirrors with auto-dimming driver’s side, heated washer fluid system, cargo net and cover, 110-volt power outlet, power tilt and telescopic wheel, and six-CD stereo with rear audio controls.

Available options include adaptive headlights, rear-seat DVD entertainment, back-up camera, sunroof and trailer towing package.

While GM calls the Enclave a crossover, it’s a big vehicle that really deserves the moniker SUV; it isn’t much smaller than a Tahoe. Whatever you call it, though, it’s a luxurious ride that seats up to eight passengers in typical plush Buick style, built to GM’s new high standards of interior quality. The new V6 engine is a smooth unit, but it’s got a lot of weight to pull around here, and might feel a bit strained when the Enclave’s fully loaded. Typically, Buick is an older driver’s choice, but expect a younger crowd to cross-shop this against large people-movers from the imports as well.

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