- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Enclave crossover SUV has been changing consumer perception about the Buick brand and about luxury crossovers since it was introduced. Blending style and grace with precision, Enclave delivers comfort for up to eight, plenty of space for cargo and at 24 mpg highway (2WD), better fuel economy than any eight-passenger SUV.

The Enclave offers a host of standard equipment and the industry’s best warranty coverage. Its appeal as a premium family vehicle gives it the lowest average age of any Buick model, at 59. Customers also agree that the smart money is on Enclave, because more than half of all owners are college graduates with a median yearly income of more than $100,000.

“Enclave proves you don’t have to spend a lot to get the royal treatment of a luxurious crossover SUV,” said Roger McCormack, director of marketing for Buick. Model year-to-date, Enclave sales are up more than 30 percent over the same period a year earlier, and are up 33 percent for the first quarter of 2010 over 2009.

For 2011, Buick Enclave is available in CX and CXL models with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Buick Enclave features a fuel-efficient 3.6L direct injected V-6 VVT engine that blends power, smoothness, efficiency and technical sophistication for a SAE-certified 288 horsepower (215 kW) and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque.

Enclave achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models and 22 mpg highway for all-wheel-drive models.

The 3.6L direct injection engine is designed to operate with regular unleaded gasoline - which saves money compared to luxury brands that require premium fuel - and produces power similar to many V-8 engines. With direct injection, fuel is sprayed directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the fuel/air mixture.

As a result, less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower of a conventional port-injection combustion system, especially at normal cruising speeds. Ninety percent of the Enclave engine’s peak torque is available from approximately 2,500 rpm to more than 6,000 rpm. Also, using unique pistons with the direct injection system helps reduce cold-start emissions by 25 percent.

The 3.6L engine is mated to the Hydra-Matic 6T75 electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission. Its wide, 6.04:1 overall ratio helps the transmission deliver both performance and fuel economy, enabling up to a 7-percent improvement in performance and up to a 4-percent improvement in fuel economy when compared to front-wheel-drive four-speed automatics. The transmission has been designed so that the Enclave can be flat-towed in FWD and AWD configurations. The Enclave can tow up to 4,500 pounds (2,045 kg) when properly equipped.

Enclave’s fluid lines and curved surfaces create the illusion of a smaller vehicle, while maintaining a roomy interior. Other Buick design cues include a waterfall grille - with a bold tri-shield emblem - and V-shaped portholes. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are standard. For enhanced illumination, especially while cornering, Enclave offers available articulating headlamps.

Nineteen-inch machined flangeless wheels are standard on CX and CXL1 models. CXL2 models are equipped with standard 19-inch chrome-clad wheels, which are new for 2011. A 20-inch chrome-clad wheel is also available on CXL2 models.

For 2011, Cyber Gray Metallic, Dark Ming Blue and Gray Green Metallic join the range of exterior color choices. Also available are White Diamond, Red Jewel, Cocoa Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, Quicksilver Metallic and White Opal.

Enclave’s interior complements the handsome exterior with a luxuriously appointed, warm and inviting environment, with premium, soft-touch, low-gloss materials. The attention to detail is reflected in the precise fit and finish of all interior elements, including the instrument panel.

Enclave delivers an impressive level of roominess and functionality. With three rows of seats, Enclave comfortably accommodates seven or eight occupants, and still provides 24.1 cu. ft. (682 L) of cargo space behind the third-row seat when the cargo management is removed. That’s the trunk capacity of some large sedans and room that many crossovers cannot match. Enclave also offers 115.9 cubic feet (3,282 L) of cargo room behind the first row when all rear seats are folded - that’s more maximum cargo volume than the Lexus RX350 (80.3 cu. ft.), Volvo XC90 (85.1 cu. ft.), Audi Q7 (72.5 cu. ft.) and Acura MDX (83.5 cu. ft.).

Premium cloth seats are standard on CX models; perforated and heated leather seats are standard on CXL models. The first row includes two bucket seats, while the second-row comes standard with two captain’s chairs. A second-row 60/40-split bench (three passengers) seat is available.

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