Used Car Review

2008 Buick Enclave: Used Car Review

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Used 2008 Buick Enclave CXL
Used 2008 Buick Enclave
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author photo by Ron Sessions August 2016

The almost full-size 2008 Buick Enclave is about as long and wide as the truck-based, full-size GMC Yukon, but it's not as tall as the Yukon, is easier to step into and has a roomier third-row seat. With lightweight unit-body construction, a fully independent suspension and a transverse-mounted engine, the Enclave offers carlike ride and handling and, with the all-aluminum V6 dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, better fuel economy than the truck-based Yukon. The Enclave is available in front-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. A unique slide-and-fold second-row seat that stacks flat against the back of the front seats provides easy access to the third-row bench.

The Enclave is stylish, with a waterfall grille, hood-mounted Ventiports, high-intensity discharge headlamps and a choice of 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels. The richly appointed interior is library-quiet, with liberal use of soft-touch materials and wood-grain accents. Standard safety gear includes stability and traction control, an anti-lock braking system, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags and overhead airbags.

If you need room for up to eight passengers and their duffel bags, but a minivan isn't the image you want and a full-size truck-based SUV doesn't offer the ride, parking ease or fuel economy you need, then the Enclave is a good choice.

What We Like

Good interior fit and finish; smooth ride; quiet cabin; communicative steering; top safety rating; solid structure; sliding and folding second-row seats

What We Don't

Poor rearward visibility; high step-in height; low-mounted climate-control buttons; harsh upshifts and delayed downshifts of automatic transmission

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Buick Enclave comes equipped with a 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder. It's rated at 275 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission with a sequential sport shifter is standard, and both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. It burns regular unleaded fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates front-drive versions at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway and all-wheel-drive models at 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy. Maximum towing capacity is 4,500 pounds.

Standard Features & Options

The 2008 Enclave comes in CX and CXL trim.

Typical CX equipment includes front and rear automatic climate control, 7-passenger seating with cloth seats, second-row sliding fold-down captain's chairs, a fold-flat third-row bench, power driver's and front passenger seats, a tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped wood-trimmed steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, an OnStar communication system, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with SiriusXM radio, a HomeLink garage-door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto headlamps, cruise control, a power lift gate, a compass, an outside-temperature display, 18-in steel wheels, fog lamps, a rear wiper/washer and power door locks, heated mirrors and windows.

The CXL trim adds 19-in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and driver's-seat memory.

Available options include navigation, a power moonroof, a back-up camera, a premium audio system with 10 speakers, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with headphones and a second-row sliding, split folding bench seat.


Buick's Enclave provides nearly as much people and cargo space as a minivan, sans the sliding side doors and soccer-mom stigma. Clean, used family vehicles like the Enclave are in steady demand, especially low-mileage examples with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel-drive models generally cost less, and because the Enclave has standard traction control and the majority of its weight is over the front driving wheels, that's all most buyers need.

For a good idea of the prices of used 2008 Enclave crossovers, check out the used-car values at You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the following recalls for the 2008 Buick Enclave:

The gas struts supporting the power lift gate may fail prematurely and the lift gate may close unexpectedly, creating an injury risk.

Snow and ice buildup on the windshield may cause the wiper arm to detach from the linkage, making the wipers inoperative. The loss of outward vision increases the risk of a crash.

The heated windshield-washer system can short out, causing the washer module to ignite and start a fire.

Due to electrical resistance in the wiring harness connectors, the side-impact airbags and seat-belt pretensioners may not deploy in a crash.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2008 Enclave five stars for frontal and side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.

The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2008 Enclave as Good for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts and for head-restraint and seat crash performance.

General Motors covered the 2008 Enclave with a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

A 2008 Enclave is too old to qualify for Buick certified pre-owned (CPO) status, but keep in mind that Buick certified pre-owned vehicles can't have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Enclave undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus 6-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage with 24-hour roadside assistance and free courtesy transportation from the car's original sale date. There is no deductible, and the CPO warranty is transferable. Also included are 3 months of OnStar and SiriusXM radio, a Carfax vehicle-history report and a maintenance plan providing for two visits over 24 months.

Other Cars to Consider

2008 Acura MDX -- Acura's largest crossover SUV is nearly a foot shorter than the Enclave, and its third-row seat is only suitable for children, but the MDX is agile for a 7-passenger SUV, quick on its feet and more fun to drive than the Buick. Power comes from a 300-hp 3.7-liter V6 and 5-speed automatic with an available manual shift mode. All-wheel drive is standard. The MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Its EPA fuel economy ratings are 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy.

2008 Lexus RX 350 -- The first luxury crossover SUV is still the best-selling one. The RX 350 is considerably smaller than the Enclave and holds five passengers, but with one of the most luxurious cabins in the class and a smooth, comfortable ride, few will be disappointed. A 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 and 5-speed automatic provide more than ample performance. Both front- and all-wheel drive are offered. Front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy, and all-wheel-drive models are rated at 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. A gas-electric hybrid version, the RX 400h, receives a 27 mpg city/25 mpg hwy rating.

Autotrader's Advice

The Enclave delivers near-luxury comfort and is a smoother-riding, more fuel-efficient alternative to truck-based SUVs, such as the Yukon, while providing interior space rivaling a minivan. This was the first year for the Enclave, so there were many running production changes and updates, particularly to transmission shifting. Make sure all the applicable safety recalls have been performed on the Enclave you look at. A 2008 Enclave is too old to qualify for Buick CPO status, so search for a lower-mileage example that's seen obvious care and maintenance whenever possible.

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Used 2008 Buick Enclave CXL
Used 2008 Buick Enclave
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2008 Buick Enclave: Used Car Review - Autotrader