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Acura MDX vs Buick Enclave CXL

msindallasmsindallas Posts: 190
edited July 10 in Acura
Would like to see the experts comment on the subject. I am in the market for an Acura MDX, but don't like the way they have set up the packages. Examples:

(1) To get a power liftgate, you need to get the Entmnt package - an 8" screen DVD - whereas you could get an aftermarket 12" screen at car-toys for $1K. (2) Self leveling headlamps need heated 2nd row seats and Sports suspensions that I will never use. (3) You need navigation to get a rear view camera because it is the "Tech" package - I am not really happy with these marketing tactics.

I am comparing this to the Buick Enclave CXL, and can get almost all the stuff on MDX except the SH-AWD for about $10K less. Even the roof rails and auto-dimming mirrors are standard. You also get a rear park assist, can ask adults to seat in the 3rd row, and get a wood-grain steering wheel for free. Similar gas mileage, a 6-speed transmission (in Buick) and you get a 2008MY vehicle, too. I dont know what difference 275 and 300 HP makes for stop-n-go city traffic and occasional Hwy trips, the curb weights being similar.

So... while the MDX is at the top of my list, I am having 2nd thoughts about protesting to Acura about their options with my wallet. Is anybody else having this dilemma? Please share your thoughts. Best wishes, - MS.
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Comments

  • ux149ux149 Posts: 18
    I was looking at the Enclave and decided against it for my needs/desires. I need a vehicle that is extremely comfortable for four with the ability to carry occasional bulky cargo (plants, new lawn mower, things that will not fit in my 300C AWD) My Escalade was perfect except that it was huge for everyday use and was huge to get around when parked in the garage.

    The Enclave/Outlook/Acadia is just as long as an Escalade without nearly the comfort. The second row of seats (whether bench or split) are small, hard minivan seats - not what I want my friends and associates experiencing when we're traveling to dinner or a golf course. The two Acadias and two Outlooks I've driven were comfortable for the driver and very quiet. I was a bit dissappointed in all of their sound systems.

    The MDX is nearly a foot shorter - thus easier to parallel park and takes up less garage space.. The second row is far more comfortable. And, Acuras typically have much greater resale value than Buicks. Road noise in the MDX was much louder than the GM models or my wife's Lexus. I'll need to test drive a lot more before I'm sold on the MDX.

    Both vehicles are brand new and will have more standard features added each year. Note: if you use Nav, get a voice activated system. Many of the functions of a dial or touch screen system are disabled when the car is not in park so that the driver will watch the road instead of a Nav screen.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    First of all, the Enclave is a Buick, poor reliability, quality, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm as red-blooded a republican as you can get but I will never own another american vehicle (2000 Olds Intrigue, ugh!). Have an '04 MDX and '07, the '04 has never been in the shop except for oil changes (45,000 miles). The money you spend on the more expensive acura will result in less headaches and higher resale value. Keep in mind the MDX is much more of a SPORT utility than the Enclave. The limited options packages offered by Acura actually reduces the cost to the consumer.(As opposed to some other foreign auto makers, BMW, M-B)
  • ody02tjkody02tjk Posts: 66
    I have to mostly agree with your assessment comparing the MDX to the Enclave. I can get the loaded Enclave for more than $8K less than the MDX sport for purchase. Comparing leases (36mo, $0 down, 12K miles a year) the Enclave is at $654 a month, while the lowest quote I got on a MDX was $815/mo.

    Probing further, I found out that the MDX now has a 3 year residual of 57%, while for the Enclave it was 63% at 3 years. I have also found that you can get an Audi Q7 3.6 Premiun for just $650 a month as well (with a subsidized lease from Audi). Has anyone found that the MDX's are not getting the residual rates they used to?

    I am really torn on the choices here. I love the sporty way the MDX drove (only the $55K X5 was as nice), but space is tight, and what is with all the dark colors on the interior? The wood dash looks like black plastic. I do not want the Rear ENT, but do want the rear heated seats, I would like the Sport Package wheels, but w/o the self-leveling lights. I also tried just adding on the 19 inch wheels from the MDX accessory list (but those with the required tires are nearly $3400 more). Further, if you opt for the 19inch wheels, you do not get credit for the 18 inchers that come standard (in fact one salespersontold me to take the 4 wheels and tires, and sell it on Ebay. Also, Space is at a real premiun MDX.

    The Buick and Audi were both more comfortable, & held a lot more (stuff and people). The Buick gives you a credit for the larger wheels, from the standard wheels. Audi just charges less for the 20 inch wheels. Due to my space requirements (car pool, sports and kids nearly every day), the 2nd and 3rd row seat space is a real need, and the Buick leads on this front. I know some one will tell me to get a minivan, but we already have an Odyssey, and my wife does not want a 2nd van.

    Since the Buick and Audi are both in their first year, I am leasing, in case the models have reliability issues. I am coming out of a Lexus LX, and really wished Lexus had something comparable with a decent 3rd seat. The GX rear space is a joke.

    Any recommendations?
  • celica8celica8 Posts: 42
    Buick reliability is poor? That's not true. Check JD Power. Buick consistently beats Acura in long term dependability.

    The Enclave also beats the MDX in size, price, and definitely looks. The NY Times called the face of the MDX a "duck."
  • I used to own an Acura and a VW. While the Acura I owned was an excellent car, the VW was a money pit and always in the shop, sometimes repeatedly for the same problem, at $1,000 a pop.
    When GM was having the employee pricing strategy in 2005, I leased two GM cars (including a Buick Ranier). Both cars have been extremenly reliable and the service I get when I take the cars in for service surpasses what I used to get at my old Acura dealer.
    That being said, I am not sure how I feel about the Enclave. On paper it is a great car. Having test driven it, however, I was very disappointed with the acceleration and the "tiptronic" mode of the 6-speed transmission did little to improve the off-the-line acceleration. Since then
    I have test driven both the new MDX and the Audi Q7 4.2. The MDX is a great, great SUV with terriffic seats. The Q7 was just, well, awesome. Its amazing what an extra 25 or 75 horsepower and torque can do!
  • ody02tjkody02tjk Posts: 66
    I whittled my shopping list down to the MDX, the Q7, and the Enclave. I must agree with your assessment of the Buick. While it is cheaper, and has more interior room, the driving experience just does not measure up to the other 2 SUV's. Due to a need for space, and the fact that I like a very large sunroof, as well as near 0% financing on a lease, I leased a Q7 3.6 Premium. It drives as nice as the MDX, and is nearly $140 less per month. I am a little worried about reliability, but I can always turn in from the lease. I have read a little about some engine issues in Q7's built early last year, but it sounds like Audi addressed things quickly and treated customers very well. Coming from a Lexus, my expectations for service are high. It should be noted, though, that if I leased a loaded Buick Enclave, the monthly payment would have been nearly $200 less than my Audi. My recommendations are to lease the Q7 if you can swing it.
  • jimjackjimjack Posts: 43
    I've enjoyed the discussions re: the Enclave CXL,Acadia SLT2, MDX & the Q7 3.2 premium. I've gone thru the full line of vehicles to get to the one that will do the most for me that I had on my list for priorities.
    They were: ride, quietness, performance, mpg, power to pull a 4k lbs boat, looks, equipment offered and the dollars.
    I found the MDX able to pull 5k lbs, powerful, very agile, performance better than the Enclave, attractive inside and out exept the front end grill work. The equipment that I wanted put the MDX @ nearly $8K more than the Enclave. the residual was touted to be 62% however which was very good.
    The Enclave/Acadia was smoother in ride to either the MDX & the Q7.
    Performance on the Enclave was decent but did not blow my doors off. Was very acceptable for typical driving however. More quiet than the other 2. Well appointed and attractive in and out. The rear camera was offered as an extra that can be put on. I want that. I would choose to allow the 18" wheels stay on while I ordered 20" on my own. I want chrome wheels not their polished.
    My greatest issue is the torque or lack there of. The ability to pull from a stop will my boat is in tow is very important. I should be able to stay with other traffic and not be looked upon as " damn boat puller, get moving will ya".
    The Q7 V6 was a new experience for me just yesterday for kicks. More money than the other 2. Nicely appointed and looks good in and out. The V6 was not much different than the enclave however. Both their V8 and 6 were rough in nature in their ride and acceleration. Pretty much like an SUV I suppose. I own an 02 Suburban at present. The MPG present a negative factor for me. The MDX is @ 16-22, the Enclave is 16-22/24 while the Q7 is @ 15-20 and 14-19 on the V8.
    Now, the Q7 4.2 is the winner as far as torque and power and it will pull 6600 lbs. But the V6 is in the middle of the MDX and Enclave. 4500lbs for the Enclave Acadia and 5k lbs on the MDX.
    I'll go back to try out the Q7 but the cost takes me further than I choose to want to go. A bit more than the Acura.
    Their Lease has got to be a good one and the residual must have some pop to it.
    I'm truing to get the Enclave/Acadia dealer to hook my boat up for a pull session. About a 4 mile pull will do me just fine.. That will be the answer I seek in the engine department.
    I have enjoyed my Suburban and has given Zero Grief. A battery and rear brakes @ 86k mi. But, it is eating 13 mpg and that really hurts any more..
  • epineyepiney Posts: 462
    Probing further, I found out that the MDX now has a 3 year residual of 57%, while for the Enclave it was 63% at 3 years. I have also found that you can get an Audi Q7 3.6 Premiun for just $650 a month as well (with a subsidized lease from Audi). Has anyone found that the MDX's are not getting the residual rates they used to?

    Can you post the source of this info? I have been looking at both vehicles as well and just looked at the TCO for teh Enclave on Edmunds. The predicted depreciation for the Enclave is staggering compared with the MDX. It's a new model, so info would be scarce, but if it's close to true than what you gain on teh purcahse could be more than lost at trade in time.
  • ody02tjkody02tjk Posts: 66
    Epiney: I received this information from Acura, Buick and Audi dealers when I was shopping late last month. I do not know what is the cause of this issue with Acura's, but I found that the residuals were better for the Buick (63%) and lower (52%) for the Audi. However, with Audi, the lease factor rate is at .00019 (0.465%), while the Buick rate is .003 (7.2%). Audi is subsidizing their leases this way. The Acura had a sales price around $48K and rate I was quoted on the Acura lease was above 8%. This caused the lease pmt (nothing down except taxes) on the MDX Tech/Sport to be more than $850 per month. The lease payment on my Audi was only about $20 more a month ($672 vs $651) than the Buick. IF you are BUYING the car, both the Buick Enclave and the Audi Q7 can be gotten close to invoice prices, if not less. However, the Buick is the best deal about $40K (CXL AWD loaded) at invoice, compared to the the Audi at about $53K. If you are leasing, however, the monthly price difference is quite small, due to the VERY low rate on the lease. Since there is no history yet for the GM Midsize SUV's, I believe GM is setting the residuals for the Enclave high, in anticipation. Several dealers quoted me the 63% residual rate at 3 years, with 12K miles per year. I liked the style of the Audi, as well as its huge sunroof, and did not have to wait to get the color I wanted, so the Q7 is what I leased.
  • epineyepiney Posts: 462
    Thanks ody02tjk. Iwas only considering an outright buy, which doesn't make sense on the Audi with those low lease rates. Buying the Enclave concerns me as the TCO in Edmunds predicts horrible depreciation. At least with a lease, your residual is locked in. The mileage is a bit unpredictable, that's why I am heavily favoring purchase.

    I think the MDX is close to invoice now so at about $44, it's only about $4K more than the Enclve and almost $10K less than the Q7. I am worried about the Audi reliability as well.

    Bothe the Buick Enclave and teh Hyundai Veracruz look interesting to buy, but unknown resale value has me thinking twice and staying "safe" with the MDX :confuse:
  • ody02tjkody02tjk Posts: 66
    Did you take a look at the Mazda CX-9? That was my #3 choice, behind the Audi and the Buick, and well ahead of the MDX. The CX-9 has more room, and a much larger 3rd seat and rear storage than the MDX. Also, the Mazda handles as well as the MDX, if not better. While it may not be quite as luxurious as the Acura, a loaded CX-9 Gran Touring(with Nav, Sunroof, 20inch wheels, etc) was selling at near invoice of $38K. I was VERY impressed with it. I also tested the Veracruz, but was not impressed at all. The Mazda seems to be the real value in this size vehicle. What state are you in? I am in MD, and the Acura dealers around here would only go about $2k below sticker. I am a bit worried about the Audi reliability, and that was another reason I leased. Since all of these vehicles are in the first model year (MDX, Enclave, CX9, Q7, ACADIA, Veracruz), I did not want to take a chance with any of them.
  • jimjackjimjack Posts: 43
    I'm in California (East Bay Area). I have the MDX (07)in mind as well as the Enclave (08) or Acadia (07).
    The MDX with a sport package is available to me at present @ 500 over invoice. The Enclave (CXL fully loaded) dealer hasn't gotten back to me just yet and I'm grinding them down in hopes of an invoice price.
    The Acadia SLT 2 fully equiped (same dealer as the Enclave) is @ invoice along with their promo called conquest that is a cradit of 1K.
  • epineyepiney Posts: 462
    I had a quick look at the CX-9. Since we are so close to MY changeover, I am holding out for an 08. Will start test driving in a couple of months. Doing some upfront research. The CX-9 was bigger and had better access to the third row. I felt the MDX had a nicer interior. The CX-9 does not offer memory on the mirrors and steering wheel at any price. It may seem minor, but that's a big deal to us. It's almost a deal breaker. Your lease rate on the Q7 has me taking another look at it!
  • merlin14merlin14 Posts: 2
    I have just read the posts. I am also considering both an Enclave and an MDX. Whichever vehicle we use needs to be able to withstand ice/snow in North Dakota, driving and towing in the mountains, fit in our garage (6'3 clearance) and be comfortable for three adults and two child seats. I looked at most cars mentioned in the posts, but have only test-driven the MDX. I only "discoverd" the Enclave a week ago. We were very happy (except for the garage problem) with our Yukon XL until gas prices took to soaring and our frequent trips to the Dakotas from the Carolinas became less frequent. The Acura is more expensive because it is more of a "luxury" vehicle. I know that its safety rating are phenomenal and according to Consumer Reports the SH-AWD is amazing on hairpin turns and snow and ice. Has anyone used either of these vehicles in a harsh environment (granted the Enclave is too new for a summer yet)? Or has anyone tried a 1000 mile trip with two or more kids under 5?
  • celica8celica8 Posts: 42
    If reliability is a factor in buying, I would avoid the Mazda. Buick and Acura are consistently reliable, but Mazda has a spotty reputation.

    http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2006133
  • jimjackjimjack Posts: 43
    I would have to say that I'd be pretty suprised if the Acadia/Enclave/Outlook had difficuties beyond the typical quirks of any car. I have now driven the X5 BMW and found that to be superb but way up there ie cost. I found the Q7 harsh by comparrison. Much rougher than any of the others. I can't consider the Veracruise or CX9 as they don't pull the weight I need pulled.
    The Acadia family is a crossover and should be considered as such. It is very competitive or we wouldn't be talking about it so much. Guess what? We like it for all the right reasons. It's just a new venture for GM. I think they got the message and did themselves fairly proud.
    I'm at the point where which ever I buy, I will wonder if it was the other I should have bought. It's decision time boy's.
  • eclipse2eclipse2 Posts: 64
    We got the MDX with the Tech pack in Dec we took a trip to Disney on spring break with 3 kids for a week! We drove from NJ to Orlando it was great!!!!! I don't think people know to much about the SH-AWD because they wouldn't even talk about the Mazda and Buick if they did!! I have the 06 Acura RL with SH-AWD I just love the way both the MDX and the RL hug the ground around turns...Plus with all the tech stuff in it you can't beat it!!! :shades:
  • jimjackjimjack Posts: 43
    Help me out here please. The distinction of the SH-AWD vs. any of the compitition's AWD is?
    I need to have this knowledge. I think you might have some info that is very criticle to any who are looking at cars.
    I really like the AWD format but you have me peeked with interest with your SH-AWD. HELP!!!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,877
    Check out the 4WD & AWD systems explained discussion too.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • jimjackjimjack Posts: 43
    Went back to the dealer for another test only with my wife along. The SH AWD means super handling. Very cool..
  • merlin14merlin14 Posts: 2
    Jimjack. My understanding is the SH-AWD uses variable torque in all wheels, while most systems just adjust front to back. The result is that cornering and wet conditions are a lot safer to drive in.

    Motortrend has some information on their site if you are interested....

    Ah, I see in another forum you bought an MDX already. If you get a chance tell us more. I am also a former Suburban (Yukon XL) owner and considering the Enclave. Why did you eventually go with MDX? Right now, for me, it is down to what works better in our garage.
  • jimjackjimjack Posts: 43
    Merlin14,
    The bottom line is the rating of the 2 vehicles. Go to Kelly blue book .com and once you've got either car up on your screen, look at the resale value and other info available. All lees than the Buick. I believe the edmunds will show the acura as better than average in it's integrity while the Buick (consistent with GM) shows as less than average.
    I pull a boat @ 4K lbs and I chose to speak with the Service advisors re: the Buick and my needs. Although the Buick will pull the 4500 lbs, they suggested that it would be a strain and likely too much stress.
    The fit and finish on the Acura was better. I plan to keep my car for 5 years and I just thought that the Acura had more appeal to all for resale purposes vs. the Buick. Not many younger generation would look at the Buick as a gotta have it typed car. While the Acura appeals to most demographics.
    that's my take..

    Jim
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Be careful when considering towing and read the fine print.

    Acura/Honda used to publish a towing figure assuming the passenger compartment was filled with 4 passengers and 200 lbs of gear. (A total of 800 lbs.)

    With the Ridgeline and now the 2007 MDX, they now publish specs based on only 2 passengers and their gear. (A total of 500 lbs.)

    Other companies will publish specs with 1 occupant and zero cargo. There is no consistency, either. I've seen GM trucks with figures based on 1 occupant and Buick SUVs based on 2. Ya gotta read the fine print.

    In the end, two vehicles "rated" to tow 4,500 lbs may be separated by as much as 650 lbs once you do the math.
  • These vehicles are rated to tow, but I wouldn't advise anything over 3000 pounds, especially if you are talking the Buick Enclave. That thing already weighs over 5000 pounds, and that is taxing enough on that drivetrain.
  • sookmdxsookmdx Posts: 4
    I HAD the Q7 3.6 Premium for 3 months. Beautiful interior, nice ride, adequate power. I loved the MMI interface (still find myself reaching down to find it in my MDX). The huge sunroof was nice but made the A/C really strain to keep things cool. However, the car broke down after 2 wks (400 miles or so ). Rode real rough, like it was missing a cylinder or two and was out of balance. After 3 months and basically replacing every part above the block the problem was fixed. Fortunately Audi mediator had already offered to buy back my car by then so I walked away free and clear. My circumstance is far from typical but scared me enough that I'll never do German again.
  • zegzeg Posts: 7
    Still waiting for a dream one to come in this price class ...
    Couldn't find AC seats in the class. Like someone mentioned in the forum, 3rd row in GX470 is a joke, 08 highlander is bit better, but not much; when could Lexus build one in this price range with decent 3rd seats? Maybe a RX-L
    GL and X5 if money is not too much an issue

    MB R350, if only it is less VAN like
    MDX, softer seat and more upscale interior looking
    Veracruz, perhaps 6" longer for bit more cargo space and real wood trim, sound is top in the class, well balanced and smooth ride, HID, Nav and AC seats?. Quite a newcomer though
    Enclave, Arcadia etc, price/quality ratio is questionable
  • Acura's SH-AWD is a "smart" wheel drive that distributes torque left and right (not only front to back). As a result, the system can shift more power to one wheel if it wants. It will do this around turns by spinning the back outside wheel faster then the others. The result is an amazing sensation of riding rails. The cars front is pushed in to reduce the chance of understeer. You don't feel like your fighting gravity as much (because your not). It's still quite unique in the industry even with the stupid name (super handling awd). Don't think of it as a feature for getting out of a snow bank. Consider it more of a performance driving feature.
  • The 07 mdx with the SH-AWD drives like a dream in the rain. I live in FL with common downpours and water on the road. My previous vehicles I have always had to slow down and felt "uncomfortable" while on wet roads. With the MDX it does not slip or slide at all on wet roads and gives a great sense of security in the 10 months that I have owned it.
  • sarendssarends Posts: 4
    Background:

    Everyone, I am an Acura 03 MDX owner that was about 70% leaning towards a Mazda CX-9. I recently heard about thye Buick Enclave and decided to compare it against my short list (MDX, CX-9).

    OK, I have heard (via internet mainly) quite a bit about the Enclave - it is getting some fantastic accolades and lots of orders (for Buick) And, I have a soft spot for Buicks - I owned a very fine 1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 Stage I mscle car and a 1986 Buick T-Type (3.8 V6 turbo) that were both incredible, for what they were.

    And, my Dad always liked big American iron from the days of the 56 Buick Specials and the Olds Super 88s and the 98s of the 50's and 60's - honestly, those cars above all have some very very nice qualities - IMO, of course.

    So, the Enclave:

    Outside:
    Probably the best looking SUV I have seen, honestly. The piant and fit and finish is incredible - deep and lusterous - I saw a red one and a white one - the paint is deep and incredible - the lines, the chrome - everything is Lexus/BMW/Audi quality and above. And, I would like to remind everyone - I am a BMW nut (have owned 6 and ciurrently drive a 2002 M5), so I have an appreciateion for some nicely built cars.

    Interior:

    Also, pretty darn nice - up there with the quality of everything I have seen iin the hifghest end SUVs, but you have to like the old American car spirit that embodies some of the great american cars (like I mentioned above) - the interior has a little bit of a retro feel - ie. it has a very nice analog clock prominently displayed in the frt. dash - it is not tacky. And, the size of this thing inside is, well, pretty darn enormous compared to most other SUVs - and I thought the CX-9 was spacious!

    The whole effect of the gorgeous exterior and high quality lux interior works together - it is honest about what it is trying to accomplish!

    OK, the ride and handling

    Well, it was better than I expected (I was expected a big ol lumbering yukon-ish-suburban like wallowing beast), and the ride was honest considering the size and substance of this machine (it is a substantial piece of iron). It took off with a decent amt of zip and the engine and tranny seemed well matched to the weight of the vehicle. It is consistent with a luxury vehicle - a solid and EXTREMELY quiet ride. Did I mention to you how quiet and cushy and solid it is - it is amazing - every bump was handled with SHERMAN tank like dominance with no hint of a rattle, skeak or weakness.

    Performance? Well, now let's just skip this little bit shall we? Well, actually, if you are going to consider an Enclave, you do have to kinda skip the performance comparison - that is if if you want to measure it in 0 - 60, 1/4 mile, top speed, or G force on a skid pad type measurements, because it simply doesn't have excess here - nothing like my 70 Buick GS or the Regal Turbo I had!

    But, if you have been bitten by the Enclave allure created by the gorgeous exterior, interior, combined with a definite conveyance of "quality luxury cruiser",, then I can see why alot of people might be able to overlook handling in the realm of a CX-9, MDX, X5, Cayenne or Q7. It is simply not designed to meet these types of SUVs head on. Don't try to compare here at all - Buick doesn't, and is honest about it.

    Could I own an Enclave? You bet I could. Will I choose one over a CX-9 or an MDX? More than likely not, but my wife will decide. Why do I think the Enclave will not ultimately get the nod from my wife? She (and I) like performance and efficiency too much )over drop dead gorgeous luxury). And, even though the Enclave would draw tons of looks and would be a blast to "cruise" around in - it doesn't fit the main driver of our car - my wife - who is all about Zoom Zoom here and Zip Zip there with our kids and she likes to do it pretty aggressively without getting bogged down with excess size or trips to the pump.

    But if I could have two SUVs (which of course would be stupid)? Mmm, I am thinking a CX-9 and an Enclave would be certainly cool!!!
  • sarendssarends Posts: 4
    There was actually a one week difference in time between my Part I driving experience and this (Part II) experience.

    Who's Car is it Anyway?
    I mentioned in my original post that all of the experiences were MINE and not those of my wife - the original test drive was just me and the dealer. The MDX is her car and so the replacement will be hers too. So this morning I scheduled a test drive for my wife (kids along too).

    Wife's Assessment of the Enclave
    First of all, let me tell you, I have an immense amt of respect for my wife - she knows what she likes and it usually doesn't take her very long to figure out what she likes. I, however, tend to over-analyze purchase decisions. The Enclave we drove was a red on gray CXL with a $44,800 MSRP so it was fully equipped. It was all cleaned up when we arrived about 9am. The dealer got us going pretty quickly.

    As my wife walked around the car she made a few comments:


    Nice smooth lines, rich paint, it has allot of room, you can actually sit in the 3rd seat, you can actually get into the 3rd seat, I love the power liftgate, I like the light colored interior, the seats are comfortable, it has two sunroofs!, I like the way the roof rails are chrome and match the wheels, I still can't reach the laundry hooks - I guess I am just too short, pretty chrome Buick front end - way nicer than that hawk nose on the new MDX.

    The drive

    My wife started out driving and I can tell almost right away that she likes it. She said within the 1st 1/2 block - this is easier to steer than I thought it would be - it doesn't feel as large to drive as it is inside. Her comments in order as I remember them: This is so quiet, I don't think it is slow (I told her it was no speed demon), The air works well, It handles nice, I like this car, This is a reallllyyy nice car, I can see myself really enjoying this car.

    So, there you have it - she loved the Enclave, end of story and doesn't really need to drive or look at anything else now. That is about how quickly she comes to things in her mind. I say, "well, maybe we should drive the CX-9 again" and "we haven't driven the new Highlander yet" and "Should we investigate the new MDX a little further" and she just says, "I really like the Buick, it is different - there is nothing else out there as beautiful as the Enclave - why would we look at those again?"

    So, this is really the end of this thread, the boss has spoken - not that she is the boss, but in this case she is - it will be her car. OK, who am I kidding, I love this woman and would do anything for her!! So, we will be pursuing an Enclave now and you will be hearing lots from me as I over-analyze the rest of the purchase process (don't get me wrong - I enjoy it).

    But, one last note. In my last review I gave the Enclave glowing comments on it's design and exterior fit and finish as well as glowing marks on how quiet it is. But, I also stated that it's power and handling were not in the same league as an MDX/Sport a BMW X5 or a Mazda CX-9. So, I wanted to revisit the Enclave's performance and handling a little more - to see just how much it would affect me as an owner (I actually do most of the driving when we are together as a family and on trips).

    My Test Drive - Round II

    I read several times how much some of you really dislike the transmission behavior - it shifts down twice when you give it moderate pedal pressure (I alos read that some newer Enclaves may have a new FLASH that eliminates this issue and if not, the FLASH should be available for existing Enclaves). When my wife drove it I didn't notice her having this issue at all. I also read on this forum that the transmission Plus and Minus buttons only work when the car is in "L" so I wanted to check this out (on my 1st test drive I was in "D" and I couldn't get the Plus/Minus to do anything. So, I start out in "D" and do everything in my power to apply moderate pressure and see what the transmission will do. Maybe 1/2 of the time I too noticed two downshifts and 1/2 of the time I only noticed one downshift. However, I can't say the two downshifts were overly annoying, although I wish it would only downshift once - the two downshifts were very quick and smooth. And, I noticed when a significant amount of pedal pressure was given it downshifted once and got with the program as I hoped.

    Driving in "L" and shifting manually

    Here is where I was surprised - I really enjoy this mode. It is very simple to use and I have to say I found it more natural to use than the paddle shifting manual/autos I have tried in the past. It works very "Enclave-like" while turning up the boil just a bit. It works very well for the way I like to drive when I am in a bit of a hurry - I can rev it out a little more to get around other vehicles more quickly or downshift once to pick up the pace just a little or downshift two or three times very quickly (from 5th to 3rd or from 4th to 2nd etc) for a quicker and more predictable acceleration. I enjoyed the way the Enclave manual/auto mode worked - the "feel" - it was not overly abrupt but not mushy either (that would have driven me NUTS). I also confidently negotiated some quicker traffic moves, changing lanes quickly while downshifting from 4 to 2 instantly and mashing the pedal to move over and around quickly.

    I am now quite confident that I will be just fine performance-wise driving the Enclave - it will still not be as nimble or as quick as an MDX/Sport or a Mazda CX-9, but then it is a different vehicle entirely and one must enjoy it for what it is. And, my wife and I are beginning to get pretty excited about what the Enclave is!
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