2008 New Car & Truck Preview: Glamour returns to the Buick lineup

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For Buick, glamour is back.

Remember when all that glorious chrome, flowing fenders, grand side sweepspears and shiny portholes all said "Buick" to onlookers? Well, those are precisely the hallmarks of design that Buick is bringing back, unabashedly proud of its past and bringing it into the future.

If you want to see how all this works out in metal, take a look at the new Buick Enclave crossover, which is selling out all over the country.

The Enclave has more road presence than just about any crossover on the market, and I've seen people stop and stare when one goes by. It doesn't seem to matter how old the passerby might be, either. I've heard plenty of younger people say they thought the Enclave was "hot."

And if you look at Enclave close enough, you'll see all those hallmarks I mentioned except for the sweepspear -- and there are hints of that, too.

The Enclave, powered by a 275-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 (rated at 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for front-wheel drive models and 16/22 for all-wheel drive) with a six-speed automatic, comes in CX and CXL versions with eight exterior and three interior colors. Prices start at $32,790. The all-wheel-drive model starts at $34,790.

It has earned a five-star government safety rating for front and side impact collisions. It comes with three rows of seats, and has six air bags, including two rollover-capable head curtain side air bags.

Cargo and passenger room are strong points; even with the third row up, there's plenty of room for several bags of groceries.

You can also see Buick's rediscovered glamour in the new 2008 Buick LaCrosse Super sedan.

Super was the model name used up until 1959 for Buick's high-performance luxury model, which ranked second only to the Roadmaster in glamour at that time. Meanwhile, the Century held down the performance fort for the smaller Buick model line.

This time around, the LaCrosse Super looks different enough from the more modestly styled LaCrosse to really turn heads. Maybe its the chrome wheels, maybe it's the porthole. Who knows? But plenty of people noticed. Other hallmarks of the LaCrosse Super include a 5.3-liter, 300-horsepower V-8 that will hit 60 in 5.7 seconds, chromed dual exhaust tips, a rear lip spoiler, sportier suspension, bigger brakes, and a fancier interior.

Fuel mileage ratings are 16/25, and I expect the prices to begin around $30,000.


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