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The O.C.

The O.C. driving an Enclave in The O.C.....

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So....CTS went in for some minor warranty work....and I snagged a brand-spanking-new Enclave CXL as a loaner!!!!!

It's so refreshing and exciting to get into a brand-new GM product and have such a strong "feel-good" reaction because the product is not only good-looking, but makes you feel so good to sit in and drive.

This is a new GM product that really needs no excuses.........and man does it get looks on the road! The Enclave is so impressive in person and when you are behind the wheel, it made me search out RX350s, BMW X5s, and Audi Q7s.....just to see those owners' reactions to this sylish new Buick. The sales people at a Ford/Lincoln store I was at (to see a client) were ALL over the Enclave....and very complimentary of it....especially as it relates to their MKX......

Since everyone knows that I'm pretty critical of GM products, I'll list the negatives here first. Note, however, that none are deal-breakers........and there are VERY FEW negatives to begin with.

* There is a stronger-than-expected level of engine vibration through the steering wheel (not torque steer....but vibration) at heavy-to-full throttle....either in accelerating from a stop, or merging onto a freeway. At low speeds and gradual acceleration, the 3.6L is as smooth-as-silk and as good as anything out there though.

* The tranny fairly sucks.....probably the one biggest detriment to the vehicle. It's nice to have the 6 speeds and you can tell that the closer gear ratios help acceleration in what is quite a heavy vehicle saddled with V6-level torque. However, like the reviews have said....it does hunt WAY too much....it does resist downshifts....and if you force a downshift into first or second gear (say from slow speeds and you need a sudden burst of power) it slams into gear in a way that is not befitting a luxury vehicle. Again, same as the engine.....at very low speeds and very gradual acceleration it's smooth-as-silk. The engine and tranny just lose their composure if you up level of driving aggressiveness because you need to merge, respond, or pass someone.

* HVAC control buttons are too small to easily hit while you are driving. Also, the fan speeds seem so noisy....especially relative to how whisper quiet the Enclave is.

* Speaking of noisy, the power seat controls groan and moan loudly when you use them....and they are rough...like the seat is moving over "bumps" in the seat track. Surely a cost-cutting decision....as if you've ever used the power seat controls in a Lexus, for example, they are much quieter and smoother.

* Interior fit-and-finish for the most part are excellent....but some glaring faults stand out....like the plastic/aluminum trim that spans the dashboard underneath the woodgrain comes together unceremoniously RIGHT underneath the clock....and the cutline as a result stands out like bad acne on a teenager's face....AND it doesn't align properly either. Second, the plastic trim on where the sides of the center stack line up with the console plastic trim was so far out of alignment on both sides...you almost wonder if they designed it that way. Maybe they did....but it still looks shoddy.

* Don't like the manual gear-change buttons on the side of the shifter. I'm always hitting them to shift the transmission....because that's where I'm used to the shift button to be on most console shifters....then I have to realize the shift button is on the backside of the shift lever. Give me a manual gate to the right like most other manufacturers do.

And now....? Some notable positives!

* It's the small attention to detail that the Enclave showcases that most, if any, GM products have lacked in the past.....like the three-blink turn signal "tap" function when you don't need to fully activate the turn signals. Also, I like the "one-twist" ignition....where you don't have to hold the key in the "on" position until the starter catches. LOVE the way the gauge markers light up in flourescent torquoise....even in the daytime. Adds a classy touch to the gauges without resorting to full-on Lexus-type displays. Also, the nicely integrated turn-signal repeaters in the mirrors.

* It's ironic that the Buick with the BEST ride-and-handling setup is it's heaviest....the Enclave....! GM really nailed the chassis and suspension settings on the Enclave. There is about zero float or wallow at freeway speeds, and the vehicle feels quite nimble in modest curves. In fact, the suspension has a degree of firmness in it that I wasn't expecting. Certainly not as aggressive or responsive as, say a BMW X5....but far less floaty and a bit sportier than a Lexus RX350. Some big bumps will bring forth some impact harshness.....but the vehicle's utter disregard for smaller bumps and ridges is so impressive it makes up for any harshness that might find it's way in the cabin due to some larger hits.

* The powertrain is just fine to me. Other than the negatives mentioned above, I find the performance to be more-than acceptable for this class of vehicle. In fact, even around town and off-the-line...performance is nice....but if you get the 3.6L up into the heart of the powerband, say on the freeway, and floor it at 65-70 and hold it up to 90, the engine shows some real surprising spunk and a solid push in the backside. Could it use a V8? Sure....and a nice V8 burble out of the exhausts would only enhance the appeal of the Enclave. But as it stands now, the 3.6L is a fine engine for this vehicle. (And, while it certainly doesn't accelerate as strongly as my CTS, very ironically, this version of the 3.6L V6 revs with much more gusto and eagerness than the version I have in my CTS.....! Why that is, I don't know. My CTS feels almost pushrod-like in the way it revs to redline. The Enclave's version scampers for the redline.)

* The exterior and interior styling of the Enclave is about as well-executed as any product GM has ever designed......exterior is HIGH on style, but avoids an over-abundance of cutlines or gratuitous moldings or old-Pontiac-style ribbed plastic. The interior is really hard to fault overall. And FINALLY, someone has designed a GREY GM interior that actually looks good, is attractive, and offers nice contrasts between (darker) dash plastics and (lighter) seats, door panels, and floorboards.

* Did I mention that the Enclave is f*cking quiet on the road?

The biggest compliment I can give this vehicle? For once....I'm in a (relatively) low-trim-level of product (CXL with leather, but FWD, no moonroof, base wheels, no stereo upgrade, etc.).....and I don't feel like I'm driving a rental-queen....! I really feel like I'm driving a classy automobile. That's not something I can say for ANY low-trim-level GM product right now.

The Enclave, more than any other GM product, even Corvette I would argue, shows that GM knows how to be world-class. Now they just have to MAKE SURE they translate that down to the smallest and least-expensive level.

Edited by The O.C.
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Pictures? :)

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I agree about the joining of the trim at the sides of the center console. It's definitely not a misalignment, since it's the same on both sides. It has to be a design issue, but why they would make the overlapping piece not sit flush is beyond me. I think I noticed the same thing in pictures of the center console of the new Malibu.

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LOVE the way the gauge markers light up in flourescent torquoise....even in the daytime.

I have been saying this for YEARS. I said this when the LaCrosse came out--why couldn't they just put LED lighting for the gauges, but make it a blue/green color, a la Buick? It would be brighter and bolder.
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I have been saying this for YEARS. I said this when the LaCrosse came out--why couldn't they just put LED lighting for the gauges, but make it a blue/green color, a la Buick? It would be brighter and bolder.

I agree.....a nice touch! I didn't get any pics taken unfortunately.....but we all know what the rig looks like.....

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Many of GM's 2006 models have the one-touch lane change function on the signal (Monte Carlo, Impala among them). One-twist ignition has been around since at least 2000 as our Bonneville has that.

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they will eventually reprogram the tranny, but in the meantime, that is why manual shift mode is such a great feature. imagine not having it. now if it had paddle shifters and a gate on the shifter you can row your own any way you want.

i think the lambdas could use more grunt.

so, don't like the way it shifts? shift it yourself. the manual shift mode works well in the lamdbas. quick crisp shifting.

i don't love the lambdas seats. lack some support edge mkx seats are better

Edited by regfootball
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so, don't like the way it shifts? shift it yourself. the manual shift mode works well in the lamdbas. quick crisp shifting.

No.....

The "manual shift mode" sucks.

Sure...you can manually pick gears.....but it will still downshift to a lower gear if you give it enough gas. Sometimes, at low speeds, I'd like full-power in second gear for merging or accelerating from a low speed.....but even in manual shift mode, you give it full power, and it slams down into first gear....just like in normal "drive." Same thing happens at freeway speeds....no matter what gear you've chosen in manual shift mode.....it will still downshift just as if it were in "drive."

In our X5, for example, in manual shift mode, the car will hold any gear you pick no matter.....it will run up to the rev-limiter, and it won't downshift no matter how hard you mash the gas. The only time it will override you is if, say, you slow to a stop but are still in 5th or 4th gear, etc.

To me....THAT'S how a "manual shift mode" should work.

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Except its not intended to operate as a full manual shift mode.

Its purpose is to allow the driver the ability to downshift into lower gears for towing, inclines, and the like. Its no different than a regular automatic that allows you to shift from overdrive to third to second to first by moving the column or shifter except its not practicable to have all the gears of a 5- or 6-speed transmission laid out like that. Plus, the electronic button is easier. Plus again, most people simply don't futz with the different gear ranges anymore.

Its just not meant to operate like TAP-Shift, which actually holds the car in gear and won't downshift or upshift. This was clearly explained to me by the VUE brand manager at back in April because I was wondering what the hell the difference was myself. Plus, I don't think Enclave drivers in general would fancy such a thing, nor even use it.

Speaking of Enclaves, a middle-aged couple that came out for a hot air balloon ride today has a beautiful Diamond Tricoat Enclave CXL FWD with ev-er-ry-thing, including the navigation system. The lease on their Lexus (dunno what model, maybe a GX) was up and they wanted something more comfortable to ride in. Stunning car.

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How is manually shifting a trans and holding ONLY that gear preferrable to ALSO having lower gears available? I've driven both numerous times and have yet to discern a reason why locking out all other gears offers any sort of benefit. Indeed, it seems like an engineering stumble in my experience. Which is going to perform better: dropping the trans into 2 and having 1 & 2 available, or being stuck only with 2 and having to potentially shift again?

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How is manually shifting a trans and holding ONLY that gear preferrable to ALSO having lower gears available? I've driven both numerous times and have yet to discern a reason why locking out all other gears offers any sort of benefit. Indeed, it seems like an engineering stumble in my experience. Which is going to perform better: dropping the trans into 2 and having 1 & 2 available, or being stuck only with 2 and having to potentially shift again?

OK....going back to Fly's previous post.....holding the gear is nice....because....it gives you complete control over the transmission (like one of the true virtues of a traditional manual transmission.)

For example, the geography in SoCal is varied....with many hilly areas, etc. If I'm towing my Seadoos, for example, and going up over the toll road (which cuts through the local mountains here) I can go to manual shift mode and lock the tranny into, say, 5th gear to pull the grade...and in a true "manual shift" mode, it won't "hunt" annoyingly between say 4th or 5th, etc. You can use as much throttle as you need to pull the grade without worrying about the tranny still cycling between a lower gear(s) and what you've "locked" it into.

If you want lower gears available, leave the damn thing in "drive"....or, gasp, manually grab a lower gear yourself when necessary. If I'm in "manual shift" mode, I don't want the computer trying to determine when I need a downshift....but in the Enclave, the computer is still in control.

Your last sentance.....Balthazar.....is why a manual shift mode was designed in the first place.....to give YOU the decision on IF you need to shift again.

Ironically, the 6-speed in the X5 is "smart" enough that going up over the toll road, I don't even HAVE to move it into manual shift mode. The tranny will downshift to 4th or 5th as I start climbing the grade....and WILL HOLD IT THERE in the optimal gear until I crest the grade without even hunting. This is even in normal "drive." It's a very intuitive transmission and one of the best ever I've ever driven.

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yea, saw one on base the other day, made me do a double turn, and slow down to watch it pass... that cocco brown as they call it? very ellegant, but to me, it looks almost like the enclave got the same styling the original hyundai tiberons got... but was just done more elegantly...

not saying it looked bad, but i definatly did a double take, looked really nice

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OK....going back to Fly's previous post.....holding the gear is nice....because....it gives you complete control over the transmission (like one of the true virtues of a traditional manual transmission.)

For example, the geography in SoCal is varied....with many hilly areas, etc. If I'm towing my Seadoos, for example, and going up over the toll road (which cuts through the local mountains here) I can go to manual shift mode and lock the tranny into, say, 5th gear to pull the grade...and in a true "manual shift" mode, it won't "hunt" annoyingly between say 4th or 5th, etc. You can use as much throttle as you need to pull the grade without worrying about the tranny still cycling between a lower gear(s) and what you've "locked" it into.

If you want lower gears available, leave the damn thing in "drive"....or, gasp, manually grab a lower gear yourself when necessary. If I'm in "manual shift" mode, I don't want the computer trying to determine when I need a downshift....but in the Enclave, the computer is still in control.

Your last sentance.....Balthazar.....is why a manual shift mode was designed in the first place.....to give YOU the decision on IF you need to shift again.

Ironically, the 6-speed in the X5 is "smart" enough that going up over the toll road, I don't even HAVE to move it into manual shift mode. The tranny will downshift to 4th or 5th as I start climbing the grade....and WILL HOLD IT THERE in the optimal gear until I crest the grade without even hunting. This is even in normal "drive." It's a very intuitive transmission and one of the best ever I've ever driven.

BMW sources some 5spd tranny's from GM (for the 5Series I think). Wonder if the X5 has a GM tranny, that has been programmed by BMW???
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>>"OK....going back to Fly's previous post.....holding the gear is nice....because....it gives you complete control over the transmission (like one of the true virtues of a traditional manual transmission.)

If you want lower gears available, leave the damn thing in "drive"....or, gasp, manually grab a lower gear yourself when necessary. If I'm in "manual shift" mode, I don't want the computer trying to determine when I need a downshift....but in the Enclave, the computer is still in control."<<

Prolly not your intention, but this reads exactly like it's all about the subjective 'I'm in control over the transmission' than it is about the performance of the vehicle. I always find it humerous that seemingly most of the people who love being in control of the gear they're in are simultaneously quite content with having zero control over the, for example; brakes or suspension. :wink:

>>"For example, the geography in SoCal is varied....with many hilly areas, etc. If I'm towing my Seadoos, for example, and going up over the toll road (which cuts through the local mountains here) I can go to manual shift mode and lock the tranny into, say, 5th gear to pull the grade...and in a true "manual shift" mode, it won't "hunt" annoyingly between say 4th or 5th, etc. You can use as much throttle as you need to pull the grade without worrying about the tranny still cycling between a lower gear(s) and what you've "locked" it into."<<

This at least is more objective. I've never ever had an automatic 'hunt annoyingly' on me (I currently drive a 5-spd auto), either in flat NJ or the very hilly PA & NY, but the very nature of more and more gears is going to shorten the time spent in each under any circumstances.

Yet I must ask: if a trans is 'programmed' to remain in 5th as you state in the above example, are you in fact "in control" or is it again --ala the Enclave-- the transmission in "control" ? :wink:

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BMW sources some 5spd tranny's from GM (for the 5Series I think). Wonder if the X5 has a GM tranny, that has been programmed by BMW???

Nope....the refresh in '06 brought the ZF 6-speed auto to BMW in the X5.....

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>>"OK....going back to Fly's previous post.....holding the gear is nice....because....it gives you complete control over the transmission (like one of the true virtues of a traditional manual transmission.)

If you want lower gears available, leave the damn thing in "drive"....or, gasp, manually grab a lower gear yourself when necessary. If I'm in "manual shift" mode, I don't want the computer trying to determine when I need a downshift....but in the Enclave, the computer is still in control."<<

Prolly not your intention, but this reads exactly like it's all about the subjective 'I'm in control over the transmission' than it is about the performance of the vehicle. I always find it humerous that seemingly most of the people who love being in control of the gear they're in are simultaneously quite content with having zero control over the, for example; brakes or suspension. :wink:

>>"For example, the geography in SoCal is varied....with many hilly areas, etc. If I'm towing my Seadoos, for example, and going up over the toll road (which cuts through the local mountains here) I can go to manual shift mode and lock the tranny into, say, 5th gear to pull the grade...and in a true "manual shift" mode, it won't "hunt" annoyingly between say 4th or 5th, etc. You can use as much throttle as you need to pull the grade without worrying about the tranny still cycling between a lower gear(s) and what you've "locked" it into."<<

This at least is more objective. I've never ever had an automatic 'hunt annoyingly' on me (I currently drive a 5-spd auto), either in flat NJ or the very hilly PA & NY, but the very nature of more and more gears is going to shorten the time spent in each under any circumstances.

Yet I must ask: if a trans is 'programmed' to remain in 5th as you state in the above example, are you in fact "in control" or is it again --ala the Enclave-- the transmission in "control" ? :wink:

Sorry....to me, your post is nonsense.....

If you are going to offer your consumers an ability to "manually shift gears" then give them the opportunity to control what gear they are in. Otherwise, they can leave it in "Drive."

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Sorry....to me, your post is nonsense.....

If you are going to offer your consumers an ability to "manually shift gears" then give them the opportunity to control what gear they are in. Otherwise, they can leave it in "Drive."

As I said the intention of that +/- rocker button (or whatever) in the Enclave's application is to substitute for a full range of gear selections because its impractical to have P R N D 5 4 3 2 1 laid out on the console or dash. It works just like a normal non-gated automatic in that it allows you to limit upshifting not hold the transmission in gear. Another example - all V6 Saturn VUEs have a side-mounted +/- button, but only on XRs and RLs equipped with TAPshift do they hold gearing. In the others, it just electronically 'moves' the gear selector as you would in any other automatic.

Confusing? Absolutely, especially if they're in the same vehicle utilitzing the same control. Ask a Saturn salesman to explain that nuance.

But that's how it is. TAPshift is GM offering consumers to ability to electronically shift transmissions as if it were a manumatic.

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As I said the intention of that +/- rocker button (or whatever) in the Enclave's application is to substitute for a full range of gear selections because its impractical to have P R N D 5 4 3 2 1 laid out on the console or dash. It works just like a normal non-gated automatic in that it allows you to limit upshifting not hold the transmission in gear. Another example - all V6 Saturn VUEs have a side-mounted +/- button, but only on XRs and RLs equipped with TAPshift do they hold gearing. In the others, it just electronically 'moves' the gear selector as you would in any other automatic.

Confusing? Absolutely, especially if they're in the same vehicle utilitzing the same control. Ask a Saturn salesman to explain that nuance.

But that's how it is. TAPshift is GM offering consumers to ability to electronically shift transmissions as if it were a manumatic.

Whatever you want to call it...it's a cop-out....and a bean-counter move.

If you are going to offer "manual control" then make it a true "manual control" like your competitors do......

GEEEEEZZZZZ

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Whatever you want to call it...it's a cop-out....and a bean-counter move.

If you are going to offer "manual control" then make it a true "manual control" like your competitors do......

GEEEEEZZZZZ

Because its not even trying to offer gear hold, that's the point. GM is not advertising it as manual control (if they did, full agreement from me), in fact, GM is not advertising it as anything at all. That's what TAPshift is being advertised as and it does offer full range gear hold.

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I like the "hold" function on my Millenia's transmission. I can choose to hold it any gear and use it to down/upshift without limiting myself to one gear. :P

I will say that what the Enclave features seems very annoying. I agree with O.C. about not being able to hold a gear, intentional or not.

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I like the "hold" function on my Millenia's transmission. I can choose to hold it any gear and use it to down/upshift without limiting myself to one gear. :P

I will say that what the Enclave features seems very annoying. I agree with O.C. about not being able to hold a gear, intentional or not.

Exactly.

So my WHOLE point is.....why did GM spend the money to develop this +/- feature? Why not leave it off and just leave "Drive" and "Low" positions in the shift gate like are there now?

To me....it's a wasted feature....IF it won't hold the gear you select.

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Why is this so hard for you to understand what Fly is trying to say? Are you actually reading what Fly is writing?

It’s an automatic that is supposed to work like an automatic. Is your CTS an auto? If it is, you put it in 3rd when you are stopped, you start to accelerate and what happens? 1st, 2nd and 3rd will engage but wait it is not shifting to 4th. So what I understand that Fly is saying is that instead of moving the leaver up and down from D to D3 to D2 you just press a button.

I'm sure this is what Fly is trying to explain.

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Why is this so hard for you to understand what Fly is trying to say? Are you actually reading what Fly is writing?

It’s an automatic that is supposed to work like an automatic. Is your CTS an auto? If it is, you put it in 3rd when you are stopped, you start to accelerate and what happens? 1st, 2nd and 3rd will engage but wait it is not shifting to 4th. So what I understand that Fly is saying is that instead of moving the leaver up and down from D to D3 to D2 you just press a button.

I'm sure this is what Fly is trying to explain.

My CTS is a 6-speed manual. No matter what gear I put it in, it STAYS THERE until I decide to shift. That is what I like about a traditional manual, and also what I like about an automatic's "manual shift" mode.

Oh, I understand what Fly is trying to say.....but my point is....it's wasted effort. Everyone else on this heaven's green earth is giving their consumers a manual shift mode (either a side gate off the normal shift gate, or paddles, or whatever) that allows the consumer true manual control.

GM's system doesn't offer this....and as a result, is still behind the times (compared to what most, if not all, competitors offer.)

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