Crossover of the Year - Buick Enclave
by Martha Hindes
As people have expanded their uses for the
cars and trucks they drive, it was inevitable
those vehicles would change to accommodate
drivers' needs. A need for versatility
spawned the development of crossover vehicles,
similar to the wagons that preceded them.
In this vehicle category that has been
growing faster than any other, there are
many contenders for the crown. However,
one crossover stood above the rest. The
Buick Enclave was awarded top honors as
the 2008 ICOTY Most Versatile Crossover/Wagon.
Buick isn't modest in stating why it won. Quieter than the luxury crossovers it was designed to overtake, the Enclave puts an American stamp on a decidedly international premium segment. Power comes from a 275-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 variable valve timing (VVT) engine with Buick's first-ever, six-speed automatic transmission. It earns 16 city/24 highway mpg in front wheel drive and 16/22 mpg for an all-wheel-drive that Buick calls best in class. Roomy inside, the Enclave is safe during driving thanks to its rollover mitigation technology as part of the StabiliTrak electronic stability control. The Enclave also adds Turn-by-Turn voice guided navigation through GM's OnStar system. Premium sound, rear seat DVD, navigation system with backup camera and remote start are available beyond the base prices in the low to mid $30,000 range.
Outside the Enclave offers a smoothly elegant exterior with a new signature waterfall black chrome grille. Unique among amenities are a fold-flat second row console that leaves a level load floor in its place. The front row armrest slides back to reveal a pull out tray over a deep storage bin. For purists, there an exclusively Buick touch â€” front fender portholes.
You'd expect a vehicle from Volvo to be sturdy, capable and impervious to the weather. Add in adaptable, luxurious and fun and you have the Volvo XC70. The XC70 is the off-road specialist in the Volvo line of safety-conscious vehicles, a challenge that's been tested by some enthusiasts who tried to make it go airborne at speed over barely passable roads. That's not something Volvo recommends. It does, however, approve steep ascents and descents, safely managed with Volvo's Hill Descent Control, standard all-wheel drive and spunky 3.2-liter inline six (15/22 mpg). All the safety functions aren't limited to driving either. A rear gate sensor prevents smashed fingers when closing, while infants get a two-stage child seat that grows with them. Such versatility in this $37,000 premium crossover earns our honors.
In introducing its Rogue crossover Nissan didn't fudge on its intentions. This vehicle's dual purpose was to appeal to individual emotions as well as to functional needs. With that said, the Rogue has not only taken a stand but has won honorable mention status in the 2008 ICOTY Crossover - Most Versatile segment. With supple lines that taper from the hood into the front fascia and belying interior space, the Rogue looks as if it is in motion while standing still. The window line lifts up and rearward, tapering to meet the roofline in back. Body lines are smooth with only slight hints of flares above the wheels. It has a stance that matches the 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four with "Intuitive All-Wheel-Drive" system offering fuel economy of 22 city/27 highway mpg. With a talent for spunky driving, we think Rogue is a fitting name for this stylish newcomer.