By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
A well-mannered, well-finished compact crossover SUV that goes on sale in February, the 2013 Buick Encore expands the division's reach into an entirely new market segment. Intended to capture the hearts and minds of both younger urban buyers as well as empty nesters that want a versatile vehicle but no longer need an Enclave-scaled SUV with seating for seven, the 5-passenger Encore matches premium character with an accommodating interior and attractive pricing. Powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Encore delivers exceptional fuel economy in both front-wheel-drive (FWD) and available all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations. Collectively, those admirable qualities should serve it well against key rivals like the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Mini Countryman, Nissan Rogue and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Fans of basic Buick panache will find plenty to favor in the new Encore, thanks to its combination of refinement and comfort complemented by a bounty of standard/available features, solid value orientation and outstanding fuel economy.
Some will find alternatives with more horsepower preferable to any potential fuel-economy gains the Encore has to offer. This new Buick's lack of a tow rating also may be a deal breaker for those who demand a vehicle with light-duty trailering capabilities.
Armed with an attractive package that Buick believes will appeal to a wide range of both the young and younger-thinking mature buyers, the Encore provides the automaker with a more than competitive entry in the hot-and-growing compact crossover SUV arena.
Driving Impressions Spun from GM's small global small-crossover platform, the Buick Encore's solid core structure, well-sorted suspension and electrically boosted power steering endow it with a confident and well-controlled feel that properly...complements its quiet, comfortable passenger compartment. This enlightened chassis tuning delivers a smooth ride in cruise mode and keeps body roll well in check when negotiating corners while the Encore's generously proportioned 215/55 low-rolling-resistance tires – on 18-inch alloy wheels – serve up a surprisingly high level of grip. As for caveats, the 1.4-liter EcoTec engine in this versatile Buick hauler proved quite capable of holding its own in city traffic and freeway running, but the added mass of the all-wheel-drive system does impact its enthusiasm, particularly when the passenger count rises or on sustained uphill runs.
QUIET TUNING WITH ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION
In addition to the benefitting from Buick's highly-efficient Quiet Tuning regimen, the Encore introduces a new element to the mix: Active Noise Cancellation circuitry that effectively filters out low-frequency engine sounds to ensure an even more serene passenger compartment.
"ACTIVE ON-DEMAND" ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Available on all Encore variants, this computer-controlled AWD system automatically engages the all-wheel drive as surface conditions dictate as well as each time the vehicle stops to ensure smoother off-the-line acceleration. If no slip is present, it progressively disengages to promote better fuel economy.
The Encore's passenger compartment displays the same kind of upscale ambiance and Buick character cues found in all of the division's latest offerings – packaging that's effectively complemented by an even more sophisticated variation on the Quiet Tuning theme. Whether rendered in cloth and leatherette or available leather, the well-finished, well-appointed cabin rich in soft-touch surfaces offers room for five with a 60/40 split rear bench that accommodates two average-sized adults plus a kid in the center spot. The Encore's large hatch provides easy access to its 18.8-cubic-foot cargo bay, which expands to 48.4 cubic feet with the aft seatbacks folded.Exterior
A bastion of 21st century Buick styling cues – from its waterfall grille and faux portholes to painted lower body panels – the new Encore puts a more contemporary spin on each of these elements to create a package that's skewed towards a more youthful, progressive mind-set. The Encore's highly sculpted bodywork and a tasteful assortment of bright accent bits are effectively set off by prominent blue-accented projector beam headlights and LED-infused taillights. Brushed-aluminum faux front/rear skid plates and an 18-inch wheel/tire fitment add a bit more aggressive flair to the overall mix.
The well-equipped base Encore includes numerous power assists, air conditioning, Buick IntelliLink telematics with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control, a power driver's seat, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, and more. The Encore Convenience trim level adds dual-zone climate control, remote starting and fog lights, while the Encore Leather trim nets the obvious plus heated front bucket seats/steering wheel, a power passenger seat and driver-seat memory. The top-line Encore Premium boasts Bose audio, front/rear park assist and Forward Collision Alert/Lane Departure Warning. All models feature StabiliTrak, OnStar with six months of Directions and Connections and 10 airbags.
Largely prepackaged within its base/Convenience/Leather/Premium hierarchy, the Buick Encore does offer several individual extras. All but the base model can be fitted with a GPS-enabled navigation system, a power sunroof, an oil-pan heater and 18-inch chrome-alloy wheels as well as the 7-speaker premium Bose Audio system – which is already included in the Encore Premium kit.
Every version of the Buick Encore, whether front-drive or all-wheel drive, shares the same basic powertrain. The engine is GM's familiar 1.4-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. Here, it's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that features manual-style shifting capabilities via a lever-mounted rocker switch on front-drive Encore models. The combination yields respectable acceleration and impressive EPA figures for a vehicle of its type, with front-drive Encores earning 25 mpg/33 mpg stats on the city/highway cycles and AWD models netting 23/30 mpg numbers. To complement its mileage-maxing prowess, the engine is designed to run on regular gasoline, not the premium grade required by many of the Encore's chief rivals.
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 mpg (FWD), 23/33 mpg (AWD)
By Sylvia Krystal on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety Features, luxury amenities,"
Cons: "Need larger center storage bin."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car/SUV is getting more attention and has more features than the Mercedes and BMW's that my fiends own. The safety features are abundant and the luxury amenities are stress relieving. The AWD handles extremely well in the NorthEast winter weather. I just Love everything about this SUV."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By kellykelly on Monday, January 12, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "High end feel, great ride, well trimmed, good mpg"
Cons: "silly arm rest, no garage button, doesn't speak TX"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After downsizing from a Saturn Outlook (which is basically the GMC Acadia) to a KIA soul I was ready for something upscale but with good gas mileage. After looking at the several vehicles Cherokee, Rogue, Escape) I went with the Buick Encore Leather Trim FWD with Navigation and am sooo glad I did! Granted I got the GM Employee price which helped with my decision but after 2 months and 2500 miles I am still happy. I was concerned about reviewers stating that the little engine was underpowered and that held me off for a bit but honestly I find that when I step on it the little car moves. I am not planning on drag racing down the streets so I think it has plenty of power. No problem passing on the highway etc. However I have never gotten better than 30 mpg even on highway. But I am cruising along at 75...+ soooooo that may be a factor. It IS SMALL. But I will say that it rides similar to my Mom's Enclave. I don't know if it is the bigger tires or what but I feel like I am riding in a bigger car. Even passengers have commented on the smooth ride. I am 5'10'' and fluffy :) and I find the seats very comfortable, love the lumbar and heated seats. However, if anyone had to sit behind me they would not have much room for their knees. For a single person or couple that don't usually have people in the back it is perfect. I get complements everywhere on the looks - drive through window (I have the saddle leather... awesome!), mechanics, people walking across the parking lot, etc. I have only 4 gripes and they are really pretty minor in order of most annoying to least 1) I can not lay down the back seat flat AND keep my seat in the position I prefer to drive it is just to tight. You probably can force it but I hear the electric seat motor straining a bit to push the seat back and am not going to risk damaging that sexy leather. Not a problem for short jaunts, I can move the seat up and manage, but hauling dogs 500 miles I had to forgo laying the seat down for driving position. 2) No garage door opener button - what? even my mid range Kia had that? Kinda funny but not a biggy 3) What is up with that silly arm rest? Really Buick? There has to be a better alternative the thing makes the car look cheap and is practically useless. 4) The Voice recognition does not understand TEXAN! Haha seriously I can't get it to ever understand me - oh well if anyone knows the trick for that let me know."
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Charles on Wednesday, December 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Electronics, and driver alerts. Good mileage."
Cons: "Brakes squeak when wet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded in a 10 year old Trailblazer 4x4, that got 16 mpg, on the Encore. I first bought a 2013 convenience group. As I am disabled I was having problems sliding in on the cloth seat. It had about 4,500 miles on it when I sat in a model with leather seats. I found I could slide in on the leather seat easily. I told my salesman when the 2014 model comes out I want to trade the one I had for a 2014 with leather seats. I did so and got the Premium front wheel drive model. The only problem I have with it is the brakes squeak when there is moisture on the pads."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By JustinA on Sunday, December 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, goood gas milage"
Cons: "Dealers and quality are not up to par"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"We had a lot of issues with the dealer that sold us this car. They were pretty shady and underhanded. That really turned me off from the start. The vehicle is easy to drive and gets good gas milage. It's definitely not a speed machine. We have had issues with the turbo now since we bought it. The noise is so loud that you can't hear the radio inside when driving. I have had it in to 2 different dealers to fix it and they say nothing is wrong with it. I can't believe it supposed to run like that, I assume it's not. It's so loud that passengers we have had in the car with us made comments about it, so I know I am not being picky here (that's if you can hear them making comments over the noise). It's a good car, but I probably would not buy another Buick again after this experience. Other car manufacturers are doing a much better job and delivery and quality."
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By FW on Sunday, November 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,375overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Can zip around very nicely. Very well equipped."
Cons: "No power lift gate and no garage door opener."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"It has taken me quite a long time to get used to the smallness because me previous vehicle was a Buick Lucerne. It is a little small but is easy to drive. I have a bad shoulder and the lack of a power lift gate is making me have to trade it in for something with one. Also, when people are sitting in the back seat the headrests go up, cutting the visibility down 1/4 on each side of the rear window. I was surprised that there was no built in garage door opener. If they put a power lift gate on a future Encore I would definitely purchase it."
11 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Cooche on Monday, November 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,250overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Car is leased--intend to buy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is on a 2 year lease. Absolutely no problems and very low milage. Intend to refinance this car and lower my monthly payments."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful