By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.6
The 2014 Buick Encore SUV takes the division into uncharted waters, wading into a crowded pool of compact crossovers, but with a level of luxury and sophistication uncommon in this class. Buick hopes its miniaturized Enclave will appeal to style-conscious youth, as well as empty nesters hoping to downsize, but not downgrade, their ride. With room for five, the Encore should accommodate most needs, and its turbocharged engine is both peppy and easy on fuel. The big question is, will buyers shell out the $25,000-35,000 premium when cars like the Kia Soul offer many of the same features for far less money? Buick doesn't seem to be worried. It views the Encore's key competitors as more upscale rides such as the Mini Countryman and Mazda CX-5.
Those who subscribe to the axiom "good things come in small packages" will have their beliefs validated by the 2014 Buick Encore. Front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), a long list of available equipment, and an inviting interior design make this Buick the Cadillac of compact SUVS.
There are plenty of eye-catching compact SUVs out there, many with more power under the hood than the Encore. If a low price or the need to tow is a must, it's best to cross the Encore off your list.
New options for 2014 include Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert, both of which are included in the Convenience package.
Driving Impressions As a crossover SUV with global aspirations, the 2014 Buick Encore platform has been tweaked and tuned for a world market that demands a firm suspension, precise steering and minimal...... body roll. To this equation, Buick has added its own modifications giving the Encore a ride better aligned with American tastes, but without sacrificing any of the car's handling or cornering ability. A stiff frame and advanced sound deadening technology result in a cabin well isolated from the road noise typically generated by rushing wind and the Encore's big 18-inch wheel/tire combo. As for caveats, the Encore's 1.4-liter EcoTec engine 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 (AWD)
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 interior of the 2014 Buick Encore shows significant thought went into both its design and detail, with the same upscale ambiance found in Buick's larger sedans and SUVs. The Encore's interior is further complemented by an even more sophisticated variation on the Quiet Tuning theme. Whether rendered in cloth and leatherette or available leather, the cabin offers room for five with a 60/40 split rear bench that accommodates two average-sized adults plus a kid in the center spot. A 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
From its signature Buick waterfall grille and faux portholes to the painted lower body panels, the Encore for 2014 puts a 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 and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 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 for 2014, 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 some 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)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2014 Buick Encore starts right around $25,000. Moving up the line, the Encore Convenience opens around $25,800, the Encore Leather commands close to $27,500 and the Encore Premium commences just below $29,000. All-wheel drive on any version will add $1,500, and a fully-loaded top-line Encore will hit the street close to $34,000. Although not the lowest priced among its competitive set, the Encore does become a far more compelling value when you factor in its more extensive roster of standards in each trim grade, including features like IntelliLink telematics, Active Noise Cancellation and a rear-view camera, not to mention potential savings in fuel costs. To make your best deal on a new 2014 Buick Encore, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their car.
By Duane4ta on Thursday, February 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beauty, Comfort..EZ to Drive, EZ on the GAS..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I looked long & hard @ ALL smaller SUV'S. I prefer to 'sit' high in my CAR. I test-drove many many similiar SUV's. NONE of them 'handled' like my ENCORE...Quiet ? YOU don't know quiet...until you stepped-in...lol I wanted Leather & ALL the 'goodies' & FWD. When 'comparing' prices w/ all the others..The BUICK is the SAME PRICE as any of them 'similiarly' equipped. You couldn't PRY this guy outta my hands...+ the 'added' BONUS ? My DEALER turns out to have EXCELLENT SERVICE TOO!..."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Kevin on Friday, February 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, quiet inside, good mpg, cargo space"
Cons: "slightly under powered"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"So far I absolutely love this car. Many of the reviews mention the fact that it is a bit under powered....which is true to a certain extent but overall I think it has plenty of power for day to day use. If you're the type that likes to know they have plenty of power in "reserve" than maybe you should considering a different vehicle. The interior is well layed out and has a quality look and feel to it. It is also fun to drive while being extremely quiet inside. Good cargo room as well. So far the Encore has met all my expectations. As far as long term reliability..only time will tell."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Shay on Tuesday, February 03, 2015
I don't own this caroverall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have this vehicle as a long term rental from the company I work for. I have had this SUV since Nov (3 months) I have driven this SUV mostly highway miles and the odometer is at 5k. In no way have I abused this vehicle and it was never in an accident. I had my dislikes of some things but now it shakes violently at 50mph so I need to return it not that I will be upset to see it go. I am hoping my review will save someone money in repairs. Lets start off with the shaking. When I received the vehicle it had a noise in the back end and some vibration I assumed this was normal since it was brand new. This vehicle has seen snow which caused some bumpy/icy terrain. Just after this last snow storm I noticed it shaking more. On my way home that same day the shaking came to a point where I couldn't talk without it sounding like someone was patting my back constantly. The gas petal shakes, the steering wheel wobbles and vibrates, the whole SUV vibrates once 50mph is reached and worsens as you go faster. Not a good thing. If it's the alignment/tires it's pretty sad for them to get out of alignment like this after a few snow storms. (If I let go of the wheel it doesn't pull) When I get a AWD I expect it to be able to handle these road conditions. This could also be an idle or a transmission problem. (Looking into the issue on forums previous models of this vehicle shows a history of having the shakes. It seems Buick has not fixed the issue in 2015) Other things I disliked: Transmission slips. Never before have I red lined an automatic unless it was old and about to drop the transmission. It has difficulty shifting on its own and I need to drop it into the manual function to tell it to shift sometimes. Side Detection System Unavailable message. This pops up in the center screen from time to time while driving. Nice to know I can't rely on this safety feature. Storage space is very minimal. All of my equipment that fit in the trunk of a Camry does not fit in this SUV. I had to decrease my equipment by half. Apparently cars have more storage space. The speedometer. It only displays 10's in large numbers. If you want 5's you have to look at the small chrome rim around the speedometer that is extremely difficult to read while driving. Also while the needle points at 80 cruise control tells me I'm going 75 hmmmm... Back up camera in a bad spot. It always gets dirty or gets rain drops on it and I can't see out of it. I have to get out and clean it off if I want to use it. Banana shaped seats. I feel like the seat has an unnatural curvature to them causing me to hunch over in the seat. Comfy for a banana but not very uncomfortable for me. I like to keep my back straight. Difficult to change the settings. I had to actually read the manual to figure out how to turn silly features off such as the volume not allowing it to be past 15 when the SUV is started. It still defaults to radio every time and I have to manually switch it to Bluetooth every time. Why does it not save my preference? Also doesn't save my preference to have the fog lights on so I have to turn those on every time I get in too. Useless windshield wipers. I cannot lift them up before a snow storm they won't budge and I'm afraid if I pull harder they will break off. It has that complex where one is longer than the other. They get ice covered either during the storm or while you are driving since the defroster doesn't hit them at all. The melted snow/ice from your windshield or road gets on them and all you get while driving is ice scraping across the windshield and making things worse. I either have to deal with the lack of visibility or get out and clean the windshield off myself. Lack of Center console. I like to keep things I may need handy in here. Why did Buick even bother with the 4x2 inch hole with a sliding top. Nothing fits in it. Things I liked: AWD handles well in the snow. It doesn't slide much and with some better tires then what it came with I think it would drive well in the snow if snow didn't break it. If snow is deeper than 8 inches I wouldn't bother trying to drive it since parts under the SUV will start plowing/dragging in the snow. The screen on the dash while not touch screen is placed higher up allowing easier use while driving. Remote Start. The only reason I picked this vehicle I'm sure this is the base model however it still has remote start. Very handy in the winter months. Conclusion If you are of 65+ years old, live in a place where its always sunny with great road conditions, and don't mind having to get repairs on a brand new vehicle this SUV could work for you. If not I would look at other options."
19 people out of 28 found this review helpful