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2015 Buick Encore

Overview
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2015 Buick Encore Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.5

The 2015 Buick Encore compact crossover SUV departs from the division’s image as a big luxury-car manufacturer by offering younger buyers something worthy of their hard-earned dollars. The 5-door Encore SUV may be small, but its stylish exterior and lavish interior place it in league with such popular makes as the Mini Countryman and Mazda CX-5. This bodes well not just for first-time Buick buyers, but also empty nesters looking to downsize without giving up comfort, value and need for AWD. Named the Best Compact Crossover in KBB’s 5-Year Cost to Own segment for 2014, the Encore has proven its worth long-term, which may help some swallow the Encore’s $25,000-$35,000 price range, a significant premium over the Kia Soul or Nissan Cube.

You'll Like This Car If...

Small doesn’t have to mean skimpy. The 2015 Buick Encore SUV may be compact, but its bold appearance, long list of luxury and electronic trappings and modern drivetrain make it an exceptionally good value.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don’t need AWD, there are a number of cool compact wagons and SUVs on the market, many with starting prices at or below $20,000. The Encore can’t go off-road, so if you need real SUV ability Subaru’s XV Crosstrek or the Jeep Renegade is probably a better choice.

What's New for 2015

For 2015, Buick’s compact Encore SUV gains OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

Driving the Encore
Driving Impressions

The 2015 Encore may be a Buick, but its underpinnings are shared with a number of GM vehicles worldwide. As such, the original suspension settings are firmer than what most...

... Americans expect, so Buick has tweaked the Encore’s ride so that it won’t jar anyone’s idea of how a Buick should behave. As one might expect from a premium compact crossover SUV, the Buick Encore delivers exceptional ride and handling characteristics, and its little 1.4-liter EcoTec turbocharged engine delivers power when needed while still returning near class-leading fuel economy. Substantial soundproofing pays off, as the Encore’s cabin seems to ignore noise generated by the big wheel/tire combo, as well as the wind rushing over its sleek skin. Acceleration does bog down a bit when AWD is part of the equation. The same goes for when the passenger count begins to exceed two people.

QUIET TUNING WITH ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION
Foam padding and Quiet Tuning engineering will only take a small car so far, which is why Buick has added Active Noise Cancellation circuitry to the 2015 Encore’s army of noise-abating options. Sound-canceling waves are pumped through the car’s speakers, countering unwanted noise.

“ACTIVE ON-DEMAND” ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Buick’s Active On-Demand AWD system engages automatically when it senses the wheels are slipping or when the vehicle stops, ensuring maximum traction and smooth starts. Once the front wheels regain traction, the system slowly reverts to front-wheel drive (FWD), promoting better fuel economy.

2015 Buick Encore Details
2015 Buick Encore photo Interior

The interior of the 2015 Buick Encore SUV 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
2015 Buick Encore photo

From its signature Buick waterfall grille and faux portholes to the painted lower body panels, the Encore compact SUV for 2015 puts a contemporary spin on each of these elements to create a package that’s skewed toward 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 skidplates and an 18-inch wheel/tire fitment add a bit more aggressive flair to the overall mix.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The well-equipped base Encore has air conditioning, Buick IntelliLink telematics with a 7.0-inch touch screen, a tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control, a power driver’s seat, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hot spot and a rearview camera. The Encore Convenience trim adds dual-zone climate control, remote starting and fog lights and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, while the Encore Leather trim brings 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.

Optional Equipment

Largely prepackaged within its base/Convenience/Leather/Premium hierarchy, the 2015 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.

Under the Hood

Every version of the Buick Encore compact crossover SUV for 2015, whether FWD or AWD, 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)

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