A New Addition to the Buick Brand
The Buick Encore is the latest vehicle to join the luxury brand’s line up. Now Buick has a luxury compact crossover to compliment the super popular seven-passenger Enclave, which helped to revive the Buick brand several years ago.
The five-passenger Encore is a segment buster. Buick has created an entirely new segment with this vehicle. The Encore is about the same size as the Nissan JUKE. Unlike the JUKE, this Encore offers premium class features. The Encore is designed for folks looking for a vehicle that is about the height of a luxury sports utility, but in a manageable, compact package. Like all Buicks, the Encore contains a waterfall grille, chrome accents and Buick’s signature portholes on the hood of the vehicle.
Typically, luxury features in a crossover have been reserved for larger, pricier vehicles. According to the folks at Buick and industry experts, the compact crossover segment is expected to grow by more than 360,000 units by 2015. Although the Encore is the first in this class, we expect more luxury compact crossovers to join the field.
Encores are currently arriving at dealerships.
The Encore is available in a variety of trim levels. Pricing for the vehicle starts out near $25,000 and tops out at around $33,000, when fully loaded. The Encore is available in a front wheel drive and an all-wheel drive configuration.
What Makes This A Premium Class Vehicle
The Encore features the same quiet, comfortable, refined characteristics that define larger Buicks. Like all Buicks, the Encore is outfitted with the brand’s signature QuietTuning feature, which includes an acoustically treated headliner, sound-absorbing materials in the cabin, aero-optimized outside mirrors, an acoustic-laminated windshield and foam baffles insulating openings of the vehicle.
In addition to the QuietTuning feature, all Encores are equipped with a rearview camera, cloth seats, power driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors and the brand’s IntlelliLink system, which includes a 7-inch high-resolution screen with voice recognition, Bluetooth phone compatibility and Pandora access.
And to enhance the overall experience of this luxury crossover, most Encores are available with a heated steering wheel, leather seats, a navigation system, dual zone climate controls, heated leather seats, a power passenger seat, memory presets for the driver’s seat, a lane departure warning system, a forward-collision alert system, a front-and-rear park assist system, rain-activated wipers and a premium class seven-speaker Bose sound system.
Moreover, the ride and handling characteristics are what we’ve come to expect of a Buick. The Encore suspension system soaks up the road without bouncing around.
A pint size luxury package should also mean that this vehicle sips less fuel. According to fueleconomy.gov, the Encore is outfitted with just one engine, a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. The engine produces 25 miles in the city and 33 miles on the highway.
This five-passenger utility vehicle offers 48.4-cubic feet of storage space, with the rear seat folded, making this one spacious vehicle. And when the rear seat is in use, the cargo space drops to 18.4 cubic feet.
While we are impressed with this cozy compact luxury crossover, there are a few interior items Buick should consider reworking. For instance, the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat, when applicable, should be a fully functionally power seat. Currently, the seat is a hybrid, making up both a manual and power seat. Furthermore, the slender front center armrest is designed for the driver only. Buick engineers should consider adding an armrest attachment to the passenger or either a fully integrated a center armrest to substitute for the driver’s armrest.
Lastly, the Encore’s lacks a push-button keyless starter system. A traditional key is still need to start the vehicle.
Buick offers the typical new car luxury warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles.
We only spent a few hours behind the wheel of the Encore. Look out for a more extensive review in the future, when we spend at least a week in the vehicle.
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.