Auto Review: 2014 Buick Encore

2014 Buick Encore

Buick's "Fun-sized" crossover vehicle aims to create it's own market niche - the compact luxury crossover utility vehicle.
Buick's "Fun-sized" crossover vehicle aims to create it's own market niche - the compact luxury crossover utility vehicle. | Source

Introduction to Buick Encore

When Buick introduced the Encore for the 2013 model year, they used the term "right-sized," to describe its combination of interior spaciousness with compact exterior dimensions. I like to consider it "fun-sized," like those tiny little bite-size candy bars that parents hand out to trick-or-treaters at Halloween. Marketed primarily to a mixture of young professionals, recent college grads, and their empty-nest parents, the Encore offers attractively funky styling with a size that makes getting around the city extremely easy. Priced competitively and offering a wealth of luxury appointments not found in the competition, Encore combines fun, nimble driving with Buick's signature quiet ride and higher-than-expected level of quality into a very compelling argument to shop GM for your next little urban grocery-getter.

Buick Encore Interior

The dashboard is clean and neat, with more than enough functionality to allow the driver to customize their driving experience to their preference
The dashboard is clean and neat, with more than enough functionality to allow the driver to customize their driving experience to their preference | Source
Encore's dash offers ice-blue lighting and a clear, uncluttered view of vital information
Encore's dash offers ice-blue lighting and a clear, uncluttered view of vital information | Source
Encore interior offers a very comfortable ride and luxury appointments for a compact crossover vehicle
Encore interior offers a very comfortable ride and luxury appointments for a compact crossover vehicle | Source
Encore's back seat folds flat, 60/40 to allow larger items to be carried - up to 48.4 cubic feet in all
Encore's back seat folds flat, 60/40 to allow larger items to be carried - up to 48.4 cubic feet in all | Source
Encore's rear storage area features a stowable vanity cover to block valuables from view
Encore's rear storage area features a stowable vanity cover to block valuables from view | Source

Equipment and Features

Encore aims to create an entirely new market segment: the compact luxury utility vehicle, and comes nicely equipped even in base trim. Items such as 4 wheel antilock disc brakes, full range traction control, StabiliTrak, rearview camera system, steering-wheel mounted controls for phone and audio, 6-way power drivers seat, ice-blue ambient interior lilghting, cruise control, tilt/telescope steering wheel, Bluetooth, Buick's QuietTuning noise reduction technology, Bose active noise cancellation and Buick's IntelliLink AM/FM/SiriusXM stereo with 7" LED color screen, CD player, USB, aux audio input, 10 airbags and OnStar system are standard on all Encore models. Options are grouped into packages, such as Convenience Group, Leather Group and Premium Group, with each offering their own mix of luxury features above and beyond what the base model offers. Available options featured in these packages include leather interior, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, remote start, heated seats, heated steering wheel, 120-volt power outlet and premium audio system, among others. All wheel drive, navigation system and sunroof are available options for all option groups.


The only available powerplant is a 1.4 liter, turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque at 1850rpm and gives the Encore a very respectable fuel economy rating of 25 city/33 hwy. Those who opt for the all wheel drive option will of course give up a few mpg, but will still enjoy a very frugal 23 city/30hwy. Power is transferred to the wheels through a 6 speed automatic transmission and 0-60 times run in the mid-9 second range. Towing is not recommended.

Cargo volume for Encore is a generous 48 cubic feet. Encore seats up to 5 and can fit items up to 8 feet long with the seats folded flat.

Buick Encore Styling Close-Up

6 speed automatic transmission wit driver shift control allows versatility and gets the engine's 138hp where they need to be
6 speed automatic transmission wit driver shift control allows versatility and gets the engine's 138hp where they need to be | Source
Buick's signature "waterfall" grill marks a distinctive luxury touch to Encore's profile
Buick's signature "waterfall" grill marks a distinctive luxury touch to Encore's profile | Source
Halogen composite projector beam headlamps with blue translucent ring mirrors the interior ambient lighting accent
Halogen composite projector beam headlamps with blue translucent ring mirrors the interior ambient lighting accent | Source

Buick Encore Styling Impression

Buick clearly intends the Encore to target a younger demographic than their usual, and it shows. While it carries certain trademarks that clue observers into the Encore's Buick heritage - most notably the "portholes" on the hood and Buick's trademark "waterfall" grill - this little runabout is most definitely marketed to a younger crowd. The hip, funky lines would look right at home dodging city traffic or hopping across town to run an errand or pick up some greens from the Whole Foods. This car takes square aim at competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-5, and its styling is right on the mark.

Buick Encore Driving Impression

Available in either front- or all-wheel-drive, Encore makes a very willing partner for around town excursions. The turbocharged 1.4 liter engine scoots the Encore along easily, though this is no race car - and it was never intended to be. The Encore knows its mission: compact urban warrior. The wheelbase is short, at just 100.6 inches and the turning radius is notably tight, at 36.7 feet, allowing for quick and nimble maneuvers on crowded city streets and in tight parking lots. The short overhang front and rear allow for easy parallel parking while the broad windows and raised seating position minimize blind spots and make lane changes a cinch.

Encore's fun, funky lines and rounded contours create a playful, youthful appearance
Encore's fun, funky lines and rounded contours create a playful, youthful appearance | Source

Wrap-Up: Buick Encore

Introducing a new car model is tricky. Introducing a new car model with the ultimate goal of creating an entirely new market segment is a very gutsy move, to say the least, but Buick seems well-prepared as they go all-in with the Encore. This car has a bubbly, fun sense of style, distinctive looks and sure-footed, nimble handling, combined with Buick's upscale luxury touches, trend-setting technology and five-star safety rating to make Encore a safe bet for anyone looking to get into a compact crossover without having to sacrifice comfort and style.

Buick Encore First Impressions by MotorWeek

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About the Author

Dan Petreikis is a professional Sales Consultant at Harbor Buick/GMC in Portage, IN. He is an independent writer and reviewer for HubPages, maintains several blogs and has written articles for Yahoo! Voices among other sites. He currently lives in Chicago, but can often be found lurking the aisles at Harbor Buick, assisting customers.

© 2013 Daniel Petreikis

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