Buick is celebrating its 110th birthday. A quick trip down memory lane brings back such iconic models as Century, Roadmaster, Skylark, Riviera and Regal. The new era of Buick features a new Regal as well as a LaCrosse, an Enclave, and now – an Encore.
Yes, Buick’s newest member of the fold is also its smallest, entering the staid brand into the subcompact crossover market with a new American entry with global DNA.
The 2013 Buick Encore is built in GM’s Korean theater but is designed to appeal to consumers who may still be hesitant to venture over to “that side” of the General’s showrooms.
Encore is a five-passenger premium crossover that shares its architecture with the Trax from Chevy and is offered in front- or all-wheel drive models. It is powered by a peppy turbocharged Ecotec 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine boasting 138hp and 148 lb. ft. of torque that is mated to a smooth six-speed automatic gearbox.
I would not want to cram five adults into the little Encore but four will ride in comfort thanks to a host of amenities common to modern Buick vehicles, and while being offered in several trim levels Buick brought us the Premium model for our week behind the wheel.
While Encore’s stunted appearance may appeal to the younger, more urban crowd, boomers (a.k.a. grandparents) will enjoy it as a vehicle that is easy to get in and out of while being a breeze to drive, offering very good fuel economy while still being able to fit birthday and holiday gifts in the back to spoil the dickens out of the grandbabies (or each other).
Buick has been enjoying success with the Enclave fullsize crossover utility and many will think of Encore is the “shrunken head” edition of that vehicle. I believe that is a fair analogy as little is skimped in the way of content from Enclave to Encore.
Encore offers Buick’s full host of safety technologies including Stabilitrak stability control, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, remote keyless entry with panic alarm, full host of airbags including side curtains, four-wheel disc ABS braking with cornering brake control and brake assist, tire pressure monitor, front and rear ultrasonic parking assist and rear vision camera system.
All models are built with Buick’s Quiet Tuning materials to dampen the outside world once you are nestled in to the leather interior and Encore is the first Buick to get new Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology that uses the audio system to help cancel out unwanted noises. There is even a heated steering wheel for those colder mornings when the circulation in your extremities needs a little boost.
Technology standouts include the digital driver information center, steering wheel controls, remote vehicle starting system (my mom’s fave) and color display radio with seven-inch monitor screen, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and auxiliary inputs and, of course, OnStar. The tester gracing our driveway also included navigation and chromed aluminum 18-inch wheels.
The 2013 Buick Encore is quite maneuverable and the little turbo engine provides a decent amount of pep when passing slower vehicles or entering freeways. Despite its small size, this little crossover offers a comfortable ride.
Pricing for the Encore begins at just under 25 grand with our Premium tester starting at $28,190 and arriving at $31,475 thanks to a few add-ons. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.
Hmm, last week I wrote about the new Hyundai Azera being so “Buicky.” With this new Encore subcompact crossover we see Buick looking more “Hyundai-ish.” Funny.