Niagara Gazette

Z_CNHI News Service

December 2, 2013

Buick Encore fits luxury amenities into small package

There was a time when the Buick logo out front was synonymous with big fenders out back and enough room inside to seat eight people and their luggage. The Riviera and Electra nameplates were all the rage.

Today the General Motors product line has dwindled, and the Buick Encore is one of the smallest sub-compact SUVs on the road.

New this year, the Encore offers upscale amenities in a small package with high-end fuel economy at an affordable price.

The Encore is similar in size to the less expensive Nissan Juke and more expensive BMW X1, and it's nearly 10 inches shorter than a Toyota RAV4 by comparison.

Standing at 65 inches tall and 14 feet long, its looks are deceiving. Inside the cabin, the Encore feels larger, and the ride is surprisingly agile with road noise muffled and suspension somewhat firm.

Encore can be ordered in four trim levels: Base, Convenience, Leather and Premium Groups. Each is available with front- or all-wheel drive. Pricing starts in the mid- to high-20's, depending on your thirst for options.

The test car, a Premium Group edition, came loaded with leather, climate control, Bluetooth, On Star with mobile apps, lane departure warning, remote start and a heated steering wheel. Just as impressive, the Encore delivered on its EPA mileage estimates and then some, making it a real bargain at the pump.

All Encore models are powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine tied to a six-speed automatic transmission.

While no racer, the Encore holds highway speed in a quiet and capable manner. About the only way to tell there is a four-cylinder under the hood is on the way up to highway speed; it's a chore for the small engine pulling the Encore's 3,200 pounds.

A noise leveling Bose sound system, together with tuning tweaks and sound deadening material, helps keep down the noise level. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph took 9.3 seconds, about average for this size SUV.

Attractive styling with standard 18-inch wheels gives the Encore curb appeal over rivals Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and the VW Tiguan.

A look around the interior shows generous use of soft touch material and metallic accents with good head room and leg room for four adults. The Encore sits high off the ground and provides a perch that SUV drivers are familiar with but that sedan owners will find attractive for ease of entry and exit.   

Rear cargo space reaches 48 cubic feet with fold-flat rear seats lowered; it's just under 19 cubic feet with seats in their upright position.

With 10 standard air bags, rear vision camera on all models and an available suite of safety technology, the Encore is a real standout. In its first year, it has recorded strong sales matching its longstanding competition.

If you are interested in this size SUV, be sure to include the Buick on a test drive along with its imported competition. It might be enough to sway you into buying domestic.

Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist. Contact him at lenscarcorner@ptd.net

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page