Buick's brand makeover shows no signs of stopping as the car company continues its push into a wider range of product niches. The latest new automobile to be unveiled by the premium manufacturer is the 2013 Buick Encore, a compact luxury crossover that represents the smallest people mover available from the domestic car company. The Buick Encore is intended to appeal to families who might have never previously considered adding a Buick to their fleet, and it represents a unique offering in GM's U.S. portfolio with no clear companion on sale by either Chevrolet or GMC within America's borders.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Buick Encore.
01. The 2013 Buick Encore Is A Compact Crossover
The 2013 Buick Encore is the very first compact crossover ever offered by Buick, which has in the past either reserved its SUV entries strictly for the mid-size (Buick Rendezvous) or the full-size (Buick Enclave) segments. Not only is the Buick Encore considerably smaller than the only other current crossover offered by the brand (the Enclave), but it also undercuts many premium competitors with its almost subcompact footprint. The Encore is an interesting gamble from a brand that in the past has frequently subscribed to the 'bigger is better' philosophy of luxury, and indicates that models like the small Buick Verano sedan are not outliers but rather part of a cohesive strategy from the company.
02. The 2013 Buick Encore Is All New
The 2013 Buick Encore is a fresh crossover for the premium automaker that doesn't share its platform with any other members of the Buick lineup. The Buick Encore is, in fact, based on a Europe-only Opel model in terms of its chassis and overall dimensions. Despite its unique platform, the Buick Encore has been given styling that keeps it in line with the rest of its North American family members, including its large chrome grille and substantially-size headlights, and inside the careful attention to detail that has marked recent Buick cabins is also present and accounted for.
03. The 2013 Buick Encore Provides Practical Accommodations
Despite its small dimensions, the 2013 Buick Encore strives to deliver better practicality than what would be found in a similarly-sized sedan. The Buick Encore features two rows of seating and the ability to carry up to five passengers, although fitting more than two occupants across the rear row isn't ideal. Leg room and head room for all riders is reasonably generous, but those not seated up front will notice a bit of a squeeze from the sides. With that same back row out of the picture, the Encore's nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo space between the hatch and the rear seatback expands to a substantial 48.4 cubic feet, which is enough to challenge several larger crossovers as well as most compact wagons.
04. The 2013 Buick Encore Offers Turbocharged Power
The 2013 Buick Encore has been gifted with one of the latest power plants available from General Motors. The Buick Encore's exclusive drivetrain is centered around a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder mill that delivers 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, which is generous given the relatively light 3,200 lbs of curb weight that it has been tasked with hauling around. All-wheel drive is available as an option with the Encore, and a six-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox offered with the crossover. The all-wheel drive system operates on the principle of automatically sending torque to the rear wheels when a lack of traction is detected, and it also engages all four wheels when pulling away from a stop for smoother performance.
05. The 2013 Buick Encore Is Fuel Efficient
The 2013 Buick Encore's 1.4-liter engine isn't just designed to provide passing power and off-the-line grunt. The turbocharged mill also fares well when put to the efficiency test. Driven normally, the Buick Encore returns fuel mileage figures of 25-mpg in stop and go traffic and 33-mpg during highway cruising, which puts it in good company when compared to many of its rivals. It manages to deliver this frugal performance without the introduction of exotic hybrid technology, either, which helps Buick keep the vehicle's starting price reasonable.
06. The 2013 Buick Encore Can Be Had In Four Trim Levels
The 2013 Buick Encore starts out in Standard Group trim, which includes an LCD screen for the audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, a power driver's seat, manual climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Convenience Group adds a remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, and fog lights, while the Leather Group installs a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, leather upholstery, and a memory feature for the front buckets. The top-tier Premium Group features parking assistance, a lane departure warning system, forward collision alert, and rain-sensitive windshield wipers.
07. The 2013 Buick Encore Offers Several Options
The 2013 Buick Encore features a number of stand-alone options that can be installed to enhance it's already comfortable confines. The Buick Encore can be equipped with features such as a power sunroof, the IntelliLink system, a navigation system, and a Bose audio system. The features are available with the Convenience Group, Leather Group and the Premium Group trim levels, with the base Standard Group offering only an oil pan heater on its options list. A number of accessories can also be added to the Encore, such as bicycle, kayak, and luggage carriers that complement an active lifestyle, cargo nets and organizers, and upgraded floor mats to spruce up the vehicle's interior and protect its carpeting from the elements.
08. The 2013 Buick Encore Provides A Smooth, Quiet Ride
The 2013 Buick Encore is notable for the fact that unlike typical small crossover vehicles, it has been tuned to provide the level of ride quality that is expected from a modern Buick. What this means is that from the inside, the Buick Encore is as quiet as a hermetically-sealed box, with active noise cancellation drowning out unwanted intrusion from street or engine sounds into the cabin. The vehicle's suspension system balances steering feel and handling with comfort, absorbing pavement insults without disturbing occupants or introducing instability into the crossover's driving dynamics. The Encore's debut in fact marks the first time that Buick has availed itself of active noise cancellation, making it a pioneer for the brand in more ways than one.
09. The 2013 Buick Encore Features Advanced Safety Equipment
The 2013 Buick Encore is stuffed with an impressive amount of safety gear for such a small crossover. All versions of the Buick Encore feature dual forward airbags, seat-mounted side impact airbags, side curtain airbags that extend along the entire length of the vehicle's passenger compartment, and knee airbags for both the driver and the front passenger. Electronic stability control and traction control are included free of charge, as is the OnStar system with its stolen vehicle tracking service and the ability to immediately contact emergency personnel in the event of a serious accident. As mentioned above, higher trim levels of the Encore also have access to active safety equipment such as a lane departure warning system and forward collision warning.
10. The 2013 Buick Encore Is The Least Expensive Buick Crossover
The 2013 Buick Encore is priced quite affordably, with a starting MSRP of $24,200. This places it more than $14,000 under the much larger Buick Enclave and gives families the chance to sample what Buick has to offer before committing to a more capable SUV that can better handle their growing brood a few years down the road. Although it is possible to option the Buick Encore to the point where it is brushing against the $30,000 mark, the vehicle's pricing strategy is specifically designed to attract new buyers to the brand.