The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

December 5, 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
Features
  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Social networks are the new matchmakers

    WASHINGTON - With studies showing that one-third of married couples started their relationships online, finding romance via URLs is no longer as novel - and creepy - as it seemed when dating sites launched in the mid-1990s.

    June 9, 2014

  • Dive into the World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem when Journey to the South Pacific Arrives at Discovery Place on June 7

    CHARLOTTE – Audiences will be taken on an epic IMAX® adventure through the tropical islands of West Papua and experience one of the most extraordinary places on Earth, when the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific comes to Discovery Place on June 7.

    June 6, 2014

  • iphone4.jpg Five major new features in iOS 8

    Apple has taken the wraps off its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, introducing a suite of new features to users aimed at streamlining some of their most annoying daily tasks.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results