Buick Encore, this sub-compact crossover is not a fun drive compared to rivals

2015-05-28 10:51:11
Buick Encore, this sub-compact crossover is not a fun drive compared to rivals
Buick Encore, this sub-compact crossover is not a fun drive compared to rivals

When the Buick Encore appeared in 2013 people were not sure what it was? Compared to all other crossovers it was small but taller in comparison to traditional hatchbacks such as the VW Golf. Nimble drivability and all-wheel-drive had both flanks covered for the Encore, and the 2015 model comes with modern features such as 4G LTE.

Going back to the 2013 model, it sold 50,000 units in spite of its split personality and had its own ground in a crowded market of its segment. But the ground is fast slipping from under, as other subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, the mechanically equal Chevy Trax and the Mazda Model CX-3.   Buick, however, outshines others with its characteristic quietness and smooth ride but without the fun element produced by its rivals. Four trim levels are available for the Encore, and we drove pinnacle-spec Buick stylish model Encore AWD Premium.

Since the launch, the crossover had added more features in the consecutive two years, and it was offered with blind-spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and came as standard in all version except the base. These features can be termed as unusual for the class, and the same goes to lane-departure and forward collision warning, usually reserved for top end models. The new addition is the 4G LTE wireless hot-spot connectivity for the 2015 Encore, and the hub can easily hook up with seven connections at a time when the vehicle is in motion. You may need to get a paid data plan to keep it functioning, but you will also get a free connection up to three months or three GB.

The new model has all round visibility, and its oddball measurements work hugely in its favor. The car is easy to navigate in the traffic as well as the park. Encore also offers spacious cargo hold which can be expanded through the split and folding rear chairs.

The thing we did not like in the Encore is its diminutive 1.4 Liter with turbo; that can generate only 138 horses and 148 pounds of thrust, which is not at all sufficient. You can see the results as the car takes off leisurely assisted by an unhurriedly shifting six-speed automatic. One can tolerate this if it is offering reasonable fuel economy figures and it does not. The car with its smaller engine only offers 23/30mpg for city and highway when it is coupled to the AWD and with the FWD it gets the figures of 25/33mpg. Well, when you compare the figure with the larger sized Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Nissan Rogue SUVs it is not good.

The baby Buick can seat five passengers, and it is offered in 4-door hatchback body style. It is available in both front and all-wheel-drive. Base price is $24,990 and the test car cost $32,592.  On the performance numbers, it takes 10.0 seconds to run the 0-60mph and quarter mile in 17.6 seconds from standing at 79mph. This Buick Encore makes a top speed of 116mph.

Buick models:

Buick Regal
Buick Park Avenue
Buick Verano
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Skylark
Buick Century
Buick Enclave
Buick Electra
Buick Reatta
Buick LaCrosse
Buick Encore
Buick Rainier
Buick Terraza
Buick Estate Wagon
Buick Rendezvous
Buick LeSabre
Buick Riviera