2013 and 2014 Buick Encore Review

I’m not your typical Buick buyer I am however in the demographic that Buick is seeking because Buick is trying to reposition themselves as the brand for people in their 30s and 40s people with a little bit of extra money people that want something that’

s a bit more premium than your regular old run-of-the-mill brands and they’re doing so with newer younger targeted products and the latest is this all-new 2013 Buick Encore of course our European friends will know this as the Opel Mokka in Europe but does that make this any less of a Buick and does that make it any less premium or any less of an interesting vehicle let’s dive under

the hood let’s hop in the trunk let’s hop inside and take a look if it wasn’t obvious from the side profile take a look at this front profile the Encore is a fairly small vehicle this is about six inches shorter than a Volkswagen Tiguan and about six inches longer than a MINI Countryman which is minis sort of vino crossover style vehicle most of those inches versus

the Tiguan are lost out back as you can see the Alcor has a fairly short a rear overhang as you can see the rear tires right here and the trunk is right here at a hundred edge wheelbase or so this vehicle does have a pretty long wheelbase to the overall length of the vehicle dunker has a fairly vertical rear hatch here as you can see that makes a little bit easier to put cargo in there

I kind of like the styling of this also I have to say that I’m not really sure that I would ever buy a Buick but honestly I am kind of enjoying the way that this Buick looks one of our riders wasn’t really keen on this black treatment here on the rear but overall I think that even the rear of the Encore looks pretty good and honestly rear ends of vehicles these days it’s something that a lot of car companies have troubles getting right and even though the Encore does come off as ever so slightly cartoonish I think it comes off as cartoonish in a cute sort of way rather than awkward under the hood of the Encore we find one of the smallest engines that General Motors has sold in America it’s a 1.4

liter direct injection turbo charged engine produces 138 horsepower and has an overboost feature to bump up that torque when you need it now this is mated to General Motors 6-speed automatic transmission that’s specially designed for their smaller vehicles that means that it has a fairly low first year and a fairly tall sixth gear to both improve in city performance as well as on the highway mileage one of the encores biggest selling points is its fuel economy this vehicle is rated for 32 miles per gallon highway but we’ve been averaging 32 miles per gallon overall in very mixed driving over 715 miles high speed low speed plenty of city and I commute daily over 2,200 foot mountain pass that really wins a lot of points in my book when you open the rear doors there’s no denying that the Encore is a small vehicle however there’s a decent amount of room back

here in the rear now this front seat is adjusted for a six foot five passenger that we had in the vehicle and he was very comfortable in the cars you can see I still have three inches of legroom left for my six foot frame I also have an incredible amount of headroom back here and that’s thanks to this overall profile of the Buick Encore which is very tall it’s not terribly wide however so if I step over into this middle seat you can see I still have a decent amount of headroom but I wouldn’t want to fit three adult males side-by-side here in the rear another thing to keep in mind is the way that the floors are molded because the Encore shares the seat tracks and seat frames with other

General Motors vehicles as you can see in order to give you that sense of height in the Encore they have to build up the floor pan so that they can still use the same rails and that means that there’s a little bit less room down there if you have larger feet the rear seat backs do fold almost completely flat but they are a flip and fold arrangement as you can see that lower portion folds like that and then we have this upper portion that folds down right like that as you can see you can fold these rear seats completely flat and have a six foot five passenger or driver up front that is completely possible just don’t move this into this front seat all the way rearward there are three different interior

color combinations available in the Buick Encore this particular interior is the saddle and I believe it’s mocha color combo and that’s because we have these saddle colored dashboard parts and this bottom of the dashboard is not very obvious in the video but this is not charcoal this is actually brown in this particular model now there’s also of course the black on black on black interior which pretty much everybody offers and in the cloth models and in certain leather models with certain exterior colors you can also get a light grey interior as well in terms of interior parts quality the Encore and the Buick Verano which is also new for this year have very good interior quality parts for the price tag of this vehicle this vehicles you know in that twenty-five to thirty thousand dollar range averagely equipped and honestly the buttons and knobs

all have a very substantial feel in this vehicle up here on the dashboard we have a soft touch – this is definitely a hard molded dash underneath this plastic but it’s all done very nicely there isn’t a seem out of place in this vehicle anywhere which is somewhat unusual for GM in the past but is very good to see of course we still have hard plastics lower in the – as you can see here but the one thing that I will draw people’s attention to are these button banks and these air vents because in this particular Braun model I’m really feeling the love for them because not many manufacturers will go to the extra trouble of changing all the colors of the interior parts that’s normally something you’d find

in a luxury car brand but here in this saddle brown interior on the both on the Verano and on this Encore we have brown air vents we have brown buttons we have a brown lower dashboard we have brown carpets we have brown buttons in the shifter we even have a brown shift boot here we have a brown steering wheel with brown air bag cover and we even have a brown steering column and little brown turn signal stocks here as well even this gauge cluster here in the dashboard also has a brown theme to it which really ties this whole vehicle together in a way that I really wasn’t expecting out of Buick this interior alone I think actually is the the the big reason that this Buick does something for me and that’s not something I thought I would ever say at my age I just assumed that I would have to be 75 or 80 to buy a Buick and this is gonna sound kind of like an infomercial but I’m still not quite sure I can get beyond the Buick brand I mean this Buick Shields staring at me you know or those little ventiports out front but honestly on the inside of this Buick Encore I’m really kind of liking this place you know thirty thousand dollars as our model is fully equipped here and again

we have every option except the all-wheel drive we have a heated steering wheel we have dual zone climate control of course we have a tilt telescoping steering wheel with a decent amount of range we have a six way power driver’s seat with a manual recline functions but we do get adjustable lumbar support in this particular vehicle nice Beach and dashboard we have dual glove compartments as you can see here and this bottom glove compartment is actually fairly decently sized although this top-left compartment is a little bit small not quite clear what you’d put there but at least we get that extra storage cubby we also have several storage compartments in the doors and a decent storage compartment right here in the center console the center console is a little bit low to the floor compared to some other vehicles so we don’t have too much storage there and it doesn’t include an Armas so the only are messed up front is for the driver and it’s attached to the driver’s seat perhaps in a nod to Buicks traditiona

l elderly buyers they have included some fake wood in the cabin thankfully it’s restricted to just four panels two on the dash one in their side here and one panel on the door I always tell people to spend a decent amount of time in a vehicle at a dealer’s lot before they buy to make sure that seats are comfortable for them and the Buick Encore is a good example of why now these seats aren’t exactly wide and they are nicely bolstered which is excellent for my sort of average-sized body but if you are a larger person then you might find these seats a little bit uncomfortable also take a look at where this seat back reclined so you can see the the portion of the seat that reclines in this vehicle is up a little bit higher than many vehicles so that that is a little bit uncomfortable if you like a recline function but you don’t like a lot of lumbar support right

there on your back there is a reason for the way that seat folds however because if you pull this lever it’ll notice this seat folds completely flat allowing you to put longer items in the Encore than you would in many vehicles longer and wider items as well because you can see you could fit IKEA flat pack furniture in this vehicle going all the way from the dashboard all the way to the rear hatch the Encore maybe a small crossover but has a surprising amount of cargo room this is the largest roller bag you can carry in a domestic flight so you can see even in that orientation you can’t fit four of them in the cargo area we also have a real doughnut spare tire under this cargo hatch and we also get a carpeted floor mat which is a nice touch we have a little cubby over here for a storage of whatever widget you’d like to put in there and a small one that’s not completely covered over here on the other side we also have a rigid tonneau cover in this particular vehicle instead of the roller covers that are more common in vehicles the only thing I don’t like about this is if you take it out it’s it’s a little bit harder to find somewhere to put it so you end up sticking into the vehicle or just sort of leaving it somewhere there is a nice handle for closing the trunk as you can see here there’s no power hats available on the Encore

but that means that it’s now time to see how we fit in the trunk and well the answer is not too bad I’d give this cargo area a 8 out of 10 points you know adjusting for this vehicle size of course it’s fairly nicely upholstered really I’m actually kind of impressed by the attention to fit and finish even back here in the trunk of this new Buick the Encore ranges from twenty four thousand nine hundred fifty dollars to about thirty two thousand dollars fully equipped with all-wheel drive now while wheel drive is available on all models of the Encore it’s about a $1,500 option navigation is a standalone option on this particular vehicle as well as is the Bose stereo system now all the other options on this vehicle are bundled so they’re four different bundles you can choose from from two cloth bundles and two leather bundles in this particular vehicle

that helps reduce the options on the dealer Lots there are a number of paint options and some of them will cost you extra so keep that in mind and these are the optional chrome wheels on this particular vehicle let’s take a look at the infotainment system here now all Buick Encore is for 2013 come with Buick IntelliLink infotainment system which uses this bank of buttons right here in the center console now the slower button Bank is for the HVAC system of course we have dual zone climate control again a heated steering wheel because we have the model with the leather seats and obviously buick engineers have been channeling their interactor because they’re 28 buttons for knobs and a little

joystick going on here now this system that I found very intuitive in the Buick Verano I find a little bit less intuitive in the Encore for one simple reason you only have this knob which is you push to select turn to change options or zoom and then of course you have this little joystick here for navigating around the map but unlike the Verano there’s no touchscreen so this screen up here in the dashboard is really just a screen now of course we have the voice commands all off forward sync over here like you would expect so voice command phone buttons track up and down source you press that in to change the source volume up and down and over here we have our cruise control buttons no

w we have our display in the center here but this is really just a trip computer so there no duplicate navigation commands like you would see in some GM products so won’t display a little arrow or anything in there for our next turn coming up all Buick models come with a seven-inch high resolution screen regardless of whether you get the navigation system or not and that navigation system is a 795 dollar option now we have a home screen which we’re going to take you to first and this home screen is reconfigurable very much like you would expect an iPad or an Android tablet to be although because this is not a touchscreen a system you can’t click and drag anything around you have to use this rotary knob in the center console button bank in order to control it now now playing is fairly self-explanatory this takes us to what our music source is at the moment we have our navigation which takes us direct to the navigation system phone interface we have adjustments for bass and trouble here and of course we have the quick info screen which is also configurable and on this screen you can get shortcuts navigation info and get your five-day weather forecast you can also see

what nearby fuel stations and their fuel prices now this data is delivered by XM satellite data services so you do need an XM subscription in order to use these data functions on this model these don’t pull the data off of your smart phone like some of the totem models do you can also get movie x near you and if we go back to the home screen again we will take a look at the navigation system next you can see the graphics are fairly good in this system and this is thanks to a high resolution screen the graphics aren’t overly complicated like they are in BMW models but the nevertheless they are very clear and that’s thanks to this very crisp screen the one thing I do like it and you can see here is the way that the Buick displays traffic information on this system it’s very visible when you’ve zoomed further out and that’s not something that I can say about many other systems Ford SYNC BMWs iDrive Mercedes command a number of the big players in the navigation segment really don’t do a very good job showing you traffic on these larger maps like this and that’s important in a major metro area like the San Francisco Bay Area where if I wanted to go from Vallejo to San Jose so you can see there are many different routes to take and if I wasn’t able to see the traffic on a larger picture like

this it would be difficult to choose which route I wanted to take and you know this makes it a lot easier to do that destination entry is very easy with the voice commands in this system they do work very well but do want to show you that the problem about not having a touchscreen so you can see we don’t have a touchscreen this model the Verano and the other Buick muddles you’d be able to just sort of stab the letter but in this one you can’t so here we have to use this novel to scroll all along and find C then we have California so we’re gonna enter a city and we’re gonna look for Burlingame I’ll just scroll all the way down to B and this is just about as boring for me as I’m sure it is in this video because the snob is just not the best way to enter this sort of information in the system so whoops now I’ve given up so let’s just give up on that one the voice commands work very well so there’s probably no no real reason for anybody to ever use that interface I definitely wouldn’t I did however have to use it once during our weekend 800 miles with this car because the system wasn’t able to recognize one address that I needed to use the cellphone interface is fairly self-explanatory it’s also fairly basic but speakerphone quality in this Bluetooth interface is excellent and that’s thanks to a very quiet cabin

that also uses Bose active noise cancellation in all models of the Encore if we go over to page two of three on the home screen you can see that we have our various sources listed here am/fm of course XM satellite radio of course have Pandora internet radio as well and stitcher smart radio those operate via a smartphone app on either your iPhone or your Android device of course have a single slot CD player in the dashboard an iPod USB interface and of course an auxilary input as well you skip on to the next page you can see that we also have a Bluetooth audio streaming interface and this is where you’d find those other direct access commands for movies fuel prices weather pictures etc you can upload pictures via a USB device and change your backgrounds in this particular system since tunes are important let’s go to that iPod interface here as you can see we do have album art in the iPod interface as well as the USB interface click the menu button on this rotary knob you can see you have access to shuffle and you also have direct access to the contents of your iPod or your USB device scrolling and browsing your playlists on this system is fairly snappy compared to some of entries in this segment as you can see scrolling down this list doesn’t take too long there there really no awkward pauses like

you’d see in some of the other systems like this in addition we have full voice command access to a wide variety of features in this system I’m going to demonstrate that now please say a command play song please say the name of the song read right hand now playing song title read right hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as you can see much like the new Chevy MyLink system the system that’s in this Buick as well as a wide variety of other General Motors products now has excellent voice recognition and unlike some of the other systems like BMWs iDrive or totus in tune this system works just as well with very large music libraries this really is the definite equal of Ford SYNC in terms of voice command ability because some of the other systems if you have more than about 2,500 or 3,000 songs in your library then there’s certain functions you can’t voice command anymore but this system isn’t like that it worked very well with our iPod our iPhone 5 as well as our iPad 3 it charges the iPhone 5 you know and the iPad 3 very easily all the interfaces in the system are incredibly snappy which is something that I really can’t say about forward my touch in addition this system has never crashed on us something that happens frequently with both Ford might touch as well as Cadillac q it may be a little bit difficult to tell

in this video because our microphones have automatic gain control so they can tend to accentuate freeway noise but the Encore is very quiet out on the road it’s not quite as quiet as the Buick Verano however even though the Encore benefits from Bose active noise cancellation technology with only 138 horsepower coming from this 1.4 liter turbo engine under the hood obviously acceleration isn’t Leon core strong point but it doesn’t do too badly for itself we ranged between 9.1 seconds and 9.6 seconds 0 to 60 in our encore depending on whether or not the overboost feature was being activated the overboost feature increases the amount of torque being delivered from this engine based on a wide variety of conditions how often the over wrist has been used etc but it definitely improves the zero-to-sixty performance in this vehicle thinks that low first gear feels very sprightly at the stop light races thanks to its taller than average ride height it helps keep you from catching your bumper on those parking lot headstones and pesky curbs and of course it’s tight turning circle helps you get into those parking spaces with greater ease that a lot of other vehicles but out here on these winding mountain roads you’ll find something surprising even though the Encore is fairly tall and the suspension is a little bit softer than you’d think it handles very well and that’s thanks to its sedan origins as well as to a fairly low center of gravity on winding roads like this the power delivery from Buicks small engine is excellent because of that broad torque curve given to you by the direct injection and the turbocharger it really doesn’t feel as down on power as its numbers would indicate or as it might feel when you’re trying to pass out on the highway it really comes alive that’s thanks to a wide variety of things that are going on here first off the Buick has a fairly decent wheelbase so the ride isn’t too choppy but the car turns very sharply

allowing you to carve these corners with relative ease without feeling like you’re gonna you know go too far over your line the Buick is very predictable very precise and that rear suspension even though it is a Torsen beam suspension design that’s shared with a wide variety of GM compact cars really feels well suited to this vehicle it never feels unconcerned rough pavement doesn’t unsettle the suspension in the Encore I definitely think that with the right engine this could be Buicks you know GTI for instance a little bit taller than the GTI obviously a little bit more practical but definitely it has that that ability in its chassis design when the on course tires do lose their grip the result is very predictable very easy to handle and thanks to that fairly light engine up front it also tends to be somewhat more neutral than you might expect out of a front-wheel drive vehicle the one place I would improve the Encore would be in the braking department because the brakes do fade a little bit more easily than

I would like especially when you’re going down the same hills that we were just going up people in my generation remember 1980s and 1990s Buick centuries in the sky Larkin and other awful GM products and this is definitely not that kind of Buick anymore it’s it’s it’s kind of hip it’s kind of fun it has a really good interior especially when you consider what else you can buy for $30,000 for the same price point you could end up in a Honda CRV or a rav4 that doesn’t have an interior nearly as nice as this Buick Encore but there still is that brand and that logo on the front to get over and someone from my generation I’m not entirely sure whether I could do that or not do like the vehicle however but if you’re younger or you’re older and you remember the good days of Buick or you’re younger and you just don’t remember Buick at all then honestly put the Encore on your shopping list you won’t regret it

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