The 2013 Buick Encore sets the benchmark for small SUVs
Buick was a considerable part of GM’s return to the global top spot during 2011, with year-to-year increases roughly doubling for some models. Hoping to outperform the sales of both the BMW X1 (when it finally gets here) and the Audi Q5, the brand is setting their gun sights high.
“Buick models continue to gain in popularity, with two consecutive years of higher retail sales,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing in a release at the models launch in January. “The Encore joins Verano – Buick’s third all-new sedan in three years – to round out the brand’s lineup and continues the momentum established by the Enclave crossover almost five years ago.”
Based on sheer styling in a segment where it’s hard to distinguish a make visually, the 2013 Buick Encore is more striking in its appearance than either of its competitors. If looks were everything, it would be a hands-down shutout.
Still you can tell the manufacturer is in it to win it by decisions like limiting all models to a single wheel size of 18-inches, allowing the suspension to be fine-tuned to this one configuration.
This is further demonstrated by the initial use of active noise cancelation technology in a Buick model. Microphones within the passenger cabin detect noise triggering a sonic response in a wavelength that erases the sound. If you remember wave motion demonstrations from 9th grade physics, the technology uses what’s called destructive interference to cancel out the sound wave.
“Of course, all Buicks have wrapped A-pillars that help to lessen wind noise,” said Lloyd Bierman, Marketing Manager for the Buick Crossovers, addressing the assembled media at the Denver Auto Show.
The consequently very quiet 2013 Buick Encore has the warm and comfortably inviting interior the brand is known for, mixing light and dark earth tones with wood and chrome trim. Ambient ice blue lighting softly illuminates the relaxed interior.
Other significant features include a segment-leading amount of cargo space exceeding that of the stated competition. The 2013 Buick Encore has 18.8 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seats up and 48.4 cubic feet with back seats laid flat. A surprising and versatile aspect is created by the fact the front passenger seat also folds flat allowing the transport of unusually long gear or purchases.
“That’s room enough for two coolers and a tackle box,” exclaimed one unnamed member of the assembly.
A wheelbase of 100.6 inches within a length of 168.5 inches creates remarkably high ratio between the two and coupled with a track width of 60.6 inches establishes a platform that should deliver the smooth, yet capable ride Buick demands from their vehicles.
The 2013 Buick Encore is powered by a fuel-stingy 1.4-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder Ecotec engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The power plant produces about 140 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm.
Advanced aspects such as a high-efficiency alternator, electronically controlled no-return fuel system and a deceleration fuel cut-off system help to keep the crossover on a supermodel’s diet with fuel efficiency expected to be somewhere in the mid-30s.
“When you ask, one day it’s 32, the next it’s 36 and the following day it’s 34-mpg,” Bierman said.
Though pricing is yet to be announced, the 2013 Buick Encore stands poised to set the benchmark in the small premium SUV market.