Preview: 2013 Buick Encore reviews car previews luxury cars buick
2013 Buick Encore. Click image to enlarge

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Buick Canada

By Grant Yoxon

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2013 Buick Encore

Detroit, Michigan – General Motors continued the transformation of Buick last week with the introduction of a new compact luxury SUV at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Buick line-up has been thoroughly modernized over the past five years, beginning with the Enclave luxury crossover in 2008, and continuing with the introduction of three new sedans – LaCrosse, Regal and Verano.

Both the Verano and Encore offer luxury buyers a Buick alternative in the fast growing luxury compact sedan and crossover markets.  The Encore will compete against European luxury compact crossovers like the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3.

The Encore is a five-passenger vehicle that offers the cargo carrying capacity, higher seating position and all-wheel drive capability of a crossover.  Cargo space is 533 litres (18.8 cu. ft.) with the rear seats in place and 1,372 litres (48.4 cu. ft.) with the rear seats folded, comparing favorably with the competition.  Even the front passenger seat will fold flat to accommodate long items.

It is powered by a 140 hp 1.4-litre Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission designed to provide optimum performance while maximizing fuel efficiency.

Preview: 2013 Buick Encore reviews car previews luxury cars buick
2013 Buick Encore. Click image to enlarge

The Encore carries the signature Buick design cues including the waterfall grille, chrome accents, portholes on the hood and painted lower panels, similar to the Enclave.  Our first impression was favourable – uniquely and unmistakably a Buick.

Other exterior details include blue-accented projector-beam headlamps and 18-inch, five-spoke painted aluminum wheels as standard equipment. Seven-spoke chrome wheels will be optional.

Inside, the Encore’s styling carries over to a flowing instrument panel that wraps into the door panels. A prominent central instrument panel houses a large, full-colour, seven-inch LCD display for the IntelliLink voice-activated radio system. IntelliLink uses Bluetooth or a USB to connect the driver’s smart phone. It also features displays for the Sirius XM satellite radio, as well as available navigation and rear camera systems.

A mix of dark and light tones distinguishes the cabin which is accented with ice blue ambient lighting and a mix of bright trim and wood-grain trim. Premium seats feature high-density foam for greater comfort on long drives and are trimmed with either a cloth/leatherette motif or available leather. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are available. The rear seat features a fold-down armrest with cup holders.
 

Preview: 2013 Buick Encore reviews car previews luxury cars buick
Preview: 2013 Buick Encore reviews car previews luxury cars buick
2013 Buick Encore. Click image to enlarge

Other standard and available luxury features include remote vehicle start, dual zone automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers, Bose premium sound system and six-way power adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment and memory.

An undesirable by-product of a large interior volume coupled with a small four-cylinder engine is noise. Buick takes noise reduction seriously and has developed standards of acceptability that it calls QuietTuning.  Typically, the strategy is to reduce noise at its source – with quieter, more aerodynamic mirrors, for example, or by disconnecting the engine from the transmission at idle; by blocking sounds from entering the cabin, using foam baffle insulation at the opening of body structure cavities, acoustic laminated windshield and thick five-mm side window glass, and; by absorbing any remaining sounds into materials used in the cabin, under the hood and in the wheelwell liners. 

With the Encore, Buick has enhanced QuietTuning with its first application of active noise cancellation.  The technology uses ceiling-mounted microphones to detect engine noise.  A computer then processes the frequencies and directs counteracting sound waves through the audio system’s speakers and subwoofer.

The Encore rides on a 2,555 mm (100.6 in.) wheelbase and a wide 1,540 mm (60.6 in.) front and rear track.  A MacPherson strut front suspension is used with coil springs, a large stabilizer bar and side-load-compensated front strut modules. The rear suspension incorporates a compound crank (torsion beam) design, with a double-wall, tubular V-shape beam profile with gas-charged twin-tube shocks.

The Encore also features a column-mounted, variable-effort electric power steering system.

Standard passive safety features include 10 airbags (front, knee, front and rear seat thorax (outboard positions) and side curtain airbags. For active safety there is standard electronic stability control, four-wheel discs with ABS, cornering brake control and brake assist, as well as available forward collision alert and lane departure warning, front and rear park assist and rear vision camera.

The South Korean-built Encore is expected to go on sale in early 2013.