This Buick is a rather tiny vehicle. And that is a little ironic, considering Buick was once primarily known for manufacturing large, oversized sedans that were built for comfort and performance.
The 2015 Buick Encore possesses neither quality. It’s a tall subcompact sport utility vehicle with a short wheelbase that is 11 inches less than the popular Honda CR-V, a compact SUV. The Encore can cram three passengers in the back, assuming one is a small child.
However, that full load will put some added stress on the Buick Encore, which has a modest turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Quick departures – with a full load or simply a lone driver – aren’t happening. The Encore accelerates 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds.
2015 Buick Encore
* Performance: turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder, 138 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 23-33 mpg
* Estimated price: $24,065-$30,935
* Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 6 years/70,000; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
Considering its lightweight and not a performance-laden vehicle, one might assume the Encore provides great gas mileage. Yet the mileage is mediocre. The Encore gets an estimated 25/33 mpg when equipped with front-wheel drive and 23/30 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Even with the aforementioned deficiencies, the Encore has a definite upside that includes a long list of standard features that make it appealing to certain demographics. Single folks or a young couple with no children might be very happy with the Encore. Empty nesters looking to downsize to a smaller, more affordable SUV that offers all-wheel drive, precise steering and handling, may find the Encore a suitable fit.
One additional fact was uncovered in my week of driving this smallish SUV. Women of all ages seem to like the Encore look and several remarked that it was “very cute.”
Priced between an estimated $24,065 and $30,935, the Buick Encore may catch people off guard with its high sticker price. But there are a lot of standard features that come with the Encore’s four trim levels that help give it more value than some other competitors. The list of rivals includes the Nissan Juke, the turbocharged 2015 Mini Countryman, and the new Chevrolet Trax, also a General Motors’ product.
Standard features with the entry-level Buick Encore include 18-inch painted alloy wheels; roof rack side rails; cloth and synthetic leather upholstery; six-way partial power driver seat; fold-flat manual front passenger seat; rear cargo cover; OnStar system; rearview camera; Bluetooth phone audio connectivity; six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, USB port and an auxiliary audio input jack.
Also standard is Buick’s IntelliLink electronics interface that has a 7-inch touchscreen and smartphone app integration.
The Encore features a stylish upscale interior with simulated wood and metal accents. It utilizes considerable soft-touch materials that add to the overall quality. The location of the controls and gauges make sense and aren’t difficult to grasp. Trunk space is on the small side at 18.8 cubic feet, but expands to 48.4 with the backseat folded down. The front passenger seat folds down as well, allowing the Encore to haul something long and narrow.
Although the Buick Encore is not for everyone, it has drawn a fair amount of interest since debuting in 2013. More and more people are attracted to subcompact SUVs, which is great news for Buick.