Say hello to the 2013 Buick Encore: the latest vehicle in the Tri-Shield brand’s renaissance. Let’s get the formalities out of the way first, shall we?
The latest addition to the Buick lineup will also introduce an enhanced version of the Gamma II architecture, along with seating for 5, 10 standard airbags, and is powered by the now-familiar 1.4 liter turbo-charged four-cylinder Ecotec engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission — the same powertrain seen in the Chevy Cruze. But unlike the sedan which shares its engine, the Encore offers an all-wheel drive system.
Furthermore, the Encore sits on standard 18-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels, with seven-spoke chrome units offered as an option. Here’s something interesting: Buick made it a point to tell us that a single 18-inch tire specification is part of this global platform that was designed for “more precise suspension tuning, driving refinement, quietness, and a felling of control.” We’re fans of big wheels (so is Bob Lutz)… and of globalization.
The IntelliLink infotainment system — with a full-color seven-inch LCD — is standard, with navigation and rear camera systems offered as options. Other available tech gizmos include a forward collision alert and lane departure warning system, front and rear park assist, and back-up camera; no passive entry here, folks — how’s that for a luxury vehicle? And lest we take OnStar for granted — the Encore has all the OnStar goodness — as you would expect.
To comfortably accommodate its passengers, the Encore brings premium seats with high-density foam for increased comfort on long drives. We’ve sampled these on the Verano — and liked them appreciably. The standard seating trim is “contemporary cloth/leatherette”. Leather is optional, as are heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
Like all new Buicks, the Encore features QuietTuning. This includes the use of sound-absorbing materials in the cabin, under the hood and in the wheel house liners; an acoustically-treated headliner with a tuned gap between it and the high-strength-steel roof panel; the HydraMatic 6T40 six-speed transmission with neutral gear disengagement: quiet-tuned 18-inch Continental tires; aero-optimized outside mirrors; an ultra-quiet engine alternator; an acoustic-laminated windshield and thicker 5mm side window glass, as well as foam baffle insulation at the opening of body structure cavities. On top of these silencing properties, the Encore also introduces Active Quiet Tuning — whereby microphones located in the cabin’s ceiling detect engine noise. The noise is then processed by a computer that subsequently directs sound waves through the audio system’s speakers and subwoofer. Think of it as Bose QuietComfort headphones… built into your car. This, ladies and gents, Buick’s first-ever implementation of Active QuietTuning.
The interior delivers a respectable 18.8 cubic feet (533 liters) of storage behind the rear seat and 48.4 cubic feet (1,372 liters) with the rear seat folded down. The front passenger seats folds flat, creating even more interior space.
On the outside, Buick’s signature blue-accented projector-beam headlamps (with a small Buick logo in the day-time running light) are standard equipment — and the exterior will offer nine colors.
This crossover comes in at 168.6 inches in length (just a wee bit shorter than what our sources let on) — placing it squarely in the subcompact class. It will be made for the U.S. market in South Korea.
We will get a hands-on look at the Encore first thing this morning, with the world-famous GM Authority Take following shortly after.
As for now, do the looks make the grade?