2014 Buick Encore Second Opinion

Aspiring to Be Too Much

2014 Buick Encore Second Opinion

The Buick Encore is a peculiar vehicle. Based on the Chevrolet Trax already on sale in other markets, the Encore is a sub-compact crossover designed to bring luxury elements to an otherwise frugal segment. The vehicle isn’t just small, it’s miniscule by crossover standards. At only 168.4 inches long, the Encore is shorter than an iPhone’s battery life.

FAST FACTS

Engine: A 1.4 L turbocharged four-cylinder, 138 hp, 148 lb-ft.

Transmission: The only transmission available is a six-speed automatic.

Fuel economy: Officially rated at 23 MPG city and 30 MPG on the highway We averages 22.8 MPG.

Price: The Encore starts at a base price of $25,085 after destination charges, our test vehicle with the Leather Package and moon roof option came in at $29,210.

It gives up eight inches to the BMW X1 and is even smaller than the Kia Rio sedan. However, at a height of 65.2 inches, the Encore is just as tall as the Audi Q5. This short length, high height may lead to ungainly proportions, but it also offers a high seating position in a vehicle that requires almost no space to park.

To discover whether or not Buick has succeeded in creating a premium subcompact crossover, we gave it to my wife Amanda, our everyday consumer-turned car reviewer. Even as a connoisseur of small hatchback vehicles, it was not love at first sight for her.

Honey I Shrunk the Crossover

Although the front grille and rear design are nice styling elements in her opinion, she isn’t a fan of the Encore’s profile. She says it looks tall and squished: this coming from the owner of a Suzuki SX4 sedan.

See Also: 2013 Buick Encore Review

2014 Buick Encore 09Buick’s little crossover carries a base price of $25,085 after destination charges, but the as-tested leather package and moon roof raise the price to $29,210. That’s a lot of money for a little crossover, especially one that is still not equipped with rain sensing wipers, navigation or front and rear park assist. At this price point, the vehicle does have some nice features like leather-upholstered, heated front seats with power adjustability, a heated steering wheel and memory seat settings for the driver side.

Amanda felt the interior to be high-end and was a fan of the dashboard’s overall design as well as the dark grey wood grain trim. The soft touch buttons in the center stack are easy to use and feel premium as well. However, the leather wrapping the steering wheel and seating surfaces feels disappointingly cheap.

Where’s My Options?

2014 Buick Encore 15For a vehicle flirting within the luxury car segment, some features are oddly omitted. There is no smart key entry, push button start or built-in navigation. Then again, the latter can be had as a $795 stand-alone option.

Amanda found the rearview camera could use some improvement. She found the view was not very clear and the lack of parking sensors makes it difficult to tell how close you really are to bumping into something. The steering wheel mounted audio controls can also be frustrating in the winter with gloves on. She had a hard time because they’re small and difficult to press without bare hands.

Never Leaves You Out in the Cold

2014 Buick Encore 13

At the tail end of a winter that wouldn’t die, the fast warming heated steering wheel and seats can seem invaluable. The remote car starter is also particularly useful on cold mornings when a pre-heated car can make all the difference.

2014 Buick Encore 17Overall storage in the vehicle is deemed adequate, but center console space is lacking. The double glove box is nice a nice touch, but Amanda couldn’t imagine using it very often. The cup holders could be a little more accommodating and are too small for larger water bottles and drink containers. Despite the Encore’s pint-sized stature, rear seat passengers still have 35.7-inches of legroom and full-grown adults can fit back there without issue. Storage space suffers to make that possible, as only 18.8 cubic feet of room is available behind the rear seats. That only expands to 48.4 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. For perspective, the Honda Fit offers more cargo space with its rear seats folded if only a little.

Poor Vision, Easy Maneuverability

2014 Buick Encore 08

Sightlines are surprisingly poor for a vehicle this small. Amanda says the two pillars in the back are hard for her to see around, although the blind spot detection system makes up for that somewhat. The narrow, high-riding Encore was easy to park in tight spots for her, yet felt much larger than it was when trying to reverse in close coordinates. Once parked, the doors can be left ajar at various angles without them trying to swing back shut.

2014 Buick Encore 10Unlike many short wheelbase vehicles, the Encore is smooth on the highway and avoids the choppy ride plaguing many subcompact vehicles. The 138-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is sufficient for daily driving thanks in large part to the 148 lb-ft of torque it creates. Especially in city traffic, she finds it to be pleasantly responsive. Officially rated at 23 MPG city and 30 MPG on the highway, Amanda achieved an average of 22.8 MPG during a wintery week of driving.

2014 Buick Encore 01

The Verdict

 

Overall Amanda is impressed with the Buicks attempt to create a subcompact crossover with luxury features – except for the price. Thinking this vehicle listed in the low-to-mid $20,000s, she was shocked to hear as equipped it costs nearly $30,000. At that price, issues with the vehicles bad blind spots, equipment omissions, exterior design and some usability issues would prevent her purchasing one. To her, the Encore’s platform mate, the Chevrolet Trax, makes much more sense.

  • NormT

    I have already ended my Buick Experience lease and really enjoyed the car that I named, Squirt. On one tankful with cruise setbat 60 mph we got 39 mpg….with AWD. Very impressive! It can really move in traffic gets heavy and is super for pulling into parking places with ease. Get it out on the highway and it is one quiet car with Bose Active Noise control.

    Nice quality interior that my Japanese car fans take notice and compliment when they first get in. Even the base model with AWD is a nice place to be.

  • NormT

    I have already ended my Buick Experience lease and really enjoyed the car that I named, Squirt. On one tankful with cruise setbat 60 mph we got 39 mpg….with AWD. Very impressive! It can really move in traffic gets heavy and is super for pulling into parking places with ease. Get it out on the highway and it is one quiet car with Bose Active Noise control.

    Nice quality interior that my Japanese car fans take notice and compliment when they first get in. Even the base model with AWD is a nice place to be.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked