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2014 Buick Encore

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Cheryl Encore carby Cheryl Eldridge

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to celebrate. Celebrating with family, friends, and even new automobiles can be exciting.
Last week’s tester is one that I truly admired. It even put me in the mood for the Yuletide season.
My  2014 Buick Encore tester was coated in a beautiful brilliant blue with an interior  of titanium .
The 2014 Buick Encore picks up an optional blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts.
The new flagship is offered in four trim levels: Base, Convenience, Leather and Premium.
The Base Encore comes standard with 18-inch painted alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a six-way power driver seat (manual recline), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, split-folding rear seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, OnStar telematics and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Also included is Buick’s IntelliLink control interface, which features a 7-inch touchscreen and integrated smartphone apps.
Stepping up to the Convenience adds foglights, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 120-volt power outlet and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
As you’d expect, the Leather trim level adds leather upholstery for the front seats, a driver seat with power-adjustable lumbar support, a six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and driver memory settings.
The Premium adds rain-sensing wipers, an upgraded Bose seven-speaker sound system, front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, and a rear cargo net and mat. The cargo net/mat is optional on all the lower trims, while the Bose audio is also available on the Convenience and Leather trim levels. Other options, depending on trim level, include chrome wheels, a power sunroof, a navigation system and roof rack cross rails.
All 2014 Buick Encore models are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated at 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with a manual-shift feature is the only transmission offered, but all versions of the Encore give you the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Front-wheel-drive Encores receive EPA fuel economy estimates of 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined, while those with all-wheel drive rate 23/30/26. In Edmunds performance testing, a front-wheel-drive Encore accelerated to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds, which is slower than most other crossovers in this price range.
On the safety aspect, features for the 2014 Buick Encore include front-seat knee airbags, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, antilock disc brakes and traction and stability control. Also included is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts is available from the Convenience trim level on up, while forward collision warning and lane departure warning systems are standard on the Encore Premium.
In government crash tests, the all-wheel-drive Encore received five stars for overall crash protection, while the front-drive Encore received four stars. Both versions received five stars in the frontal-impact and side-impact protection categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Encore the highest possible rating of Good in its moderate-overlap front-offset and side-impact crash tests, as well as its roof strength test. However, the Buick received the agency’s lowest rating of Poor in the new small-overlap frontal-offset crash test (most small crossover SUVs earned a Poor or Marginal rating in this test).
In Edmunds testing, a front-drive Encore stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for this class.
Fit and finish throughout the Encore’s cabin is generally pretty good, and well-placed soft-touch materials and splashes of simulated wood and metallic accents provide an upscale look. Buick’s standard IntelliLink system and its 7-inch control touchscreen dominate the center stack, but I had no problem with that. The Encore’s IntelliLink is fast, reliable and easy to use as infotainment and smartphone app integration systems go.
Up front there’s plenty of room all around, and the wide seats prove comfortable. Those seats are also pleasantly high, providing a commanding view around and above traffic as well as easing entry and exit. In back, there’s ample legroom even for 6-footers, though there’s less rear shoulder room and hiproom than in most other compact crossovers. Rear-facing car seats will be a tight fit back here.
When it comes to carrying cargo, the Encore is ready. The rear seats and the front passenger seat fold flat, allowing transport of longer items up to eight feet in length. With all seats in place, there are 18.8 cubic feet of space. Folding the rear seats down expands that to 48.4 cubes. This is more capacity than the Mini Countryman offers (42.2 cubic feet), but noticeably less than you’ll get from the next-size-up compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V, which offers a comparatively cavernous 71 cubic feet.
One suggestion that I do recommend is that the trunk space be expanded a bit. It was very small and I wasn’t able to travel out of town to some of the outlets with it.
My sticker price was $30,685.

Until next week, drive safe, buckle up, don’t text and drive, it’s the law.

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