Test Drive: 2013 Buick Encore Review

Jerry Reynolds | March 21, 2013
Test Drive: 2013 Buick Encore Review

For a good while, Buick has had a hole in its lineup. If you needed an SUV and the Enclave was too large, you had no choice, but that has all changed.

The 2013 Buick Encore compact luxury SUV is a nice addition for those needing a small SUV that achieves really good fuel economy. Assembled in South Korea, the Encore is badged overseas as the Opel Mokka, a wildly popular SUV.


Encore retains the roots of Buick, with a very nice interior, a super quiet cabin, and a terrific ride, even on rough roads. Make no mistake, this is a small SUV and it is evident at the first glance. To put it in perspective, the Encore is 10” shorter than the Honda CRV. Oddly, once inside, Encore does not feel nearly as small as it is.

Under the hood, Encore comes with a 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder that is turbocharged. You get a 6-speed automatic transmission, and unlike some turbos, GM recommends you use regular fuel. Like everything in life, there are always gives and takes. At 138-horses, the Encore is slow by all standards, not just mine as a lead foot. On the other side of the coin, the fuel economy is really good, I consistently got 35-miles per gallon on the highway, which is exceptional for an SUV.

My Carbon Black test vehicle has the Premium Group and comes loaded with items such as 18” aluminum wheels, rearview camera, lane departure warning, leather seats, dual-zone climate control, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, Bose Premium sound system, heated steering wheel, remote start, and GM’s voice-activated Intellilink system. That system gives you a full-color display that supports apps like Pandora.

The interior is great and the seats are really comfortable and wide. Encore has a lot of headroom for both front and rear seat passengers. 6-foot tall people will be fine in this SUV. Cargo area is much better than I thought, you can max out over 48-cubic feet of cargo area. The second row seat is easily folded down and it folds very flat. The dash layout is good and easy to operate.

Option-wise, my tester only has two items, chrome wheels and a $795 navigation system which works great. Overall, Encore is a very nice small SUV with a great interior, the quietness is noticeable, and it glides over rough roads. I will say too that GM priced the Encore right, roughly $1000 more than a loaded Honda CRV.

What I liked most: Fuel economy, interior hness, and price.

What I would change: I’d just have to have more get-up and go!

MSRP: Base Price on the Premium $28190, as equipped $30,925.

Fuel Economy: Rated at 25 City and 33 Highway, doing 35 highway.

Warranty: 4 years/50,000 mile bumper to bumper coverage, 6 years/70,000 on the powertrain, and roadside assistance.

2013 Buick Encore in a few words: A very nice, well-priced, compact SUV.

Tags: 2013, buick, encore, suv
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