• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    The Brief: 2015 Buick Encore Leather AWD and GMC Yukon Denali XL


    • GM's smallest and largest utility vehicles go under the review microscope


    I remember being at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and being at introduction of the Buick Encore. After seeing the model introduced, I just found myself wondering why. Why do we need a subcompact crossover? Why does Buick have it and not Chevrolet? Wouldn’t it be better as a Chevrolet? Little did I or anyone realize that within a few years, the subcompact crossover would be the hot thing. It seems Buick would be a pioneer in this class.

     

    The Encore is a rebadged version of the Opel Mokka sold in Europe and somehow Buick was able to make it look a bit more premium. This is due to Buick’s designers making a number of small tweaks such as a new waterfall grille, portholes on the hood, blue tinted headlights, and a set of eighteen-inch five-spoke wheels.

     

    The same is true for the interior as Buick has added some luxury touches such as faux metal and wood trim, soft-touch materials, and blue backlighting. This particular Encore also came equipped with some handsome two-tone leather seats. Oddly, there are no power adjustments for the seats. To get that you’ll need to step up to the top Premium trim. Personally, I would like to see all Encores come with power adjustments as standard. At least all Encores get Buick’s Interlink infotainment system.

     

    Now being a subcompact crossover, you might think it is a penalty box for rear passengers and cargo. Not so in the Encore. The rear seats provide more than enough head and legroom, but getting in and out is somewhat hard due to a small rear door opening. Cargo space is decent with 18.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 48.4 cubic feet with the seats down. You can also fold the front passenger seat down to increase cargo capacity.

     

    Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. This only comes paired to a six-speed automatic. There is a choice of front or all-wheel drive, with my tester having the latter. If you are planning to stay in urban environments, the 1.4T is perfect as it provides enough squirt to get you up to speed. If your travels take you to the country or highways, then you might want to look at something else. The 1.4T runs out of steam quite fast and you’ll find your foot on the floor to try and merge into traffic or make a pass. Now Buick has a possible solution to the power problem with a new turbo 1.6 on the 2016 Encore Sport Touring. We hope to get our hands on that soon.

     

    At least Buick got the ride characteristics right on the Encore. The suspension is able to soak up bumps and provides a smooth ride. Also, the small dimensions and light steering makes the Encore very nimble in small spaces. Buick’s QuietTuning makes sure no road and wind noise enters the cabin making the model one the quietest in the class.

     

    The Buick Encore may now be overshadowed by newer models in the class. But it still is worth of a look, especially if you live in an urban area.

     

    Disclaimer: Buick Provided the Encore, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Buick
    Model: Encore
    Trim: Leather Group AWD
    Engine: 1.4L DOHC Turbocharged Inline-Four
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 138 @ 4,900
    Torque @ RPM: 148 @ 1,850
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/30/26
    Curb Weight: 3,358 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Bupyeong, South Korea
    Base Price: $29,450
    As Tested Price: $33,620 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    White Pearl Tricoat - $995.00
    Power Moonroof - $900.00
    Bose Premium Audio - $595.00
    Buick Intellilink with 7-Inch Screen and Navigation - $495.00
    Cargo Mat - $60.00
    Cargo Net - $60.00

     

    The brief on the Yukon Denali XL is on the next page.


     

    The Cadillac Escalade has been a huge success for the company since being launched in 1999. In fact, many consider the full-size SUV to be the flagship, even with the new CT6 around the corner. But not everyone can plunk down the $72,970 required to get into the base model. So is there a good alternative to Escalade? Yes and it comes from GMC.

     

    The GMC Yukon Denali was launched a year before the Escalade, offering a number luxury appointments and features not commonly seen on full-size SUVs. Since then, the Denali has become a sub-brand and making some of GMC models feel and look like something you would get a luxury car dealer. But the Yukon has remained the crown jewel for the Denali brand.

     

    The Yukon Denali and the model seen here, the Yukon Denali XL don’t really differentiate in terms of overall design from the standard Yukon design. But it’s small details that make the Denali stand out. There is a new chrome grille, HID headlights, twenty-two inch aluminum wheels, optional retractable running boards, and a number of chrome pieces. It is subtle, but it does make a big difference.

     

    Compared to the previous-generation, the 2015 Yukon Denali XL shows a noticeable improvement in terms of design and materials. The dashboard layout has been cleaned up and controls are within easy reach for driver and passenger. Materials are a few steps above what you’ll find in the previous Denali thanks to soft-touch plastics, leather, and faux aluminum trim. I do wish GMC did a little something more for the Denali’s interior to make it stand out just a little further. Maybe real aluminum trim?

     

    At least GMC got passenger and cargo space in the Yukon Denali XL right. Sitting in the rear two rear rows isn’t a penalty as there an abundance of head and legroom. The only downside might be narrow space to get into the third-row by moving the second-row seat. Cargo space is large with 38.9 cubic feet on offer with both rear rows up. This increases to 76.7 cubic feet with the third-row down and 121.7 cubic feet with the second-row down.

     

    For power, comes with the 6.2L V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. A new eight-speed automatic comes into play for this year's model. Despite the Yukon Denali XL weighing over 6,000 pounds, the larger V8 shrugs it off like it was nothing thanks to the large torque figure and automatic transmission being smart with its shifts. Now going for the larger V8 means slightly lower numbers of 14 City/24 Highway/16 Combined compared to the 5.3 V8’s economy figures of 15/22/18. Both figures represent models equipped with four-wheel drive.

     

    In terms of ride and handling, the Yukon Denali XL provides a relaxed ride with bumps and imperfections ironed out. This is very impressive when you consider my tester came equipped with the larger wheels. Thank GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system that comes standard. The system also makes a difference when cornering as the Denali shows barely any sign of body roll.

     

    The Yukon Denali XL starts at $70,220 for the base four-wheel drive model. My modestly equipped tester came in at $78,725. That might seem a bit much, but consider that a similarly equipped Cadillac Escalade ESV will cost $10,000 to $12,000 more. So if you want something close to an Escalade without a large pricetag, GMC has got you covered.

     

    Disclaimer: GMC Provided the Yukon Denali XL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: GMC
    Model: Yukon XL
    Trim: Denali
    Engine: 6.2L EcoTec V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4,100
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 14/20/16
    Curb Weight: 6,009 lbs*
    Location of Manufacture: Arlington, Texas
    Base Price: $70,220
    As Tested Price: $78,725 (Includes $1,195 Destination Charge and $500 Open Road Package Discount)

     

    *Note: Weight corresponds to Yukon XL Denali equipped with 20-inch wheels

     

    Options:
    Denali Premium Package - $3,165.00
    Open Road Package - $2,860.00
    Twenty-Two Aluminum Wheels - $895.00
    Midnight Amethyst Metallic Paint - $495.00
    Theft-Deterrent System - $395.00

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback




    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

      Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. 94commo
      94commo
      (50 years old)
    2. Aerodynamic
      Aerodynamic
      (30 years old)
    3. LPE427Fbird
      LPE427Fbird
      (42 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By dfelt
      2017 GMC Acadia - Denali or All-Terrain, what would you choose?
      As I have spent time with my son looking at various CUV models, I cam across the new Acadia and learned they had a monochromatic version that I think is very sharp looking. GMC has built a very nice profitable line by offering Denali on every model they make. Yet not everyone likes Chrome all over. So this brings up the desire to see what people think. I configured up two near identical CUVs with the only difference being the All-Terrain package on an SLT2 equipped Acadia and the Denali package on an SLT2 equipped Acadia.
      What are your thoughts?
      Review the two listing autos below and sound off on what you think of monochromatic off road or chromed on road CUV!
      2017 GMC Acadia Denali



      2017 GMC Acadia All-Terrain



    • By William Maley
      When I last reviewed the Acura MDX back in 2014, I mentioned that it and the RDX crossover made up a majority of the brand’s sales. That’s still true in 2017 as both models currently make up 63.8 percent of Acura’s sales through the end of March. In closing my review, I said Acura focused on fixing the issues that hurt the MDX before and left other things well alone, creating a balanced luxury crossover. But does that still hold up in a field that has become very competitive in the past couple of years? It seemed a revisit was in order.
      Acura did a significant refresh for the 2017 MDX with the biggest change being the design. Up front, Acura has swapped the shield grille for a larger pentagonal grille from the 2016 Precision Concept. While the shield was considered by many to a bit polarizing and a turn-off, I find the new grille to be a bit cartoonish. It doesn’t really work with the rest of the MDX’s design. At least certain traits such as the ‘Jewel Eye’ headlights and sloping roofline are still here and still work. The interior hasn’t changed much since our last test and that’s both a good and bad thing. The good is the MDX’s material quality is towards the top of the class with a fair amount of leather and wood trim used throughout. Although considering the price tag of just over $59,000, it would have been nice if Acura added some more luxury touches. Those sitting up front or in the second-row will find plenty of room and a set of supportive seats. The MDX is one of the few models in the class that offers a third-row as standard, but it is best reserved for small kids or being folded into the floor to increase cargo space. The bad mostly deals with the AcuraLink infotainment system. This dual screen setup brings more headaches than any other system I have used. A perfect example is when you want to switch from music to a podcast on your USB device. You need to use the top screen and a control knob to go through the various menus to find the show you want to listen to. Not only is this pain, but it also creates a distraction when driving as your eyes are taken off from the road. I wish Acura would scrap this system and start back from square one. Power still comes from a 3.5L V6 offering 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic routes power to either the front-wheels or all four-wheels via Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD). Advanced models like ours come standard with a stop-start system.  The V6 in the MDX is such an impressive motor. Power delivery is quite strong throughout the rev band and the engine doesn’t make much noise during acceleration. However, the stop-start is a bit of a mess. It takes a few seconds for the system to realize that you took your foot off the brake before it restarts the engine. The system can be turned off which we recommend doing. The nine-speed automatic needs a bit work as well as we found shifts to be somewhat clunky at low speeds. Also, the transmission is slow to downshift when you need to make a pass. At least paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel solves this issue somewhat as you can do it yourself. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/26 Highway/22 Combined when the MDX is equipped with SH-AWD. I got none too shabby 23 MPG average for the week. One area we’re glad to see Acura not messing with the MDX refresh is the suspension tuning. The MDX has stuck the right balance of comfort and handling. Some of this is credited to the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that alters various settings for the suspension, steering, and a few other items. This means the MDX can be tailored to deliver a sporty ride when driving down a curvy road and ironing out road imperfections when commuting. There is one big issue for the MDX, price. Our MDX Advance & Entertainment tester came with an as-tested price of $59,475 with destination. Considering what you get for the price and compare against other models, the MDX is a bit of a poor value. Stick with one of the lower trims. The Acura MDX stands in a bit of an odd middle ground, where it is above the mainstream, but below luxury competitors. It remains a very competent crossover that seems to do most things right. But we can’t help but wonder if Acura was given a bit more time to mess with the stop-start system and automatic transmission, along with making it slightly more luxurious, it could take it a bit further from the middle ground the MDX currently sits in. Disclaimer: Acura Provided the MDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Acura
      Model: MDX
      Trim: Advanced Entertainment SH-AWD
      Engine: 3.5L 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,200
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/26/22
      Curb Weight: 4,292 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, AL
      Base Price: $58,500
      As Tested Price: $59,475 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      When I last reviewed the Acura MDX back in 2014, I mentioned that it and the RDX crossover made up a majority of the brand’s sales. That’s still true in 2017 as both models currently make up 63.8 percent of Acura’s sales through the end of March. In closing my review, I said Acura focused on fixing the issues that hurt the MDX before and left other things well alone, creating a balanced luxury crossover. But does that still hold up in a field that has become very competitive in the past couple of years? It seemed a revisit was in order.
      Acura did a significant refresh for the 2017 MDX with the biggest change being the design. Up front, Acura has swapped the shield grille for a larger pentagonal grille from the 2016 Precision Concept. While the shield was considered by many to a bit polarizing and a turn-off, I find the new grille to be a bit cartoonish. It doesn’t really work with the rest of the MDX’s design. At least certain traits such as the ‘Jewel Eye’ headlights and sloping roofline are still here and still work. The interior hasn’t changed much since our last test and that’s both a good and bad thing. The good is the MDX’s material quality is towards the top of the class with a fair amount of leather and wood trim used throughout. Although considering the price tag of just over $59,000, it would have been nice if Acura added some more luxury touches. Those sitting up front or in the second-row will find plenty of room and a set of supportive seats. The MDX is one of the few models in the class that offers a third-row as standard, but it is best reserved for small kids or being folded into the floor to increase cargo space. The bad mostly deals with the AcuraLink infotainment system. This dual screen setup brings more headaches than any other system I have used. A perfect example is when you want to switch from music to a podcast on your USB device. You need to use the top screen and a control knob to go through the various menus to find the show you want to listen to. Not only is this pain, but it also creates a distraction when driving as your eyes are taken off from the road. I wish Acura would scrap this system and start back from square one. Power still comes from a 3.5L V6 offering 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic routes power to either the front-wheels or all four-wheels via Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD). Advanced models like ours come standard with a stop-start system.  The V6 in the MDX is such an impressive motor. Power delivery is quite strong throughout the rev band and the engine doesn’t make much noise during acceleration. However, the stop-start is a bit of a mess. It takes a few seconds for the system to realize that you took your foot off the brake before it restarts the engine. The system can be turned off which we recommend doing. The nine-speed automatic needs a bit work as well as we found shifts to be somewhat clunky at low speeds. Also, the transmission is slow to downshift when you need to make a pass. At least paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel solves this issue somewhat as you can do it yourself. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/26 Highway/22 Combined when the MDX is equipped with SH-AWD. I got none too shabby 23 MPG average for the week. One area we’re glad to see Acura not messing with the MDX refresh is the suspension tuning. The MDX has stuck the right balance of comfort and handling. Some of this is credited to the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that alters various settings for the suspension, steering, and a few other items. This means the MDX can be tailored to deliver a sporty ride when driving down a curvy road and ironing out road imperfections when commuting. There is one big issue for the MDX, price. Our MDX Advance & Entertainment tester came with an as-tested price of $59,475 with destination. Considering what you get for the price and compare against other models, the MDX is a bit of a poor value. Stick with one of the lower trims. The Acura MDX stands in a bit of an odd middle ground, where it is above the mainstream, but below luxury competitors. It remains a very competent crossover that seems to do most things right. But we can’t help but wonder if Acura was given a bit more time to mess with the stop-start system and automatic transmission, along with making it slightly more luxurious, it could take it a bit further from the middle ground the MDX currently sits in. Disclaimer: Acura Provided the MDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Acura
      Model: MDX
      Trim: Advanced Entertainment SH-AWD
      Engine: 3.5L 24-Valve SOHC i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,200
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/26/22
      Curb Weight: 4,292 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, AL
      Base Price: $58,500
      As Tested Price: $59,475 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      If the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hasn't swayed you from wanting one, then you'll be happy to hear Volkswagen will once again be able to sell brand-new 2015 model year TDI models. Green Car Reports says near 11,000 TDI models will soon be back up for sale once they are updated with new software, making them legal.
      Volkswagen does caution those interested in picking up a new TDI to call their nearest dealership to see if they have any in stock.
      But that's not all. Volkswagen is offering some massive discounts on these models. CarsDirect reports that Volkswagen is offering 0% APR for up to 72 months and $5,000 cash bonus if you decide to buy. Interested in leasing one? Volkswagen will offer a cash bonus of $8,500. 
      There are a couple of caveats to this offer. First, you need to have an excellent credit history to qualify for either offer. Second is that Volkswagen isn't advertising this offer.
      "We will not be advertising the available incentives from our financing arm as they [sic] vehicle availability will vary per dealership," said Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan.
      Source: Green Car Reports, CarsDirect

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      If the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hasn't swayed you from wanting one, then you'll be happy to hear Volkswagen will once again be able to sell brand-new 2015 model year TDI models. Green Car Reports says near 11,000 TDI models will soon be back up for sale once they are updated with new software, making them legal.
      Volkswagen does caution those interested in picking up a new TDI to call their nearest dealership to see if they have any in stock.
      But that's not all. Volkswagen is offering some massive discounts on these models. CarsDirect reports that Volkswagen is offering 0% APR for up to 72 months and $5,000 cash bonus if you decide to buy. Interested in leasing one? Volkswagen will offer a cash bonus of $8,500. 
      There are a couple of caveats to this offer. First, you need to have an excellent credit history to qualify for either offer. Second is that Volkswagen isn't advertising this offer.
      "We will not be advertising the available incentives from our financing arm as they [sic] vehicle availability will vary per dealership," said Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan.
      Source: Green Car Reports, CarsDirect
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)