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regfootball

2013 Buick Encore Leather FWD

10 posts in this topic

regfootball    234

DRIVEN

2013 Buick Encore FWD Leather 1.4t MSRP about 31 geezles

HIGHS

Snazzy looking, great styling job on a very challenging package

Nice interior, nice leather and plastics, nice dash, nice design

Lots of interesting detail inside, snazzy displays and gauges

Dashtop screen is surprisingly effective

Popular crossover friendly seat height and step in

Very good view all around (surprisingly open cabin for a current crossover)

Extremely parkable

A very good amount of room inside in the passenger compartment, GM does not typically package interior space real effectively

For the most part, pretty quiet inside in most driving

Good steering feel and an oh so I wanna hold you small steering wheel with leather wrap

Vehicle has a nice substantial feel and good ride

Once up and running, the 1.4 cruises alright at higher speeds (2500 rpm at 70 mph)

Driving position is easy to get where you want and seems able to adapt to a large variety of drivers

Manual mode is useful, otherwise tranny shifts decently for moderate driving

Really a nice daily shuttle kind of vehicle for most people

Vehicle really feels much more useful than it's Sonic cousin due to it's extra usable volume

Hatchback utility

Ground clearance

mpg on the fwd version is not bad

Would be a great vehicle for seniors and empty nesters

Feels like a 90% version of the Captiva / Vue

Makes you want to ignore cars like the Sonic.

LOWS

1.4 is not the right engine....it's adequate for a bare minimum at best and sounds and feels a bit rough when even driving moderately

Slow to get moving off the line, and slow to kick down for hard acceleration in aggressive driving on the fly

Powertrain lacks some smoothness and lets a little too much noise and vibration through for this price of a vehicle

Extra girth in cabin width and the seats would be nice (yes I know this is a small car class)

Driver's right leg bangs the console

Passenger gets screwed out of an armrest (I don't care actually, the driver's is ok)

Inherently tall vehicle can feel a bit tippy on the cloverleafs and switching lanes (just part of the package)

Vehicle feels quite sedate and somewhat geriatric overall, needs an injection of some pizazz

Trunk is useful but could stand to be a little more spacious (the spare tire chews up too much room)

Despite it's surprising amount of space, it is a little small inside for a lot of those who may be interested in a Buick crossover (an Equinox sized and packaged Encore would be HUGE in the market)

Sorry, it's ambitiously priced. Seriously.

Why can't we have a Chevy equivalent? This would sell 100k units a year easy.

At this price, the lower end Escapes look really good.

SUMMARY

I have to compliment GM, the ATS i drove last week and this Encore, both very good vehicles through and through. Both a bit shy on grunt but still despite that very satisfying and well focused vehicles. The Encore is tapping basically a new segment, one that has huge potential. In my short sales experience, I found out how many people wanted a small crossover type vehicle. They wanted something smaller, easy to drive and park, something they could see out of easily and sit up high and see the road....but not something so huge they felt out of control or intimidated. Something that was easy to get in and out of, and something that they could occasionally fold the seat down in the back and carry a big box or two.

No one's really tried too hard at doing that yet in this size. But the market is there and this really is about as close to hitting the bullseye as you can get. This is sort of the template for this kind of vehicle in my mind. The only thing GM has missed the boat on initially with this vehicle is lack of engine spunk, and some lack of driving feel and excitement. My only other reservation is the price. As good as the Encore is at a basic level, it's just pricey IMO. 31 grand and still no AWD....2-3 grand too high I think. Until they up the power and make it a little more interesting to drive.

Despite marketing this vehicle to younger folks, I think this vehicle might acquire the rep of a geriatric's ride. Maybe that's ok....but I do see more than a handful of old timers driving Veranos too. Maybe that means Buick is attracting new fans in addition to keeping some of it's old ones.

Functionally everyday, the lack of power is probably the only thing most of the buyers of this vehicle will have remorse about after a purchase. A bit of finessing of some NVH and powertrain and keeping an eye on the price / value relationship, and managing sales volume and market pricing will be key for this vehicle. I'd be rushing a 1.6t or 1.8t to this thing pronto. Even a diesel might do the trick in this thing.

I am pretty tempted to give it an A for what they did do on this thing. But when i consider the slightly ambitious pricing and all the alternatives out there I stick on a B+. The higher price will limit the volume of sales to those who really are looking for a premium crossover in a smaller package. Me, I'd try to stick to a more basic Escape or Outlander Sport and save a bunch of dough. The Buick does feel more premium though, that is for sure.

The underlying issue is why the Trax is not hitting the market. GM really should not be excused of that question.

Edited by regfootball

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ocnblu    733

I agree with almost everything you say here, reg. As far as pricing v. room and power and the competition, I think that could be an issue for some customers. Last Sunday I was on the Honda lot next door to the Buick/GMC lot where I drove the Encore. Found two CR-Vs unlocked, EX AWD, and I found them to be comparatively positively cavernous inside, with 50 more hp (haven't driven one cannot attest to snappiness), the same EPA mileage rating, and priced with an Encore FWD Convenience.

The Buick is a very nice vehicle, but it will have to find a customer that buys it on looks, maneuverability, and the hope that it matches the EPA ratings with FWD (33 MPG) as opposed to passenger and load space. I mean, it is perfectly sized for somebody like me, but this is, as you say, more a single person's CUV or a second vehicle if there are more than two in the house (empty nesters?)

Encore with 1.6T and the same mileage ratings as 1.4T would fully realize the concept, imo.

The Brilliant Blue FWD Convenience that I sat in during my fist visit to check them out has been sold. It was out on their back lot yesterday afternoon, and seeing it outside, I was again struck by how small and cool these look. I would take one if I could, as is, Convenience AWD.

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caddycruiser    50

Very cool vehicles, and everyone seems to like them once in and driven. The 1.4T with the 6-speed scares me a bit, given how it goes in the Cruze in some ways, but not too much carping from professional reviewers or actual prospects & buyers yet.

Interesting little car. I always thought an Equinox/Terrain class Buick would do gangbusters, like the Enclave in a smaller scale, and this is different but will show a starting point. Hope it does well.

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Drew Dowdell    4,990

The Buick is a very nice vehicle, but it will have to find a customer that buys it on looks, maneuverability, and the hope that it matches the EPA ratings with FWD (33 MPG) as opposed to passenger and load space. I mean, it is perfectly sized for somebody like me, but this is, as you say, more a single person's CUV or a second vehicle if there are more than two in the house (empty nesters?)

This is exactly who Buick is targeting, they said so in their presentation I attended in Atlanta. They want young professionals who are looking to trade out of their "first car" Scion into something more upmarket without spending a lot of money on a Cadillac, BMW, or Benz. They want DINKs who are mpg conscious but still want some utility in their car or are tired of wheeling around one of the large crossovers. They want empty nesters who are trading out of their Traverse or Explorer because they no longer need to haul 3 kids around anymore. Buick seems really focused on these three groups for the Encore, though they'll take anyone who walks in with a check, I think Buick has very reasonable goals set by only really targeting certain customer types.

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ocnblu    733

Well then, I'll say it's a bullseye. Local dealer has a tan one now, maybe I'll stop by there this afternoon to put a nose print on the glass.

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ocnblu    733

Lancaster dealer has at least 6 on the ground already. I posted a couple of pictures over in my thread. Bright Blue one is still in the back yard, didn't see the "sold" card on the dash today... I wonder if the deal fell through.

I also wonder if I really need AWD in one of these... fuel mileage would be marginally better with FWD, and the ride height is the same.

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Drew Dowdell    4,990

Well they had better get another engine in there ASAP then. A nice escape or cx5 is right there next to it.

I don't think the target audience cares one bit. The 33 mpg will be a bigger seller to them than 0-60. Which one of those two features would "mom" care about more? The Ford and Mazda can't be equipped to the same level for the same price. On average, it costs $2,000 more for the same interior features in the those two than it does in the Buick.

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regfootball    234

The front drive Encore leather I drove MSRP was 30,595 and did not have NAV.

CX-5 grand touring front drive with remote start, exact same MSRP after I uncheck the parking sensors which the Buick does not have on that trim.

both pearl white

Buick is 25/33. Mazda is 25/32. Oh my gosh, sound the alarm. 1 mpg! Deal breaker!

Encore nets a heated steering wheel and power passenger seat over the mazda in that matchup. Basically the Mazda is not far off.

32 vs. 33 mpg......the comparison is more than valid.

Fully loaded every option, 33,8xx on the Encore....way too ambitious, even as good as it is, for an all wheel drive Sonic hatch and 138 hp...........

Edited by regfootball

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GMTruckGuy74    228

reg, you hit on many of the concerns I would have with the Encore. The wife wants to delay car replacement at this time, otherwise we too would have test drove an Encore by now. I think I'd be happier with the Verano over the Encore, but the wife is enamored with the Encore's uniqueness in the marketplace.

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