What's New for 2014:
- IntelliLink adds text-messaging capability and Siri Eyes Free technology
- Rear cross-traffic alert and side blind-zone alert standard for Convenience Group
The 2014 Buick Encore is a compact crossover SUV designed to deliver a combination of style, practicality, luxury, and fuel economy in a small and affordable package. It has no direct competitors in terms of size, price and positioning, but is among the members of a new group of compact but upscale SUVs that includes the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.
Models and Features
Buick sells the 2014 Encore in a standard level of specification that can be enhanced with Convenience, Leather, and Premium option groups in addition to a smattering of extra-cost upgrades.
Standard equipment includes a power driver's seat, fold-flat front passenger's seatback, storage under the front passenger's seat, dual glove boxes, ambient interior lighting, QuietTuning to help hush the cabin, and Active Noise Cancellation to help quiet the engine. The Encore also includes power windows with express-down operation, power door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, exterior temperature and average fuel economy displays, and floor mats.
On the outside, the Encore is equipped with 18-inch aluminum wheels, power heated exterior mirrors, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, and a reversing camera, while on the inside there's an IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch color touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity with music streaming, satellite radio, and OnStar services.
Options and Packages
Upgrade to the Convenience Group, and the Encore adds dual-zone automatic climate control, side blind-zone alert blind-spot monitoring, a rear cross-traffic alert system, remote engine starting, auto-dimming interior mirror, 120-volt power outlet, and fog lights. The Leather Group adds leather seats plus memory for the driver's settings, a power front passenger's seat, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
At the top of the lineup, the Premium Group includes rain-sensing wipers, front and rear park-assist sensors, forward-collision alert system, lane-departure warning system, premium audio system, cargo net, and a cargo mat.
Additional options for all Encore trim levels include all-wheel drive (AWD) and roof-rack crossbars. Versions with one of the option groups can be fitted with a power sunroof and chrome wheels, and the Premium Group's upgraded audio system is also available for Encores with the Convenience and Leather option groups. A smattering of dealer-installed extras is also available.
Under the Hood
A turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard for all Encores. It generates 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque, with the torque available starting at a low 1,850 rpm. A 6-speed automatic transmission feeds the power to the Encore's front wheels, and an AWD system is optional.
According to the EPA, the 2014 Buick Encore is rated to get between 23 mpg in the city with AWD and 33 mpg on the highway with FWD. In combined driving, the front-driver is rated 28 mpg while the AWD model returns 26 mpg.
Safety Ratings and Technology
Based on crash-test results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2014 Encore gets a 4-star (out of 5 stars) overall rating when equipped with FWD, and a 5-star overall rating when the optional AWD system is present. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not rated the 2014 Encore for crash protection as this overview is written.
For 2014, Buick adds several safety-related features to the Encore. The IntelliLink infotainment system gains text-messaging capability as well as Siri Eyes Free technology, each of which is designed to reduce driver distraction. All Encores except for the base version also get standard side blind-zone alert blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert system.
These upgrades join standard safety features including 10 air bags, a reversing camera, and OnStar services. OnStar is free for the first 6 months of ownership, and includes Automatic Crash Response, which helps to summon emergency rescuers following an air bag deployment.
The Encore's Premium Group package contains several safety-related upgrades, including rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision warning system.