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2013 Buick Encore

By Jim McCraw

On Sale: First Quarter 2013
Expected Pricing: About $33,000

Buick will add a small crossover SUV to its lineup called the Encore at the beginning of 2013. The 2013 Buick Encore follows the very successful Buick Enclave full-size crossover SUV and was revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

The Buick Encore is a small luxury SUV with all-wheel drive designed to be maneuverable and agile, versatile and efficient. The Encore will compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Porsche Cajun, assuming the German SUVs make it to the U.S.

Encore is quite compact, built on a 100.6-inch wheelbase, with a 60.6-inch track width and an overall length of 168.5 inches, with a listed weight under 3200 pounds. The chassis uses McPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and a stabilizer bar, a torsion-beam rear axle with coil springs and tube shock absorbers.

Encore seats five and offers 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded. That's a lot less than that of a Honda CR-V, but slightly more than what will be found in the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

Ten air bags, ABS all-disc brakes with cornering brake control and brake assist, traction control, StabiliTrak stability control, and rollover mitigation are standard equipment on all models. The base tire will be a P215/55R-18 on alloy wheels. Additional safety options will include all-wheel drive, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, front and rear park assist, and a rearview camera.

Encore will use GM's 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine for power, rated at 140 horsepower and 148 foot-pounds of torque between 1850 rpm and 4900 rpm. It will come with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

Fuel economy isn't public yet, but Buick promises Encore will be efficient. In addition to using a small-displacement, turbocharged engine designed for efficiency, Encore will employ several technologies to improve gas mileage. Among them: a high-efficiency alternator, regulated voltage control, an electronically controlled returnless fuel system, deceleration fuel cut-off, low-rolling-resistance tires, electric power steering, a neutral idle feature, and, of course, optimized aerodynamics.

The Encore shares the waterfall grille, hood portholes, body sculpting and chrome accents with the Enclave SUV and the Buick sedans.

Inside, the instrument panel, instruments and controls are basically picked up from the LaCrosse and Regal interiors, with a 7-inch pop-up screen at the top center of the dash for control readouts and navigation, ice-blue lighting, two gloveboxes, and a light/dark combination of trims with chrome accents. Buick says Encore will feature active noise cancellation in the interior in addition to Buick's Quiet Tuning measures, which include an acoustic headliner, a raft of sound-absorbing materials in the cabin, under the hood, and in the wheel wells, foam baffling in all body openings, and acoustic laminated glass all around.

Encore will be built at a General Motors plant in Bupyeong, South Korea, and will be sold in China as well as the United States. The Encore is built on GM's global small car platform called Gamma, which is shared with the Chevrolet Sonic.


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