All-new luxury crossover is versatile, efficient and continues brand’s growth
Buick today, for the first time in Canada, introduced the all-new 2013 Encore – a luxury small crossover that delivers Buick’s signature style, interior acoustic refinement and collection of luxury amenities in a maneuverable, versatile and efficient package.
The Encore is on display at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto through Feb. 26, and goes on sale in early 2013.
Buick models continue to gain in popularity, with two consecutive years of higher retail sales. The Encore joins Verano – Buick’s third all-new sedan in three years – to round out the brand’s lineup and continues the momentum established by the Enclave crossover almost five years ago.
With room for five and up to 48.4 cubic feet (1,372 liters) of storage space with the rear seat folded, the Encore offers substantial cargo capacity along with the confident, higher driving position, all-wheel-drive capability and contemporary styling of a crossover. In fact, its cargo space compares favorably against similar-sized international competitors.
Additional features include 10 standard air bags and an Ecotec 1.4L turbo four-cylinder/six-speed automatic powertrain, along with standard and available technologies such as Buick’s voice-activated IntelliLink – which uses Bluetooth or a USB to connect the driver’s smartphone to a high-resolution, full-color seven-inch LCD display radio.
And because it’s a Buick, QuietTuning is standard on the Encore, which also features Buick’s first use of active noise cancellation technology.
Contemporary design offers versatile spaciousness
In keeping with the global design language that has come to symbolize the brand, the Encore’s sculpted and elegant styling traits – including sweeping character lines – make it instantly identifiable as a contemporary Buick. Signature cues include a waterfall grille, chrome accents and surrounds, portholes on the hood and painted lower panels, similar to the Enclave.
“The Encore brings Buick’s timeless, sculptural design to the crossover segment in a way that blends elegance, efficiency and utility,” said David Lyon, executive director of design. “There’s confidence in its athletic stance and elemental beauty in its rich details.”
Blue-accented projector-beam headlamps and detailed taillamps enhance the premium appearance; and 18-inch, five-spoke painted aluminum wheels are standard. Seven-spoke chrome wheels are available.
Inside, the Encore’s organic styling carries over to a flowing instrument panel that wraps naturally into the door panels. A prominent central instrument panel houses the large, full-color, seven-inch LCD display for the IntelliLink voice-activated radio system. It also features displays for the SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as available navigation and rear camera systems.
A contemporary mix of dark and light tones distinguishes the cabin, which is accented with ice blue ambient lighting, select use of bright trim and wood-grain trim. Premium seats featuring high-density foam for greater comfort on long drives are trimmed with either a contemporary cloth/leatherette motif or available leather. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are available. The rear seat features a fold-down armrest with cup holders.
More of the Encore’s comfort and luxury features – standard and available – include:
- Remote vehicle start
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Rainsense wipers
- Bose premium sound system
- Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
- Six-way, power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment and driver memory.
Encore also features plenty of storage capacity and storage compartments. It offers 18.8 cubic feet (533 liters) of storage behind the split-folding rear seat and 48.4 cubic feet (1,372 liters) with the rear seat folded. With the rear seat in place, there’s room for at least six full grocery bags and with the rear seat folded, there’s room for golf clubs and overnight bags for a weekend getaway. Even the front passenger seat folds flat to extend the cargo length and accommodate long items that would not normally fit in a vehicle of this size.
Nine exterior colors and three interior color combinations will be offered.
QuietTuning gets ‘active’
QuietTuning is the process of defining Buick quality, sound and vibration characteristics and designing and refining the vehicle following a three-point strategy of reducing sounds at their source, blocking sounds from entering the cabin and absorbing any remaining sounds.
For the Encore, specific content was applied to achieve 40 sound benchmarks for refinement, including Buick’s first application of active noise cancellation. With it, ceiling-mounted microphones detect engine noise, the frequencies of which are processed by a computer that directs counteracting sound waves through the audio system’s speakers and subwoofer.
Additional standard QuietTuning features include:
- Acoustically treated headliner with a tuned gap between it and the high-strength-steel roof panel
- Sound-absorbing materials used in the cabin, under the hood and in the wheel house liners
- HydraMatic 6T40 six-speed transmission with neutral gear disengagement
- Quiet-tuned 18-inch Continental tires
- Aero-optimized outside mirrors
- Ultra-quiet engine alternator
- Acoustic-laminated windshield and thicker 5mm side window glass
- Foam baffle insulation at the opening of body structure cavities.
‘One-tire’ philosophy sharpens ride and handling characteristics
The new Encore is built on a global small-crossover platform and engineered with a “one-tire” philosophy. Everything is optimized around a single 18-inch tire specification, designed for more precise suspension tuning, driving refinement, quietness and a feeling of control.
The Encore’s 100.6-inch (2,555 mm) wheelbase and wide stance – 60.6-inch (1,540 mm) front and rear tracks – contribute to a more confident-feeling driving experience, while a strong structure enables greater suspension precision and a quieter ride. Tuned engine, including two hydraulic mounts, are tailored to the engine’s inherent torque axis to disrupt the transmission of vibration and noise. This configuration also helps control the transfer of momentum, resulting in improved dynamic balance.
A MacPherson strut front suspension is used with coil springs, a large stabilizer bar and side-load-compensated front strut modules. The rear suspension incorporates a compound crank (torsion beam) design, with a double-wall, tubular V-shape beam profile with gas-charged twin-tube shocks. It combines all the advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle, including minimal space requirements, with low weight and consistent camber control. Urethane spring isolators are used to dampen noise.
The Encore also features a column-mounted, variable-effort electric power steering system. It contributes to a 36.7-foot (11.2 meters) turning diameter, while also saving fuel compared to an engine-driven power steering pump.
Safety technology helps protect occupants
Encore is designed with technologies – including radar-based features – to help avoid crashes and protect occupants in case one occurs. Technologies that help avoid them include:
- Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control
- Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution
- Cornering brake control and brake assist
- Available all-wheel-drive system that seamlessly shifts power to the rear wheels when required for better traction and handling
- Available forward collision alert and lane departure warning
- Available front and rear park assist
- Available rear vision camera.
When it comes to occupant protection, the Encore’s body structure forms a protective cage around the passenger compartment. Sixty-three percent of the underbody structure is comprised of high-strength steels, while 57 percent of the upper body uses high-strength steels, including ultra-high-strength steel. That protection is complemented with 10 standard air bags, which include:
- Driver and front passenger frontal air bags
- Driver and front passenger knee air bags
- Front and rear thorax air bags (all outboard positions)
- Side curtain air bags for front and rear outboard passengers.
Encore’s suite of safety features is rounded out with exclusive OnStar technology, which includes the Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more.
Ecotec turbo engine drives efficiency
The Buick Encore is powered by an efficient, power-dense Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It generates an estimated 140 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps it deliver a better driving experience and performance.
The 1.4L’s turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A reinforced crankshaft and forged connecting rods deliver additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque over a wide rpm band.
Several of the engine’s features contribute to the Encore’s overall fuel efficiency, including:
- A high-efficiency alternator
- Regulated voltage control
- Electronically controlled returnless fuel system
- Deceleration fuel cut-off.
They complement other vehicle-wide systems and components that also help improve efficiency, including low-rolling-resistance tires, electric power steering, neutral idle feature and optimized aerodynamics.
A Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission backs the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine. It is part of a family of six-speed front and all-wheel drive transaxles developed for small cars and crossovers. It has a unique design, with the planetary gearsets positioned on the same axis as the engine crankshaft centerline, making the entire powertrain unit shorter fore-to-aft. This design enables a shorter overall vehicle length, increased interior space, enhanced safety crush zones and lower weight.
The Hydra-Matic 6T40 offers a “steep” first gear and a “tall” overdrive top gear to achieve a wide ratio spread of 6.14:1. This allows the Encore to achieve robust acceleration, as well as fuel efficiency and lower engine noise at highway cruising speeds. A neutral-gear disengagement feature helps enhance smoothness and efficiency.