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2015 Buick Encore

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/11/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Buick Encore adds an available Wi-Fi hotspot option with a 4G LTE connection (with a subscription charge after a three-month trial) via OnStar.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Buick Encore is a small crossover sold in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations and in four trim levels. Its sole engine is a turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is good at 25/33 mpg city/highway for front-drive variants and 23/30 mpg with all-wheel drive. Chevrolet sells the less expensive Trax crossover on the same platform.

Overview

The 2015 Buick Encore's turbo-four has enough low-end torque to allow for decent acceleration; however, it is easily outpaced by competitors with more powerful engines. Its tall proportions also mean that it "leans through turns" despite remaining planted. On the other hand, the crossover's small 36.7-foot turning radius makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

Interior space in the 2015 Encore is generous for a small crossover with split-folding rear seats that allow up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo while the front passenger seat folds forward for longer items. Storage cubbies for small items are abundant with multiple bins scattered throughout the cabin. Build quality is good for its class with soft-touch plastics and high-grade leather used throughout the interior. Passenger space is good for four passengers with good headroom and legroom all around.

The 2015 has a four-star rollover and a five-star frontal crash safety score from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars).

UPDATE : Optional safety aids include blind spot warning, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. The NHTSA gave the 2015 Buick Encore a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars) while the IIHS designated it a Top Safety Pick, earning a Good score in five categories (Good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

Despite its weak powertrain and heavy curb weight, the 2015 Buick Encore is a good choice among small crossovers due to its practicality and well-appointed cabin. In a 2013 First Drive review, we said that the crossover's "smallish dimensions belie a capacious interior" with many configurations that make it extremely flexible for carrying passengers and cargo. Like all Buicks, the Encore's passenger compartment is well insulated and has low noise levels thanks to the carmaker's Quiet Tuning, which includes an acoustically treated headliner and window glass, and Bose Noise Cancelling system. The amount of available tech and convenience features are also impressive and include a navigation system with a seven-inch touch screen, Bose audio system, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, power seats with driver memory, and leather upholstery.

You'll Like

  • Small turning radius
  • Quiet and roomy cabin
  • Flexible interior

You Won't Like

  • Weak powertrain
  • Narrow rear window obstructs visibility
  • Heavy curb weight particularly with all-wheel-drive

Key Competitors

  • Mini Countryman
  • Fiat 500X
  • Kia Soul
  • Nissan Juke
  • Audi Q3

Rating

4 star

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