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2013 Buick Encore Debut

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What's New
The 2013 Buick Encore is all-new but the idea of a small Buick ccrossover as been around for a few years. The first Encore concept was originally shown off at an private General Motors press event back in 2009, but the poor reception it got sent designers back to the drawing board. This Encore is classified as a small luxury crossover and is built on on a set of underpinning by the same name. It's only 168.5 inches long which is tiny when it comes to SUV's. By comparison with other GM models the Verano is 183.9 inches, the Cruze is 181 inches long, and the subcompact Sonic checks in at 159 inches long.

Who's It For
The 2013 Buick Encore is aimed at those looking for an alternative to small luxury crossovers such as the upcoming BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Premium interior materials include soft plastics, rich leather, and color combinations similar to those in the Chevy Cruze-based Buick Verano. The Encore shares the same seat positions and a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine responsible for 140 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque of Chevy's up-and-coming Sonic subcompact. The Encore's mill is hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission. Key Features

Key Features
The 2013 Buick Encore is the latest entrant into a smaller luxury SUV segment that started going at an exponential rate almost overnight. Some of the Encores features include:

  • Electric steering. While it may not be a ground-breaking technology anymore, electric power steering will be helpful in keeping fuel economy in check in the somewhat heavy Encore. The four-wheel-drive variant weighs in at 3,190 pounds and 3,309 pounds for the all-wheel-drive configuration. That's a hefty little SUV when compared with the similar size of the Sonic which tips the scales around 2,775 pounds.
  • 18-inch tires. A smaller crossover with bigger tires always looks cool, period.
  • "Quiet Tuning" philosophy. The Encore is laced with Buick's noise-cancelling materials. Like its German counterparts, the Encore promises a quiet ride no matter what type of geography passes underneath.

What We Think
The 2013 Buick Encore is GM's latest attempt to penetrate the luxury SUV segment and the jury is still out on how well it will do. Even if the Encore bests its German competition the smaller SUV may be better suited for China. We're anxious to get some wheel time with the smaller Encore, X1, and Q3 to see how they all stack up against each other. For now it's not a bad idea to wait for all three smaller luxury SUVs to enter the U.S. market before making a final decision. The 2013 Buick Encore is set to go on sale stateside early this year.

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