2013 Buick Encore at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show


  • Competes with: Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape
  • Looks like: Buick’s version of the deceased Saturn Vue
  • Drivetrain: 140-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with six-speed automatic; front- or all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Early 2013

Buick's baby crossover is here, and "baby" is no joke. It's so much smaller than the three-row Enclave — nearly 3 feet shorter from bumper to bumper and 9.1 inches narrower — that Buick officials told us another crossover could slot between the two. The Encore stretches the limits of entry-luxury crossovers, taking on models that haven't even arrived here yet: the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, which slot below existing entry-luxury crossovers like the X3 and Q5. When the Encore hits dealers early next year, you might also shop it against a Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX-5.

More 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The Encore's overall shape looks like the erstwhile Saturn Vue, with Buick cues in the grille, faux hood portals and blue-ensconced headlights. Faux vents cut an odd chunk from the lights themselves — a strange cue we'll have to warm up to. The Encore's lower flanks have a darker finish, but Buick matches them to a pearl paint if you specify the color. Short overhangs characterize the profile, which sits on 18-inch aluminum wheels.

The rear suspension uses a semi-independent torsion beam — the stuff of economy cars — but models from the Hyundai Elantra to the Volkswagen Jetta ride well enough with the setup, so we can't knock it until we drive it.

The cabin boasts gobs of insulation and active noise cancellation, the latter a Buick first. Buick's standard IntelliLink multimedia system can stream smartphone apps through a 7-inch dash display. Like the Verano sedan, the Encore comes standard with leatherette-and-cloth or full-leather seats. Options include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and a backup camera.

Behind the rear seats is 18.5 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold the seats down, and the Encore has 48.4 cubic feet — closer to hatchback than SUV territory, but similar to the space in the X1 and Q3, Buick says.

We wonder if GM's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will imbue the Encore with much passing power; it's the sole engine. With 140 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque, the tiny four-cylinder works through a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional. Buick has yet to estimate gas mileage, but the same engine helps the Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic achieve 40-plus mpg. The Encore is in the same weight ballpark, so we'll see how it does.

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2013 Buick Encore

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Dang, it is a baby!! I wonder why they didnt go with an X3/Q5 competitor. Prob to not step on the toes of the Cadillac SRX


this is VERY small. Too small. But 1000lbs heavier? That cant be right. The Cruze is about 3100lbs.


It's not right. Encore FWD is 3190 lbs. and Encore AWD is 3309. The Cruze is 3223 lbs. in lLT trim. Please correct the posting.


i think the design trails off towards the rear. in my opinon it looks cheap (the taillights look like a nissan versa). honestly, the car seems irelevant. too small for us americans. and i wonder how the 1.4 will do at moving this car around. i understand why they didn't make it bigger (like the srx or terrain) because they don't want canibalism. to me (another person on caranddriver summed it up well)buick answered a question nobody was asking. the interior is gorgeous, though.


i don't see the previous generation vue that you guys keep insisting is there. maybe it's just the knowledge that this would have been a saturn (possibly vue) had the brand stuck around that's causing you guys to reach. if you actually open images of the previous vue and then look at this vehicle (i know..research is sooooo much work), you wouldn't see much of a resemblance.


This is the first mistake Buick has made post-Enclave/Lacrosse. It looks cheap, too much like the Vue, and not enough like a buick. the Interiors nice though.


Looks nice and in todays market small could be good. Do not see Vue at all. Does not look cheap and could fill a void.


What's wrong with it looking like the VUE? The VUE was a direct rebadging of the German designed Opel Antara and is marketed worldwide as, variously, a Chevrolet Captiva, Opel Antara, Holden Captiva, and Vauxhall Antara. It is a thoroughly pleasing German design, as is the Opel Insignia rebadged here as a Buick Regal. Furthermore, I think Buick missed a golden opportunity to fill its product line when it did not produce its version of the Opel Antara when the Saturn VUE was no longer available in the US or Canada (though it is still available elsewhere in the Americas as the Chevrolet Captiva).


Really like this. I have the Enclave and this looks like a mini Enclave. Will consider having this as a second car for city driving.

Max Reid

Nice looks, pocket luxury. Does it have Flex fuel engine like Lacrosse, Regal and Verano.

This will be the next segment of CUV after the small segment containing Escape, Equinox, CRV.

Danny B

Looks Sooo much like new Mazda CX5! Buick gonna sue Mazda? LOL


I like it! It is similar to my lovely Pontiac Vibe - in that it provides a hatchback and storage, but maintains good mpg.

Looks to me like the luxury I'm looking for - without sacrificing my love of hatchback!


looks an awful like the 2013 Ford Escape too...

Danny B

What? who copied who. Mazda CX5 looks like Encore and Enclave, Lawsuit?


I like this small SUV and don't understand some of the comments that no one is looking for this type of vehicle. Personally, I will either be buying this when it comes out or the redesigned 2013 Ford Escape. I am 33 and I think people of my generation are looking for slick looking small SUVs that are recreational (can put your skis or kayak on top) and also get great gas mileage. As far as I can tell, this and the new escape are the only 2 good looking American made small SUVs out there. I'll probably be waiting for this one over the Escape though due to it's luxurious interior.

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