2015 Buick Encore Is a Winter Surprise

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Buick's tiny Encore is no stranger to exceeding expectations, most notably ride comfort and interior quality for a $25,000 small SUV. The subcompact SUV can easily add winter drivability to its list of accomplishments. After a storm dumped around 19 inches of snow on Chicagoland, my test all-wheel-drive 2015 Encore surprised me by proving it was up to the task.

Related: More Buick Encore News

With the Encore buried up to its front bumper and the undercarriage flattening the big snow mound underneath, the car clawed for traction and pulled itself up and over piles of snow with an almost Subaru-like confidence. Cars.com's long-term Jeep Cherokee test car with the basic all-wheel-drive system didn't muscle through the same snow pile as confidently the Encore.

By Joe Bruzek | February 20, 2015 | Comments (4)

2015 Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax Named IIHS Top Safety Picks

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Improvements to its structure have helped the 2015 Buick Encore, a subcompact crossover, earn a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Encore's lower-priced twin, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax, also received the Top Safety Pick designation.

Related: 2015 Chevrolet Trax Expert Review

The 2015 Encore received the top score of good in small- and moderate-overlap crash tests as well as side-impact, roof-strength and seat tests. The 2013-14 Encore rated good in four crash tests, but earmed the lowest score of poor in the small-overlap front crash test, which simulates the car's front corner colliding with a vehicle or a utility pole. This difficult test has caused many automakers to redesign their vehicles to provide better front crash protection.

To be named a Top Safety Pick, a car must receive a rating of good or acceptable in the small-overlap crash test as well as a good score in the remaining tests.

IIHS' highest award, the Top Safety Pick Plus, takes into account not only the crash-test scores but also if a vehicle has a frontal-crash prevention system. To earn the honor, a car's prevention system must receive a ranking of superior or advanced. The 2015 Encore earned the lowest rating of basic because it has an optional forward collision warning system. The Trax doesn't offer a forward collision warning system.

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By Jennifer Newman | February 10, 2015 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 124,000 GM Cars, Crossovers

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Vehicles Affected: More than 124,000 GM vehicles, including model-year 2013-14 Buick Encore crossovers and Cadillac ATS cars; 2014 Cadillac CTS and ELR cars; 2014 Chevrolet Caprice and SS cars; and 2014-15 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks

The Problem: Due to an incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly, the front seats in the affected vehicles may not stay secured in place during a high-load condition such as a crash, increasing the risk of an injury. We first reported on this issue on July 23.

The Fix: GM will begin notifying owners late this month, and dealers will inspect the seat hook bracket assembly weld and, if necessary, replace the lower seat track for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Buick at 800-521-7300, Cadillac at 800-458-8006, Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 and GMC at 800-462-8782. They can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Urban Cars

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From squeezing between a Dumpster and a wall to holding your breath as a bus hard aports past your bumper, cities can be an automotive minefield. And cars are often the casualties. Need proof? Look no further than auto insurance rates. A 40-year-old male with a 2012 Honda Accord in Manhattan's West Village would pay 27 percent more for the exact same coverage than if he lived across the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., according to CarInsurance.com's analysis of six leading carriers.

Related: Top 10 Most Overlooked New Cars

Yet scores of Americans still prefer to live in the city. From New York to San Antonio, the country's 25 largest urban centers are home to 31.9 million people within city limits, according to the 2010 Census. That's 10.3 percent of the entire U.S. population in 2010, and given the trend of increasing urbanization, it doesn't look like it will recede anytime soon.

Most city-zens still have to drive. Not to worry: Our latest Top 10 nominates cars best suited for urban driving. Editors considered our candidates' overall size relative to their competitors, as well as visibility, city gas mileage, turning radius, city drivability, utility and more.

Here are our picks, in order of which cars received the most votes. In cases of a tie, we ranked by turning circle and other dimensions.

By Kelsey Mays | August 11, 2014 | Comments (10)

Recall Alert: 2013 Cadillac ATS, Buick Encore

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Vehicles Affected: More than 48,000 model-year 2013 Cadillac ATS four-door sedans and Buick Encore crossovers

The Problem: The front outboard lap belt pretensioner cables will retract upon deployment to pull in seat belt webbing, but may not lock, allowing the cable and the retracted webbing to return to their original length under occupant loading. This could increase occupant movement and, therefore, the risk of an injury, in certain crashes. GM said the problem was discovered during frontal crash testing, and the automaker is unaware of any related crashes or injuries.

The Fix: GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace both front outboard lap belt pretensioners. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule, but has ordered a stop-sale for any unsold models at dealerships until repairs have been made.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Cadillac at 800-333-4223 or Buick at 800-521-7300, or go to www.safercar.gov.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 8, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 3,000 2011-14 GM Compact Cars, Crossovers

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 3,000 GM compact cars and crossovers, including model-year 2011-14 Chevrolet Cruzes and 2012-14 Sonics, as well as 2013-14 Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore crossovers, and Buick Verano sedans

The Problem: Insulation on the engine block heater power cord, if equipped, may become damaged during very cold conditions.

The Fix: GM will notify owners and dealers will make the necessary repairs for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or Buick at 800-521-7300.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | June 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

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By Jennifer Newman | June 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

What's the Most Affordable Compact SUV for 2014?

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If you're shopping for a compact SUV, the bevy of competitive options to choose from may overwhelm you. Since our last comparison test in 2012 new models from Jeep, Nissan and Toyota have gone on sale, and they're selling quite well.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Midsize Sedan for 2014

One other thing that has changed recently: Most models in this segment come with relatively well-equipped base levels, or with just a few options selected. That makes finding the most affordable versions easier, but it's not a simple task.

We've done the hard part and compiled the right trim levels that deliver expected features in this class and included the cost of gas over five years to determine the most affordable compact SUV amongst the ranks.

By David Thomas | June 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Chevrolet Spark, 2013 Buick Encore

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 61 model-year 2013-2014 Chevrolet Spark cars and 2013 Buick Encore crossovers manufactured in Changwon, Korea, from Dec. 30, 2012 through May 8, 2013

The Problem: GM is reporting that the front passenger airbag end cap could separate from the airbag inflator, which could prevent the airbag from deploying in a crash. The automaker is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to this problem.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace the affected parts for free.

What Owners Should Do: General Motors has not yet provided an owner notification schedule but did say courtesy transportation would be provided as needed. Owners can call Buick at 800-521-7300 or Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

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By Jennifer Geiger | June 9, 2014 | Comments (9)

2014 Buick Encore Video

Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays describes the Buick Encore's exterior styling as traditional Buick in front, forgettable beyond that. What will stick in people's minds, however, are a commanding seating position and premium interior touches — even the fake wood looks convincing. Watch the video for more.

More Buick Encore News on Cars.com

By Matt Schmitz | May 6, 2014 | Comments (2)

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