New Buick appeals to younger, affluent buyers
By Al Vinikour For Sun-Times Media February 6, 2013 2:23PM
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Arguably one of the auto industry’s remarkable comebacks has been the increasing interest in, and recent sales successes, of Buick.
Once thought of as something the older set bought on a final purchase plan, Buick has developed a series of stylish, fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive vehicles that have become a top consideration for younger and more affluent buyers.
For 2013, the General Motors Division has added a number of new features to its already popular line, and an all-new small luxury crossover to its ever-growing family of vehicles, as well as its third, all-new sedan in three years.
2013 Buick Encore
Buick’s new 2013 Encore is a step down from its highly popular full-size crossover Enclave (the best-selling, three-row luxury crossover in the industry). This simply means it’s a smaller model that will no doubt achieve the acceptance and interest that its larger sibling has received.
Designated a small luxury crossover, Encore seats five and with the rear seat folded, offers up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s powered by an Ecotec 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine developing 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Encore offers the highest fuel economy of any crossover from a domestic manufacturer, uses regular gas and will save customers an estimated $2,100 in fuel savings over five years compared to the average new vehicle.
Encore has an estimated Environmental Protection Agency fuel rating of 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. It’s offered in front-wheel and available all-wheel drive configurations in four trim levels: Encore, Encore Convenience, Encore Leather, and Encore Premium.
Signature design cues include a waterfall grille, chrome accents and surrounds, portholes on the hood and painted lower panels. Body-color door handles with chrome strips and a styled, stainless steel exhaust tip add to the premium look. Blue-accented halogen composite project-beam headlamps and detailed tail lamps enhance the exterior and 18-inch painted aluminum wheels are standard, while seven-spoke chromed aluminum wheels are optional.
There are nine exterior colors. The interior is accented with ice-blue ambient lighting, and select use of bright chrome and wood grain trim. All ebony or a contemporary mix of dark and light tones, enhances the cabin. Like the larger Enclave, it has a beautifully crafted and stylized instrument panel. A high-level of comfort and technologies are included, as well as designed-in noise eradication that makes Encore one of the quietest vehicles on the road.
As far as on-road driving goes, the new Encore offers a column-mounted variable-effort electric power steering system that contributes to a 36.7-foot turning diameter, and saves more fuel than an engine-driven power steering pump.
Encore’s safety and security features include standard rearview camera; StabiliTrak electronic stability control; ABS; cornering brake control and brake assist; available Forward Collision Alert; available front and rear park assist, and 10 standard air bags. Other features are exclusive: OnStar technology, which includes the Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more. The MSRP of the 2013 Buick Encore runs from $24,950 to $29,690.
2013 Buick Verano Turbo
Also new for 2013 is the addition of the Buick Verano Turbo model to the already established and popular Verano line. It’s powered by 2.0L Ecotec four-cylinder turbocharged engine with continuously variable valve timing and delivers 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It’s coupled to a six-speed automatic or manual transmission.
The Verano Turbo sports dual exhaust, sport pedals and rear spoiler. EPA mileage figures are 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway. It also adds a number of standard and available safety, comfort and technology features. MSRP starts at around $27,650.