Luxury doesn’t always come in big packages.
The 2014 Buick Encore crossover utility vehicle is a classic example.
With comfortable seating for five passengers, the Encore delivers on elegance, premium styling and a CUV filled with upscale amenities and technology.
For the 2014 model year, the Encore remains pretty much unchanged, with the exception of several new features, such as an enhanced Buick InteliLink with text message support and Siri Eyes Free smartphone voice recognition and pass-through for iPhone users.
Consumers also have the availability of rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone alert safety features that are standard on Encore Convenience, Leather and Premium models.
Being an iPhone user, I’m excited about the Siri Eyes Free feature that enables the driver to be alerted when their phone receives a text message — which can be read aloud over the Encore’s audio system and allow the driver to respond without ever taking their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. The system can even check calendar entries, place calls or call up music stored on your iPhone.
There’s also an application for Android phone uses that allows drivers to access their phone’s voice recognition features.
Regardless of phone preference, drivers can access their phone’s Pandora Internet radio app to tune into a favorite station with a simple voice command. Using Gracenotes media database technology, you can generate a random music playlist based on the current song being played.
Of course, the premium six-speaker audio system also includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio with LCD display with MP3/CD player, USB port, Radio Data System and auxiliary jack.
The enhanced InteliLink system also integrates Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio using hands-free voice activation via Bluetooth.
Ride and handling characteristics are on par with what you would expect from a premium, luxury vehicle.
Thanks in large part to Buick’s QuietTuning (as well as Buick’s first application Bose Active Noise Cancellation), the Encore’s cabin is extremely quiet.
Encore’s standard features include: 10 airbags, air conditioning, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, rearview camera, QuietTuning, ABS, OnStar, cruise control, ice-blue interior ambient lighting, heated outside rearview mirrors, power seats, power windows, 7-inch high-resolution color display with premium audio and Bluetooth connectivity, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear cargo cover, roof-mounted luggage racks, dual glove boxes and 18-inch wheels, to name a few.
The Convenience package adds rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone alert, remote start, electrochromic inside rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control and fog lights.
Encore Premium adds Rainsense wipers, Bose audio upgrade, front and rear park assist and forward collision alert system.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
The Nuts and Bolts
2014 Buick Encore
5-seat luxury crossover
Front-, or all-wheel drive
Encore, Convenience, Leather, Premium
1.4L turbo I-4
(138 hp/148 torque)
EPA: 25/23 mpg city, 33/30 mpg highway (FWD/AWD)
FUEL: Regular unleaded
StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control and rollover mitigation
LENGTH: 168.4 inches
WHEELBASE: 100.6 in.
WIDTH: 69.9 inches
HEIGHT: 65.2 inches
WEIGHT: 3190-3309 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 14 gallons
CARGO: 18.8/48.4 cubic feet (behind 2nd/1st row).