2015 Buick Encore Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The 2015 Buick Encore remains one of the top choices for those seeking a compact yet roomy SUV capable of transporting four passengers in relative comfort. It offers a good choice of trim levels and additional option packages, and its fuel economy is certainly competitive.
What's New For 2015
The Encore has remained basically unchanged from last year's offering. The exterior styling is the same, and buyers will find the usual color choices available. Buick has created a WiFi hotspot in most of its new models, and this is welcome news for those who need a reliable Internet connection. Also, the standard OnStar package includes the latest 4G network connectivity.
Top 10 Reasons To Buy A 2015 Buick Encore
1) Available All-Wheel Drive
Designed to some degree after the Chevrolet Sonic platform, the 2015 Encore offers what the Chevy does not, namely the option of all-wheel drive. This option helps the model keep pace with some of the foreign subcompact offerings currently available, and the price tag does not increase significantly if this package is chosen.
2) Fuel-Efficient Powertrain
The model is offered with only a single engine/transmission combination. The tiny 1.4L turbocharged engine delivers only 138 horsepower, but there is only a slight hesitation when rapid acceleration is needed. Buyers can expect about 33 mpg on the highway, and somewhat less when the vehicle is fully loaded with passengers and cargo.
3) Attractive Two-Tone Interior
The 2015 Buick Encore is available with an elegant single-tone black interior, but most buyers will opt for the two-tone cocoa-brown look instead. This combination is nicely arranged and gives the interior a more luxurious appearance. The color combo also complements the instrument panel nicely. The overall materials quality of the cabin is better than average for a car in this price range.
4) Plenty Of Headroom
The tall, boxy design has its advantages, especially for the driver and front passenger. The driver seat is in an elevated position, and visibility is very good. The rear seating position is somewhat narrow, but the fold-down rear armrest means that two adults can ride quite comfortably.
5) Nice Conversion To A Cargo Hauler
With the back seats folded down, the 2015 Buick Encore boasts more than 50 cubic feet of cargo space, making it the perfect choice for urban commuters who need to bring all their equipment with them. The spacious cargo bay is perfectly proportioned for a car with a hatchback rear entry.
6) Four Distinct Trims
The base trim offers all-wheel drive, something not offered on the standard base model of some competitors. Buyers have a wide range of choices for adding optional equipment on this base trim version. These include a heated oil pan, roof rack cross rails, wheel lock kit, and cargo nets.
The uplevel trims come with foglights, larger alloy wheels, upgraded audio system, and IntelliLink driver info console with 7-inch touchscreen. The Leather trim has complete leather upholstery, and the Premium trim comes with an optional moonroof.
7) Quiet Ride
Buick has really impressed the auto industry critics with its attention to quieter rides at high speeds. The sound-dampening systems are definitely better than just a few years ago. The Encore handles high-speed travel very nicely, with little road vibration noticed by driver and passengers.
8) Voice Command Standard
The voice command works very well, and drivers can program which command prompts are to be used. Nearly every one of the control knobs on the large front console can be switched to verbal command. The touchscreen has icons similar to what is used on most smartphones, so finding the right icon to touch is easy.
9) Good Starting Price
The base trim Encore starts at under $24,000, about average for a subcompact crossover or SUV. The list of standard features - especially the high-tech stuff - makes the price quite attractive. The uplevel Premium trim will cost about $4,000 more.
10) Standard Rearview Camera
Very few domestic models under $30K offer a rearview camera on the base trim as standard equipment. The 2015 Encore is an exception.
Reasons You May Not Want To Buy A 2015 Buick Encore - The Cons
1) No Larger Engine Available
Most competing models have the choice of a larger engine on the uplevel trims, but this is not the case with the Encore. The turbocharged engine delivers more power than any other 1.4L in the industry, but a fully loaded Encore needs plenty of distance to get up to high speed.
2) Confusing Instrument Panel
There are a total of 33 knobs and buttons on the front panel, and this can be a distraction for drivers. The touchscreen and voice command helps out, but the entire layout takes months to get used to.
3) Narrow Configuration
Although there is plenty of headroom in this vehicle, the narrow build means rubbing shoulders and knees with fellow passengers. This is not a good choice for larger individuals heading out on a long road trip.
How It Stacks Up To The Competition
Price is the best weapon the 2015 Buick Encore has when going head-to-head with competing models. The Audi Q3 and Honda HR-V offer more power and are slightly roomier, but they also set the purchaser back a few extra thousand dollars. If moderate-to-good interior quality and a quiet ride are the most important concerns, the Encore will please to no end, but for those who demand good acceleration and more luxurious equipment options, the foreign models in this segment should be looked at closely.
The introductory model price tag is appealing, and buyers who simply want a reliable vehicle that is quiet and offers a comfortable ride will be satisfied with what the 2015 Encore has to offer. It's best to shop around, however. For a few dollars more, competing models from Audi and Honda deliver more power and have even more technologically advanced safety features. All in all, the Encore is a subcompact that is perfect for the commuter.