Buick takes liberties with the compact premium crossover
by Luke Vandezande
Buick is faithfully searching for the fountain of youth with its new products as it tries to shed the ďold manĒ image.
But losing that might be more difficult than shedding the spare tire stomachs so many of its customers carry to their bridge games. Meet the 2013 Encore: Its latest stab at attracting a new demographic buyers looking for something other than boat-like cars.
A compact crossover without a specific segment to call itís own, the Encore is similar to a hermit crab in more than its stubby shape. GM says the car doesnít have any direct competition, but compares it most closely to the MINI Countryman and the Volkswagen Tiguan.
That might be a problem, though, when factors like style, brand image and performance come into play Ė as they always do.
UNFORTUNATE EXTERIOR PROPORTIONS
Buickís design language is anything but ugly. In fact, on cars like the Regal, Enclave and even Verano, itís quite handsome. Little accents like the faux chrome hood vents and the imposing grille full of vertical bars add a touch of class to the General Motors portfolio that, while not particularly inspired, offers a degree of distinction.
Unfortunately, the Encore looks like an Enclave puppy that hasnít grown into its paws, or in this case, headlights. Thatís too bad, especially because Buick is right to recognize the burgeoning compact crossover market.
Itís not all bad, though. There are at least some things to love about little utility vehicle. For example, the base model comes with standard 18-inch alloy wheels.
They arenít as nice as the optional chrome rims, but theyíre more than passable. Similarly, projector beam headlights are standard and the blue accents surrounding them distract your glance from the carís body.