Dual glove boxes and fold-flat front seat among versatile crossover’s features
DETROIT – When the Buick Encore small luxury crossover goes on sale in early 2013, it will define a new market segment in the United States. But small doesn’t mean cramped when it comes to storage.
“Regardless of a vehicle’s size, Buick has a standard for what items must fit, from iPods and smartphones, to umbrellas and much larger items like handbags,” said chief engineer Jim Danahy. “With Encore, we used every space available, big or small, in a visually pleasing and useful way.”
Encore offers eight beverage holders, storage in all four doors, four different bins in the dash, pockets in the seatbacks, an available bin beneath the front passenger seat, and even bins under the rear load floor around the spare tire.
This holistic approach maximized traditional cargo space concerns and the ever-growing need to stow small gadgets. Deep pockets in each front door can hold a one-liter beverage, along with a book or tablet computer, plus a smaller item like an iPod or portable video game system like a 3DS.
Because valuable electronics are often left in vehicles, the Encore’s dashboard features multiple spaces that hide such items behind closed doors. A Bluetooth-connected smartphone can be stored in a small flip-down compartment to the left of the steering wheel, while larger items can be divided between individual upper and lower glove boxes.
Additional storage space for front passengers includes a cubby in front of the gear selector, which houses a 12-volt plug and USB jack. Moving rearward along the console, two cupholders sit ahead of a storage compartment with a retractable lid.
Encore’s rear doors can hold half-liter bottles, while a fold-down rear armrest offers two cupholders and additional storage space.
Buick benchmarked the Encore’s rear cargo space against leading international competitors:
|Rear Seat in Place||Rear Seat Folded|
|Buick Encore||18.8 cu. ft. / 533 liters||48.4 cu. ft. / 1,372 liters|
|BMW X1||16.9 cu. ft. / 480 liters||47.4 cu. ft. / 1,350 liters|
|Audi Q3||16.2 cu. ft. / 460 liters||48.2 cu. ft. / 1,365 liters|
With the rear seats in place, there’s space for six large grocery bags or the gear necessary for a quick overnight trip. For longer vacations and more luggage, either or both sides of the 60/40 folding rear seat can be lowered, and the front passenger seat folds flat to handle long boards for a home do-it-yourself project or bulky sports equipment like skis or a surfboard.
Encore also has plenty of room for people and compares favorably to some much larger competitors. Compared to the 2012 Acura RDX and Lexus RX350, respectively, Encore offers 1.2 and 2.0 more inches or rear passenger legroom. It also offers more front and rear headroom than either of those vehicles.
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance.