Buick is a year away from selling its new Encore ‘baby’ crossover vehicle but wants everyone to know it is making a big play for this emerging market segment. Unveiled at NAIAS by Mary Barra, General Motors’ vice president of global product development and Ed Welburn, design chief, the 2013 Encore is derived from the same vehicle architecture as the Chevrolet Sonic.
With room for five passengers and versatile cargo handling design, the Encore is “on the cutting edge of an emerging trend, the small luxury crossover,” said Welburn. Buick compares the Encore to two upscale European market models, the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, and claims more interior space than either vehicle.
As with the Sonic, the Encore uses GM’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Encore interior design is notable for premium materials, in keeping with the rest of the Buick line-up, added Welburn. In terms of safety, the Encore will have optional all-wheel drive, forward collision alert and lane departure warning, front and rear park assist and a rear vision camera.
On a global basis, Barra said Buick continues to do well in China with sales up 17 percent in 2011. In the US, Buick outsold Audi, Infiniti and Acura among other premium brands.
John McCormick is a columnist for Autos Insider and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org