By Brandy Schaffels.
Sometimes you need more room and utility for passengers and stuff, sometimes you need a little less. Buick provides luxurious options for both scenarios by offering the smaller 2014 Encore two-row crossover as well as the larger 2014 Enclave three-row utility vehicle. While they’re both labeled “crossover utility vehicles,” and both offer premium Buick performance and amenities, they differ significantly in people and cargo capacity, engine size and fuel economy, and (of course) price.
2014 Buick Encore Standard Features
The new 2014 Buick Encore is a maneuverable, versatile, and efficient crossover vehicle, offering a uniquely sized package that’s unmatched in the luxury segment. With two rows of seating offering room for five and 18.8 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat or up to 48.4 cubic feet of storage space when the rear seats are folded, it delivers substantial cargo capacity along with the confident, higher driving position many crossover buyers prefer. Buick’s exclusive QuietTuning is standard and includes active noise cancellation technology, an especially convenient feature for a small crossover utility vehicle, as many vehicles in this segment can experience a bit of road noise.
Underhood, the Buick Encore is powered by an efficient, power-dense 138-horsepower/1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and is available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive powertrains. Thanks to EPA-estimated fuel economy of 25-mpg city, 33-mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models, the 2014 Buick Encore promises the highest fuel economy of any crossover from a domestic automaker. Fuel economy for the all-wheel-drive model is rated at 23-mpg city, 30-mpg highway, and 26-mpg combined.
2014 Buick Encore Safety
The 2014 Buick Encore is designed with a variety of safety technologies – including available radar-based features – to help avoid crashes and protect occupants in case one occurs. Standard technologies that help avoid crashes include a rearview camera, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS electronic brake force distribution, cornering brake control, and brake assist.
Optional safety features include an available all-wheel-drive system that seamlessly shifts power to the rear wheels when required for better traction and handling, as well as available Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Departure Warning. Ten airbags are standard, including driver and front passenger frontal airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, front and rear thorax airbags (all outboard positions), and side curtain airbags for front and rear outboard passengers.
2014 Buick Enclave
The larger 2014 Buick Enclave is driven by a technically advanced 288-horsepower/3.6-liter V-6 engine with fuel-saving direct injection technology and continuously variable valve timing, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy is estimated at 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway for all-wheel-drive models; 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models. The strong V-6 engine also enables the 2014 Enclave to tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Inside, the 2014 Buick Enclave is defined by luxurious amenities and high-quality soft-touch materials, ice-blue LED ambient lighting around the dash, and real chrome accents. The three-row utility vehicle can be configured to hold seven or eight passengers, and boasts 23.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and up to a maximum of 115.2 cubic feet of cargo space available behind the front row.
Outside, the 2014 Enclave features Buick’s distinctive sculpted styling and signature elements – including a black-chrome waterfall grille and signature wing-shape LED lighting. Monochromatic paint schemes accented with chrome contribute to the luxury crossover’s premium appearance.
2014 Buick Enclave Safety Features
The 2014 Buick Enclave features the industry’s first front-center side airbag system that helps protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes. It deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and positions itself between the driver and front passenger, delivering a more comprehensive occupant restraint system to help prevent contact between the driver and front passenger. No other airbag in passenger vehicles today offers this type of protection in the front seat. Additional standard safety features also include StabiliTrak, traction control, panic brake assist, a rearview camera system, and a total of seven air bags – including head-curtain side airbags covering outboard occupants in all three-passenger rows.
Both vehicles offer Buick’s voice-activated IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch full-color-display on the Encore, and 6.5-inch display with touch-screen controls on the Enclave. Intellilink allows hands-free Smartphone integration via Bluetooth or USB connectivity to provide audio streaming from Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio, as well as many other connectivity apps.
New features for 2014 include text message support on both the Encore and Enclave, and Siri Eyes Free on the Encore. With text message support, the driver can be alerted to new messages and can have them read aloud, or can view and respond to them (functionality depends on the Smartphone) with voice to text or pre-saved text messaging. In the Encore, Siri Eyes Free enables iPhone4S and iPhone 5 users to access Siri via the steering wheel controls and check calendar entries, have text messages read and respond to them, place calls, or choose music. Android phone users can use the steering wheel controls to access their phone’s voice recognition features, including the calendar, text message review and response, placing calls and playing music.
Six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service is standard on both the Buick Encore and Enclave. As an added value to the purchase price, two years/24,000 miles of Experience Buick scheduled maintenance and five years of the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app are included with every 2014 Buick sold.
The 2014 Buick Encore starts at $25,085* for the front-wheel-drive model with standard 138-horsepower/1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; MSRP is $26,585 for all-wheel-drive model. The 2014 Buick Enclave starts at $38,740 with standard 288-horsepower/3.6-liter six-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission or $41,665 for all-wheel-drive model. (*All pricing includes $925 delivery fee.)
(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Buick.)