If I had to sum the Buick Encore GM lent us for our trip to Iowa last week up in just one word, that word would be ‘smooth’.
The ride is smooth, comfortable, and quiet — astonishingly so for a small crossover — but the vehicle itself is smooth too, as in suave and charming. And I don’t throw those two words around lightly. On both the way to and the way back from Des Moines I kept looking at The Man and wondering aloud, “How did they do it?!”
Outside the Encore is undeniably compact; a sharp little thing with plenty of curb appeal, but that doesn’t look like it would be all too roomy. Inside, it’s all luxury vehicle with plenty of leg and elbow room, even for long trips. We were gone just a few days, but the back of the Encore easily fit all of our luggage and the numerous bags of stuff we picked up at the World Pork Expo Trade Show. We even toted home two hog boards and a rattle paddle in the backseat. (Pig moving, herding, and sorting tools.) And if that doesn’t say flexible for a luxury crossover I don’t know what does.
Of course, the Encore has all of the bells and whistles you’d expect. Built in navigation/satellite radio screen in the dash, backup camera, collision and lane sensors, automatic windshield wipers, heated seats… the works. But it also has some low tech features that are notable and one, in particular that got me more excited than any other feature — including all the high tech goodies and gadgets. Ready?
This may or may not be the intended purpose of this feature, but the front passenger’s seat folds all the way forward, leaving a flat work surface on its back. I don’t even want to try to tally up all the hours I’ve spent with a laptop awkwardly propped against my steering wheel, or my knee as I twisted about in my seat trying to find a comfortable way to work while I waited in pick-up lines and at sports practices. Suffice to say they are many, many, many. So when The Man flipped that puppy down the first time and showed me what he’d read about I literally squealed with glee. I have no doubt it’d be the single most used feature of the entire vehicle if we owned an Encore — especially during certain sports seasons.
And to that I might add: there’s plenty of room for the Small Humans who play the sports, and all their equipment too. Neither of ours came to Des Moines with us, but we had the opportunity to use the Encore as our family vehicle for a few days surrounding the trip — taking it to softball games and grocery shopping excursions — and I’m happy to report there was not one skirmish from the backseat. Which is a lot to say of a vehicle that also consistently delivered 29 miles per gallon fuel efficiency.
All in all we were impressed and very pleased with the Buick Encore and would like to extend a big thanks to the Drive the District team and GM for their generosity in allowing us to take it for a spin.