2015 Buick Encore AWD Premium review notes
Peppy and responsive10/23/2015
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Hate to use the C word but this thing IS cute as a button. The design fits the size -- the Encore looks good, well proportioned, to my eye. It’s delightful, like a chunky little puppy wagging its tail, all energetic.
I’m surprised how well the Encore drives. This is a likeable little truck and that is good news for Buick. It’s not a rocket by any means, but it sips gas, feels solid and is of high quality (especially for such a small package), and like other Buicks, is nice and quiet going about its business -- double laminated glass, more sound-deadening material, you know the drill. It’s relaxing where other small cars and trucks can be a bit frenetic. I suppose I’d like some firmer steering, but I also suppose most of the targeted customers don’t care.
There is a ton of room inside in terms of the front-seat and cargo space. The back seat is a wee bit tight. Fit and finish are good, and there are high-quality soft-touch materials throughout.
Compact luxury cruiser
2015 Buick Verano Turbo FWD Premium review notes06/05/2015
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I may not exactly know what Buick the brand is, or what it has in store for the future (besides lots and lots of Encores, apparently), but I can tell you one thing about its cars: They’re quiet. Or at least the Verano is. I wasn’t expecting that sort of serenity in a $32,770 compact luxury sedan.
I also wasn’t expecting to enjoy the motor so much. All luxury/non-luxury distinction and debates aside, the big reason you’d buy this instead of a Chevrolet Cruze is the aluminum-block 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. It gets over 100 hp more than the highest-output Cruze motor, and offers torque comparable to the Cruze diesel’s.
What’s more, that uplevel motor makes the Verano more powerful than the Audi A3, and it doesn’t suffer from any annoying low-speed dual-clutchiness like the German offering. Although technically, I suppose it is a German offering being based on an Opel.
2015 Buick LaCrosse Premium review notes03/16/2015
DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Attractive in a bland sort of way, the Buick LaCrosse delivers a lot of features and one of GM’s nicest interiors south of Cadillac, but really falls short on the driving experience. This car flat-out drives weird. Once again, GM’s high-feature 3.6-liter V6 is flaccid unless you really get into the pedal, after which it turns thrashy; it’s the standard MO for this lump, but I never fail to be surprised at how sub-premium it feels. The ride is European-firm -- too firm, actually, and the steering is oversensitive at speed; tiny inputs cause the LaCrosse to dart all over the interstate. Add in a brake pedal with zero feel for half its travel plus massive A- and C-pillars that block large sections of traffic, and you end up with a thoroughly unenjoyable evening’s driving.
Yet for all those distractions, the LaCrosse delivers on its premium promise inside. Buick gave this sedan a gorgeous Jaguar-like band of wood that curves across the dash and down both doors, helping the interior feel both airy and cozy at the same time. Controls are straightforward and, more importantly, they deliver the goods. I’m specifically referring to the heated seats, heated steering wheel and remote start; I had the LaCrosse on a 15-degree morning and it warmed up fast, got the cabin comfortable and was ready to go before I left my house. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many cars disappoint when the weather turns extreme.
2015 Buick Enclave review notes09/26/2014
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Seems to me the only difference between an Enclave and a minivan is the Buick has a longer hood and doesn’t have sliding doors. That is to say it drives rather like a minivan; a smooth, quiet minivan.
Yes, Buick’s quiet tuning (or whatever it’s called these days) really works with double glass and oodles of sound deadening -- this baby sails down the road silently and comfortably. Comfortably as in leisurely. No, it’s not quick, but does it need to be? I would argue not really. The 288-hp six-cylinder is smooth and power is adequate. Handling is about as one expects -- it understeers. Again does it matter? It’s not pretending to be even the least bit sporty. You should know exactly what you’re getting: a relaxing people hauler.
And there is indeed plenty of room to haul people and stuff, and the interior materials are nice. One could argue a minivan is even more efficient and even better at family hauling, but this is dang close, a lot quieter and more refined. It’s also better looking. If you want an ultra quiet and smooth crossover, try an Enclave