I slide into the front seat of the Buick Encore, throw my Louis Vuitton onto the passenger seat and realize I am right at home. I am swathed in cocoa and saddle-up, colors that are exclusive to Buick and similar to the brown on tan of my little Louis. I smile as I remember the movie "Leap Year", a chick-flick starring Amy Adams. Adams character, Anna from Boston, traipsed around Ireland in $600 high heels, lugging her Louis Vuitton over hill and dale.
Buick is the only car brand to decrease the average age of its buyer in the past 5 years. It is outselling Acura, Audi, Infiniti and Lincoln. If you are an upwardly mobile member of Gen-X or Gen-Y, like Anna, or if you are looking for economy, function, style and luxury, you will want to look at the Buick Encore. It competes well against the Audi A3, BMW X1, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Infiniti EX, Lexus CT200h.
In the movie Anna was to fly from Boston to Ireland to propose to Jeremy on leap day, a man she had been dating for four years, a man that still hadn't proposed to her even though they were buying an apartment together.
Bad weather took Anna from Boston to Wales instead of Ireland where she meets Matthew Goode's character, Declan, an Irish man in need of money to save his bar. Money talks and Declan agrees to take Anna to Dublin to meet Jeremy in a car Declan calls his "classic" baby. The first time Anna sees the classic she smirks, "why mess it up with silly airbags."
Anna would have loved either a front-wheel or all-wheel drive Buick Encore at that moment. She is the correct demographic that Buick says they see buying this car, a young urban professional with no children.
Anna's Louis Vuitton should have been sitting in the lap of luxury in the back of the Encore, instead of strapped to the top of a classic Renault 4. Or on the roof rack, which is standard to compliment the active sporty lifestyle of the Buick Encore owner. The ten airbags in the Encore would have saved them from scrapes and bruises, but the movie wouldn't have been as comical. There are upper and lower storage compartments in front of the passenger, and lots of cup holders and storage compartments located throughout the car.
There are four Encore models; Basic, Convenience, Leather or Premium. The two-tone vehicle comes in nine exterior colors: quicksilver metallic, deep espresso bronze metallic, ruby red metallic, glacier blue metallic, brilliant blue metallic, cocoa silver metallic, white pearl tricoat, satin steel gray metallic and carbon black metallic. There are three interior colors to choose from: black, saddle and titanium.
The entry model, Basic, with a starting price of $24,950 (if we were in the old country Bob is slang for a schilling, something you should know if you're going to watch the movie).
The Basic model includes QuietTuning with Bose Active Noise Cancellation, 18-inch wheels, a rearview camera and a seven-inch, high-resolution, full-color display radio with IntelliLink connectivity, which is way better than the dusty cassette player in Declan's baby.
The Convenience model adds dual-zone climate control, a 120-volt outlet, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start and fog lights for $25,760. Anna could certainly use the 120-volt outlet to charge her smartphone, instead of trying to plug it in at her hotel room and create a blackout in the entire town.
The Leather model starts at $27,460 and includes all of the above features plus leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a power passenger seat. There's nothing like walking through a hailstorm, with your Louis Vuitton suitcase in tow, to appreciate heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
The Premium model starts at $28,940. You get everything above plus front and rear park assist, Forward Collision Alert with Lane Departure Warning, a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system with a subwoofer, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a cargo net and area cargo mat.
The Encore is a front-wheel-drive compact luxury crossover with a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An all-wheel-drive model is available. It has an EPA-estimated 25 city/33 highway miles per gallon with a standard six-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 138-hp turbocharged and 148 pound-feet of torque.
The 1.4- is the same engine that is in the Chevy Cruze and the Chevy Sonic. Both of those cars are much lighter than the Encore. For normal getting around town, the engine works well in the Encore. Passing on a hill with children in the back makes one wish the engine was a little more muscular.
In a reflective moment Declan asks Anna a poignant question, "If your house was on fire and you had 60 seconds, what would you take from your house, what would you grab?" You'll have to watch the movie to see what was so important to Declan, the one thing he would grab.
What would I grab? The car keys, of course. Oh, and my little Louie.