The small-but-tall new Buick will return 25/33 mpg (city/highway). Those figures are for 2013 Encore crossovers equipped with front-wheel drive, and Buick says the new model's EPA combined rating of 28 mpg beats all of its domestic competitors.
The Buick Encore was introduced at the Detroit auto show and it goes on sale early next year. The compact crossover is intended to draw younger buyers to the Buick brand. The only powertrain choice is a 140-hp, turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four with a six-speed automatic transmission. Buick will announce fuel economy for all-wheel-drive versions of the Encore at a later date.
As to Buick's claim of domestic fuel-economy dominance, the automaker appears to be correct. The 2013 Ford Escape will return 23/33 mpg with front-wheel-drive and a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, for a combined rating of 26 mpg. (Although it's worth noting that the Escape is 9.6 inches longer than the stubby Encore.) The 2012 Jeep Compass returns a best of 23/29 mpg with front-wheel-drive and a five-speed manual transmission, for a combined rating of 25 mpg.
The Buick's fuel economy also stacks up favorably against other near-luxury models of a similar size. Front-wheel-drive versions of Audi A3 (which is near identical to the Encore in every dimension except height) returns 30/42 mpg with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, but the thriftiest gas version achieves just 21/30 mpg. The Volkswagen Tiguan returns 22/27 mpg with front-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission. The Mini Countryman, fitted with front-wheel drive, beats the Buick Encore with a manual transmission but is less efficient with an automatic. Manually shifted examples return 27/35 mpg for a combined rating of 30 mpg, while automatics do 25/30 mpg and a combined 27 mpg.
The Buick Encore wears 18-inch wheels, the brand's trademark chrome grille, and a smart interior that can be decked out in wood and leather trim. The car will be offered with high-tech options like a backup camera, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, remote start, a heated steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers.