Buick’s baby SUV, the Encore is hitting dealerships as we speak, and despite its diminutive size based on the same platform as the Chevy Sonic and its sub-$25,000 entry price, the Tri-Shield brand says the model has features that allow it to bring the same refinement as larger, more expensive Buicks.
Primary among those features is Buick’s first use of Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology. Small microphones mounted within the car pick up and analyze noises and then project noise-canceling audio into the cabin via the Encore’s speakers. The technology is similar to that found in the Bose noise-canceling headphones marketed to frequent airline travelers, only on a larger scale.
Would this feature give the Encore a too-numb, non-communicative driving experience? We can’t say for sure until we score some seat time in an Encore ourselves, but Buick claims the system “selectively targets unwanted engine noise while allowing pleasant notes to pass through the cabin.
“The expected result is a luxurious and muted, yet still engaging drive experience,” the press release posits.
Buick says it worked with Bose to make use of the Encore’s existing speaker arrangement, including mounting a subwoofer within the spare tire to maximize space and cut down on added weight, which would of course be beneficial to both cargo capacity and fuel economy. The Active Noise Cancellation feature works whether the Encore’s head unit is turned on or not, according to the press release. The system comes standard on all Encores, whether or not the buyer opts for the optional $595 Bose audio system.
The Active Noise Cancellation system is not the only noise-reducing feature on the Encore, however. Buick says a number of other features help cut down on unwanted noise and add to a quiet experience one would normally expect only out of larger Buicks:
- The acoustically-treated headliner features a gap between it and the roof panel.
- Sound-absorbing materials are stuffed in key areas of the cabin, under the hood, and within wheelhouse linings.
- Outside mirrors have been aerodynamically optimized to cut down on wind noise.
- Wind noise is also cut down by using acoustically laminated windshield glass and thicker, 5mm side glass.
- Foam baffles insulate the opening of body structure cavities.
The Buick Encore starts at $24,950 and features Buick’s IntelliLink connectivity with voice commands, 10 air bags, and a rear vision camera as standard equipment. Buick says it has an EPA rating of 25 MPG city, 33 MPG highway, with a combined score of 28 MPG.