On Buick Encore: Let’s talk fuel economy

Sections: Fuel Economy

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2014 Buick Encore photo shoot 031

(Lyndon Johnson photo)

As we outlined earlier, the 2014 Buick Encore shares an engine with the rorty Chevrolet Sonic RS — though it’s decidedly less rorty in the Encore, if we’re honest. Weight’ll do that to you. But what about that weight’s effect on fuel economy?

Our week in the Buick Encore started off in a ho-hum manner where fuel economy was concerned. That’s normal. Press cars normally arrive on Tuesday afternoon just before I have to run a paper route in my hometown. Hey, when your day job is at a small weekly newspaper, even the publisher and editor aren’t immune from the responsibility of filling racks with fresh newsprint. It just so happens that slangin’ several hundred newspapers at a dozen stops around town makes for a crummy Day One fuel economy score. When I got home with the Buick Encore Tuesday night, I was barely past the 21 MPG mark, according to the Encore’s central average fuel economy display.

For the rest of the workweek, the Buick Encore’s fuel economy crept upward, but still lingered in the mid-20s on Friday, when I came home and loaded up my son and wife to get some groceries. We hit the road, I set the cruise control, and the Encore came into its element. Loping along at 65 MPH, the relatively small 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder gasoline engine was turning just a tick over 2,000 RPM. The six-speed automatic transmission got in no hurry to downshift — because it didn’t need to downshift thanks to the tiny turbo mill’s early torque peak. Though there’s only 148 ft-lbs of torque, but it has a relatively flat peak from 1,850 to 4,900 RPM. That means my 2,000-to-2,200 RPM cruise speed put it right in the sweet spot for summoning a little extra power to pull hills.

It was also the fuel economy sweet spot, as it turns out. The Buick Encore showed as high as 44 MPG on the gauge cluster’s instantaneous fuel economy display mode when I was on flat portions of highway.

After a second trip on the highway the following day, I found my reported fuel economy average flirting with the magic 30 MPG figure. And come Monday, it seemed the longer trips on cruise control were just what the Buick Encore needed in in order to get cozy with my driving habits.

By the time the Buick Encore left my possession, I was seeing 32 MPG on the average fuel economy display. Not bad at all for a tall, truncated crossover.

Disclosure: Buick provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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