The new-for-2013 Buick Encore raised eyebrows when it was introduced to the media earlier this year. A subcompact premium crossover sharing architecture with the Chevy Sonic, the Encore stood alone in the premium “extra small” crossover space.
In the months that followed, the Encore surprised many observers by selling well above projections. Production is at maximum capacity, and Buick dealers say the model moves quickly. Indeed, the small premium crossover market seems to be gaining steam, with new entrants in the class seemingly arriving each month, including the BMW X1 and upcoming Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA.
As a model occupying a place a step up from mainstream compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V, we were curious as to which models customers are cross-shopping against the Encore. So we used exclusive CarsDirect cross-shopping data from the past three months to take a look at the top five vehicles currently cross-shopped against the 2013 Buick Encore.
(The percentages refer to the percentage of total Encore shoppers who also cross-shopped the alternate models listed. For example, 43.9% of buyers who shopped an Encore also shopped a Buick Verano.)
Buick Verano: 43.9%
Honda CR-V: 20%
Toyota RAV4: 19.2%
Ford Escape: 18.1%
Chevy Equinox: 14.8%
CarsDirect’s take: It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of cross-shoppers are looking at the Buick Verano, Buick’s compact sedan. This indicates to us that the Buick brand could be holding onto sales that may have gone elsewhere when it comes to buyers interested in a compact crossover rather than a small sedan. Other cross-shoppers are looking at mainstream compact crossovers, which may indicate that the Encore’s more luxurious trappings are resonating with consumers looking for a vehicle a cut above mainstream offerings. However, shoppers aren’t cross-shopping small luxury crossovers like the X1 in large numbers, which could mean that they don’t consider the Verano (or the Buick brand in general) in the same league as the more expensive luxury marques.