By Jennifer Newman on February 28, 2013
The all-new Buick Encore is part of a new class of cars: the near-luxury subcompact crossover segment, which also includes the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. The 2013 Encore seats five, but space is at a premium. The Encore is 3 feet shorter than its bigger sibling, the Enclave and it really shows.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the convertible seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2013 Encore did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Encore's outboard seats. The anchors sit about an inch into the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. The stiff seat cushions made it somewhat difficult to use the anchors with rigid Latch connectors, but I didn't have any problems installing it with the hooklike anchors.
There are three tether anchors in the Encore. They're located near the top of the seatbacks and are easy to use.
Booster seat: I had to remove the head restraint to properly fit the high-back booster seat in the Encore's backseat. Parents should note that the middle seat doesn't have a head restraint and this seating position should only be used with a high-back booster seat. The seat belt buckles are floppy, which can be difficult for younger kids to use independently.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit well, but the Encore's space constraints became apparent with the rear-facing convertible. To fit the rear convertible, I had to move the front passenger seat forward several inches. This left me with just enough room to sit in the passenger seat without my knees hitting the glove box.
Infant-safety seat: For this rear-facing seat, I had to move the front passenger seat even farther forward than with the rear convertible. I also had to move the front passenger's seatback into a more upright position. At 5 feet 8 inches tall, there wasn't enough room for me to sit in the front passenger's seat.
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer