Buick Encore

2017 Buick Encore

Essentially based on an economy car, the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic, Buick Encore is a small crossover SUV with premium features. When it debuted as a 2013 model, Encore was one of few small crossovers. Today, that niche has grown quite crowded.

The 2017 Buick Encore gets a fresh front end, revised interior with an 8-inch touchscreen and pushbutton start. Buick will offer its stronger engine in all trim levels, except the base model.

Standard engine is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, developing 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Considering Encores 3,200-pound weight, its no surprise that performance falls short of stimulating. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a sluggish nine seconds, while gas mileage isnt so thrifty for a small vehicle.

Adding direct injection boosts output to 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet, which eases passing and merging. For good daily drivability, the optional four-cylinder makes more sense.

For what amounts to a tall wagon on a short wheelbase, handling is about as good as any rivals. Optional all-wheel drive helps with harsh-weather traction.

Because the Encore is narrow, front passengers might bump elbows now and then. Headroom is more abundant, and average-size adults can fit comfortably into the back seat.

Despite its premium fittings, the Encores interior is more versatile and flexible than expected. Both the rear seat and the front passenger seat may be folded down. Bose noise cancellation helps keep the ride quiet, and information appears on a large central touchscreen.

Safety features and standard equipment are among the Encores primary attractions. All versions have 10 airbags, a rearview camera, OnStars 4G LTE data connection, and can run smartphone apps via Bluetooth, Apple Car Play, and Android Auto. Buyers can add leather upholstery, all-wheel drive, premium Bose audio, and safety options including lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, as well as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Making the rearview camera standard was wise, because over-the-shoulder and rearward visibility are dreadful. Some active-safety systems seem a little too cautious, but most warnings signal a valid concern.

Encores have scored well in crash-testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it five stars overall, rating five-star in every category except rollover. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated Encore Good in three tests, warranting a Top Safety Pick award.


2016 Buick Encore

The Buick Encore is a small crossover SUV that rivals the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 along with the more mainstream Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax.

Its tall and boxy profile is somewhat ameliorated by a steeply raked front end and oversize 18-inch wheels. Encore is unusually quiet, reasonably spacious, and amply equipped. Feeble performance detracts from its hoped-for status as a premium model. Encore is structurally related to the Chevrolet Sonic.

Only one powertrain is available: a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder driving a 6-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control. Front-wheel drive is standard, optional all-wheel drive is available for harsh-weather traction.

Little has changed for 2016, except for revised seven-spoke 18-inch wheels. New for 2016 is a Sport Touring trim level with special exterior trim and a turbocharged engine making 153 horsepower.

While the cabin feels somewhat narrow, the back holds two adults with a degree of comfort. Buicks IntelliLink infotainment system, with a seven-inch touch-screen, can run smartphone apps via Bluetooth. OnStar 4G LTE telematics can create a WiFi network right in the car.

Fuel economy is good, but not thrifty enough for a vehicle in this category. The front-wheel-drive Encore is EPA-rated at 25/33 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 23/30 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined.

As for crash-testing, Encore has scored among the best small crossover SUVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made it a Top Safety Pick, rate Good in three tests. That was a considerable improvement over 2014, when Encore was deemed Poor in the small-overlap trial. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Encore five stars overall.


2014 Buick Encore

Buick Encore is an entry-luxury, compact crossover utility vehicle. Encore is a small vehicle, significantly shorter in overall length than the Ford Escape and just slightly longer than the Mini Countryman.

After climbing in, however, Encore feels so spacious and commodious that its hard to remember the smallness thats so striking when looking at it from the outside. Encore offers 48.4 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down, 18.8 cubic feet with those seats up.

The cabin feels upscale and luxurious, due its elegant design, fine instruments and high-quality switch-gear. Optional leather upholstery add to its beauty and richness and make it feel like a luxury crossover.

Its small size means the Encore will fit into countless environments and driving conditions. Its outside dimensions are so compact that whenever we came upon another Encore on the road, we were stunned at how diminutive it looked while moving through traffic. The Encore we were driving, identical to the one seen out the window, seemed sumptuous inside, a satisfying vehicle that suited all our needs. With smoke-and-mirrors design like that, the Buick stylists have shown themselves to be wizards of clever packaging.

Encore was designed to be a nimble, agile SUV that would be easy to park, maneuver, and have an excellent turning circle (a mere 36.7 feet). It should have available all-wheel drive, the plan said, extremely flexible stowage adaptability, carry five passengers, and provide advanced technology in combination with real luxury. The good news is, thats the vehicle we tested on the urban and rural roads of Georgia.

But the good news continues: This little/big package showed very efficient over-the-road performance. Being physically small and light, at 3190 pounds for the front-wheel-drive model, the Buick Encore requires only an absolutely tiny 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, coupled to a 6-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission, to deliver adequate local and Interstate performance. Even with the heavier 3309-pound all-wheel-drive model, the Encore delivers an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg City/Highway. The front-wheel drive Encore gets an estimate of 25/33 mpg City/Highway, which was claimed to be the highest fuel economy of any front-wheel-drive crossover.

Encores performance equation seems to be extremely well balanced. It delivers thrift and luxury in generous degrees, available for a very attractive price. Many starter families are likely to be enticed by this vehicle. But we suspect that just about as many empty-nesters, no longer needing their huge, now-empty Enclaves, will flock to this mini-Enclave, happy to have a familiar taste of their Enclaves comfort and elegance.

Encore was launched as a 2013 model. Newly available safety equipment for the 2014 Encore includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert. An enhanced IntelliLink system gains text message support for 2014, as well as Siri Eyes Free, and smartphone voice-recognition pass-through.

Buick Encore can be cross shopped against the Ford Escape, Mini Countryman S, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Buicks crossover, when equipped with front-wheel drive, beats all three of those rivals in fuel-economy estimates.


2013 Buick Encore

The 2013 Buick Encore is a new entry-luxury crossover utility vehicle. At first exposure, the Encore is a bit confusing. Viewed from the outside, it is a very compact package that may cause buyers to be skeptical of the small luxury crossover title. Can anything this small really be luxury? More to the point, can this small luxury vehicle achieve the established Buick image, which company spokesmen describe as inviting, approachable, warm?

But climbing into the Encore and pulling the door shut, instantaneously, the Encore's luxury makes itself felt in its elegant design, fine instruments and high-quality switch-gear. If the Encore you climb into has leather upholstery, its beauty and richness will leave you in no doubt that this is a luxury crossover. The layout and proportioning of everything in the cockpit feels so spacious and commodious that it's hard to remember the smallness that struck you looking at the vehicle from outside.

This is very definitely a little/big vehicle, a world car-sized crossover that will fit into countless environments and driving conditions. Its outside package is so compact that whenever we came up upon another Encore during our test driving, we were stunned at how diminutive it looked moving through traffic. The Encore we were driving, identical to the one out the window, seemed sumptuous inside, a satisfying vehicle that suited all our needs. With smoke-and-mirrors designing like that, the Buick stylists have shown themselves wizards of clever packaging.

Buick's marketing plan for the Encore was to build a nimble, agile SUV that would be easy to park, maneuver, and have an excellent turning circle (a mere 36.7 feet). It should have available all-wheel drive, the plan said, extremely flexible stowage adaptability, carry five passengers, and provide advanced technology in combination with real luxury. The good news is, that's the vehicle we tested on the urban and rural roads of Georgia.

But the good news continues: This little/big package showed very efficient over-the-road performance. Being physically small and light, at 3190 pounds for the front-wheel-drive model, the Buick Encore requires only an absolutely tiny 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, coupled to a 6-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission, to deliver adequate local and Interstate performance. Even with the heavier 3309-lb all-wheel drive model, the Encore delivers an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg City/Highway. The front-wheel drive Encore gets 25/33 mpg City/Highway mpg, the highest fuel economy of any front-wheel-drive crossover.

Encore's performance equation seems to be extremely well balanced. It delivers thrift and luxury in generous degrees, available for a very attractive price. Many starter families will be enticed by this vehicle. But we suspect just as many empty-nesters, no longer needing their huge, now-empty Enclaves, will flock to this mini-Enclave, happy to have a familiar taste of their Enclave's comfort and elegance.

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