Buick Encore

The Encore is a new premium small car with SUV styling. Buick hopes that a small car can be practical, fun and luxurious while getting excellent fuel economy.

The mileage starts with the engine, a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder. It makes 138hp and comes mated to a 6-speed automatic. This combination is good for up to 33mpg on the highway and 25mpg in the city. All-wheel-drive is also available.

While the outside of the Encore features modern swooshy styling, it's the interior that shines the brightest. A large, 7-inch full color display is set in the dashboard and houses the standard IntelliLink voice-activated infotainment system, while a touch of blue ambient lighting and a wood and chrome- trimmed dashboard lend the Buick an air of sophistication. The Buick's coolest trick however, may be its QuietTuning system which uses noise cancellation technology to give the Encore an exceptionally quiet interior, even at speed.

Buick has included a long list of standard features to go with its modern interior. Features that come standard with the base model include a 6-way power-adustable driver's seat, power windows and doors, a leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, a rearview camera, heated mirrors, 18-inch aluminum wheels, QuietTuning noise cancellation system and a 6-speaker AM/FM/Satellite stereo with a CD player, auxiliary input jack and USB port. The stereo is also Bluetooth-compatible for selected phones.

There are three levels of Encore above the base trim. Convenience trim adds an electronically auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, fog lamps and dual zone automatic climate control. Leather adds leather seating surfaces, a power passenger seat, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a memory feature for the driver's seat. Premium includes rain sensing wipers, a premium Bose sound system, front and rear park assist, forward collision alert, a lane departure warning system and a cargo net. Options include navigation, a sunroof, 18-inch chrome wheels and all-wheel-drive.

Safety is handled by front and side impact airbags, knee airbags, thorax airbags and side curtain airbags. There are ten airbags total in the smallish SUV. A rearview camera is standard and several radar based safety features are available on the lower models, but come standard with the Premium trim.

Editors' Review

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There's no shortage of subcompact crossovers on the market. Between well-known options like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3, not to mention newcomers like the Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR, there's a robust field of entry-level options.

But what if you want something premium? Sure, you could spend the money on a BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA or Volvo XC40, but Buick offers a just-as-luxurious, less expensive option with its pint-size Encore. And considering it's Buick's best-selling model, it stands to reason the Encore might just be the premium compact SUV you're looking for.

Older, but updated

Despite its having launched in 2013, small improvements throughout the Encore's life cycle have kept it from going stale. The most recent update came for the 2017 model year, bringing a fresh front end with a new waterfall grille and headlights. Overall, the Encore still strikes a mostly understated appearance that's clean and inoffensive, with the chrome wheels of my tester providing a little flash.

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The Good The Buick Encore impresses with comfortable road manners and a quiet, well-trimmed cabin at an entry-level luxury price. Tech features are also plentiful, with navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.

The Bad Doesn't have automatic emergency braking or adaptive cruise control. Front passenger seat can't be equipped with a center armrest.

The Bottom Line A strong luxury choice in the subcompact crossover segment.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 7.5
  • Media 7.5

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