A few years back, the idea of a subcompact crossover from Buick, of all brands, might have seemed almost radical. Since its debut as a 2013 model, the Encore has become a mainstream player with plenty of fans. In fact, it’s been the best-selling Buick model. After all, you get the footprint of an economy car, coupled with access to a selection of luxury and convenience features that would ordinarily be associated with larger, more expensive vehicles.
What's New for 2017
After introducing a more powerful Sport Touring model for 2016, Buick has given the 2017 Encore a freshened exterior and reworked interior layout. The sculpted front end has a redesigned fascia and winged grille, with new headlights, taillamps, and signature LED lighting. Front fenders and the hood are new. Inside is a redesigned instrument panel with a 4.2-inch information display, plus an 8-inch touchscreen for the IntelliLink infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available. Keyless ignition is newly standard.
Buick has renamed three trim levels: the former Base model is now Preferred, Convenience has changed to Preferred II, and the previous Leather trim is now called Essence. A lower-priced, special-order base model also is available for 2017.
Choosing Your Buick Encore
Considering its petite exterior dimensions, the Encore's interior is more spacious than might be expected. Cargo space behind the back seat totals 18.8 cubic feet, which is more than you get in Buick's largest sedan. With that seat folded, volume grows to 48.4 cubic feet, which is comparable to a compact wagon. The front passenger seat folds down as well – a nifty feature that lets you carry long objects (up to 8 feet) and still close the tailgate.
The Encore's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder base engine produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. An alternative version of the engine, standard in the Sport Touring model, boosts output to 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet. All-wheel drive is available for each Encore, for an additional $1,500, in place of the standard front-drive layout.
With front-drive, fuel economy of base-engine models is estimated at 25 mpg in city driving and 33 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive drops the figures to 23/30 mpg (city/highway). Despite its more powerful engine, the Sport Touring version is thriftier, estimated at 28/34 mpg (city/highway) with front-drive, and 26/31 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Bose active noise cancellation is standard. So is GM’s OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Like other Buicks, the Encore is rather generously equipped in base form, and becomes almost luxurious as you move up the trim levels: