Looking for a crossover SUV with a quiet cabin, user-friendly technology and city-friendly compact size? The 2017 Buick Encore might be worth your consideration. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
BRYN MACKINNON: I'm Bryn MacKinnon from Edmunds, and this is an Edmunds expert rundown of the 2017 Buick Encore. For 2017, you'll notice that the Buick Encore gets a new look upfront, some improved cabin materials, and it gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of the new IntelliLink infotainment system. Carrying over from last year, the Encore still gets its power from a small four cylinder engine. That engine delivers decent fuel economy, but it doesn't have much power. And as a result, the Encore is one of the slowest cars in its segment. But there are definitely a few things to like about the Encore, like the quiet highway ride, the multiple available tech features, and its excellent crash test scores. Basically, this is a compact vehicle with a bit more of a luxury feel than we're used to in the segment. Unfortunately for the Encore, that compact size means it doesn't have a lot of space. It looks like a crossover, but the back seat is a bit cramped for adults. And cargo space in the trunk is subpar for this segment. The bottom line is the Encore is likeable, especially if you're looking for a small luxury adjacent crossover with a quiet ride. But there are better overall options out there for driving fun, cargo space, and value. We recommend taking a look at the Honda HR-V. The Mazda CX-3, and the Fiat 500X. For more Edmunds expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
Small though it may be compared to Buicks past, the 2017 Buick Encore embodies many of the virtues that have sustained the brand over the decades. It's quiet, it's trimmed with nearly luxurious elegance and it's available with a wide array of features.
Change isn't readily apparent for the 2017 model year Encore. The front end has been tweaked with a new grille design framed by new headlights. In back, new taillights feature LED elements for better visibility, whether it's a clear day or a night shrouded in soupy fog. Inside, Buick has added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the available menu of entertainment systems. In fact, the entire personal technology interface has been significantly improved. Bring your phone for a proper tech test drive.
Because the Encore is small, it's also very maneuverable. The driving position is high, the chassis is nimble and the Encore can squirt through openings in traffic that would thwart larger, more powerful vehicles. True, it's not a sports car. But then again, it doesn't attract attention like a sports car.
If only it had more power. All 2017 Encores come with 1.4-liter turbocharged engines under their hoods. The standard version pokes out 138 horsepower and feeds a standard six-speed automatic transmission that in turn sends power to either the front wheels or all of them with the optional full-time all-wheel-drive system.
The optional 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is available in the Sport Touring trim and isn't just another version of the standard engine, despite the same nominal displacement. It uses direct fuel injection and a slightly higher compression ratio to produce 153 horsepower. It feeds the same transmission and drivetrains.
In terms of fuel economy, a two-wheel drive Encore Sport Touring generates the best EPA ratings: 30 mpg combined (27 city/33 highway). Add all-wheel drive to that vehicle and the ratings drop to 28 mpg combined (26 city/31 highway).
In addition to the entry-level Preferred model and the Sport Touring, the Encore is available in three other trims: Preferred II, Essence and Premium, all offering various combinations of comfort, tech and safety features.
Small crossovers are displacing small sedans and hatchbacks as the entry-level vehicles for buyers entering the new car market. Whether you're that first timer or a confirmed small-crossover convert, let Edmunds help you find just the right 2017 Buick Encore for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.