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.