2017 Buick Encore Review
  • Car Review

2017 Buick Encore Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 13, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Peacefully quiet cabin.
  • Gas mileage is impressive.
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system.

Cons:

  • Interior is narrow for adults.
  • Driving dynamics are a little disappointing.
  • Priced higher than direct rivals.

Would we buy one? We'd consider one.

Vehicle Type: A four-door, five-seat subcompact SUV.

Price Range: From $22,990 MSRP to $31,965, including the $895 destination charge.

Powertrain: A 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

A 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed automatic and front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

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Overall Score: 7.7/10

Safety Features: 8/10

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The Preferred II and Premium trim levels add more advanced safety features that include rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, cruise control, front and rear park assist, and lane departure warning. A rearview camera is now standard.

The 2017 Buick Encore scored highly with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), earning five out of five stars in all crash tests except the rollover rating in which it received four out of five stars. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2017 Encore the highest Good rating in all crash-test categories except for the Small Overlap Front Passenger's Side test, where it scored the second-highest Acceptable rating. Front crash prevention was rated the lowest Basic with the optional forward collision warning system.


Value: 8/10

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Six trim levels are available for the 2017 Buick Encore. They are the 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring Edition, Preferred II, Essence, and Premium.

The base Encore trim starts at $22,990 MSRP. Moving up to the Encore Preferred starting price is $24,365 MSRP. The Encore Sport Touring Edition starts at $25,565 MSRP. The next two top tier models, the Preferred II and the Encore Essence, begin at $26,865 MSRP and $29,065 MSRP, respectively. The Encore Premium trim rounds out the line up at $31,965.

These prices are on the higher end for subcompact SUVs, with models such as the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 not even reaching $30,000 for fully equipped models. And the added extras on the Encore can push the price closer to $35,000.


Tech Features: 7/10

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The instrument panel has a 4.2-inch display screen for vehicle functions. At the same time, Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system uses a new 8.0-inch touchscreen in the dashboard center to handle audio, vehicle settings, and climate functions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are supported, with General Motors' OnStar telematics and a 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot also standard. Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio is also included.

Some advanced features include push-button start and an improved Bose audio system.


Practicality: 7/10

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Some standard convenience features include a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Luxury-like upgrades include a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Legroom and headroom are adequate for adults in both rear seats and front seats, albeit a little tight. Occupants in the front get a more forward upright view thanks to the Encore's tall stature. Back seat occupants have a mostly clear view out as well.

The Encore has 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats down and 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the back with the rear seats up. It's far short of the Honda HR-V's maximum space but more generous than what the Mazda CX-3 offers.


Styling & Design: 7/10

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For 2017 a new grille design and remodeled front and rear fascia have been incorporated into the Encore. Upgrades for the Encore include a power sunroof, LED headlights, and front fog lamps. It better resembles the large Enclave three-row SUV, as well as the new Envision two-row midsize model -- and Buick's new LaCrosse full-size sedan. Better still, it looks better integrated with the Encore's diminutive size and gives it a more upscale look than most subcompact SUVs of this price.

The dashboard was redesigned to cut down on look-alike buttons and switches, while the infotainment screen is now much closer to the driver. But the cabin is still short on storage bins, and its narrow size means bags and odds and ends will wind up in someone's footwell. At least quality has taken a step up, and it's much nicer inside than the related Chevrolet Trax.


Driving Experience: 7/10

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The highlight of the driving experience for the Encore is how pleasant cabin noise levels are. It's significantly quieter inside than in many rivals, with additional sound insulation and an active noise cancelation feature to mitigate road noise and the little turbo four-cylinder engine that's hard at work. While it's not "library quiet," as Buick likes to describe its sedan interiors, the Encore gives off an impression of refinement lacking in other small SUVs.

That refinement is welcome because the Encore isn't that fun to drive. Despite its small size, the standard 138-horsepower, turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder doesn't have much surplus power for passing. It's best-suited in urban situations and when a short burst of power is needed. The 153-horsepower version finds its way smoothly through the six speeds in the automatic transmission without much lag and is generally more flexible and competitive. But cars like the Kia Soul Turbo and Nissan Juke have far more power and are more fun.


Fuel Efficiency: 7/10

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The Encore does well for fuel economy, especially with the more powerful engine. The 1.4-liter 138 horsepower engine with FWD gets 25/33/28 MPG city/hwy/combined, and with AWD added, it's rated at 23/30/27 MPG city/hwy/combined according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fuel economy is helped by the automatic engine stop-start feature on the more powerful four-cylinder engine. For the 1.4-liter engine with 153 horsepower and the FWD configuration, expect 27/33/30 MPG city/hwy/combined and 26/32/28 MPG city/hwy/combined with the AWD equipped according to EPA estimates.


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