THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The Buick Encore is a nice package with a handsome interior and peppy engine to get you where you are going in style and comfort.
- What’s Worst: The controls for the odometer and gas information are on the signal indicator arm which makes it difficult to use.
- What’s interesting: The Encore is a nice small package.
It’s amazing just how much GM has packed into its little crossover, the Encore.
With a very peppy engine and a good-looking interior, it’s easy to see why the Encore is one of GM’s best-selling vehicles.
I recently had a chance to spend a week behind the wheel of the 2017 Encore Premium AWD, the top of the line Encore that features a 1.4-litre, four-cylinder, DOHC turbocharged engine.
The engine produces 153 hp with 177 lb/ft of torque.
The configurations of the Encore are almost endless.
If you are looking for front-wheel drive you can choose between the baseline Encore which starts at $23,395. From there you can move up through the Encore Preferred, $25,895; Encore Sport Touring, $27,895 and the Encore Essence, $31,195.
Move to all-wheel-drive and you start with the Preferred, $27,895; Sport Touring, $29,896; Encore Essence, $33,195 and finally my tester for the week, the Premium, $34,395.
While the price might seem high for a CUV on the smaller side, GM packs a lot into the vehicle.
On the safety side, standard on the Premium are more airbags than you can count, rear vision camera, side blind zone alert and automatic headlights.
Inside, the Encore has a premium (small p) feel to it with keyless start, dual zone climate controls, heated front bucket seats, heated leather wrapped steering wheel and power lumbar support for both the driver and front passenger.
The Encore’s eight-inch infotainment screen was simple to use and features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both those features are becoming more common in all vehicles and make sense with the proliferation of cellphones.
Also Read: CX-3 AWD conquers worst winter drive ever
The Encore is a fun CUV to drive. The turbocharged engine has a lot of pep and will get you up to speed on the highway. The front and rear disc brakes with panic brake assist bring the nimble Encore to a quick stop.
Of course it helps that the Encore looks like it weighs about as much as a large wet sponge. The Encore is the perfect size to get in and out of mall parking lots which I swear are being built smaller and smaller.
Everything inside the Encore is within easy reach but I was not a fan of the control for the screen on the dashboard.
That screen often gives the driver information about fuel usage, how many kilometres you can drove before needing gas and odometer information.
In most new cars I have driven the controls for that screen are on the steering wheel. GM has put those controls on the signal indicator arm. I found it difficult to get to and to reset, especially while driving.
The cruise controls are on the steering wheel. GM should look at switching those two.
The Encore isn’t the CUV you want if you have a big family, with daily trips to hockey arenas or football games. I had to put the rear seat down to fit two sets of golf clubs in the back.
But it is a sophisticated SUV that will offer a comfortable ride for your family when you have to make a long trip without a lot of baggage.
Also Read: Buying Used: 2013-16 Buick Encore
2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD
BODY STYLE: Five-passenger, four-door hatchback
DRIVE METHOD: All-wheel-drive with six-speed automatic transmission
ENGINE: 1.4-litre DOHC turbocharged in-line four-cylinder
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 9.8/7.7L/100km (city/hwy)
CARGO: 538 litres
PRICE: Base $34,195. My tester with options such as enhanced stereo and moonroof, $39,130