There is not any scarcity of subcompact crossovers available on the market. Between well-known choices just like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-Three, to not point out newcomers just like the Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR, there is a sturdy discipline of entry-level choices.

However what in order for you one thing premium? Positive, you may spend the cash on a BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA or Volvo XC40, however Buick gives a just-as-luxurious, cheaper choice with its pint-size Encore. And contemplating it is Buick’s best-selling mannequin, it stands to cause the Encore may simply be the premium compact SUV you are on the lookout for.

Older, however up to date

Regardless of its having launched in 2013, small enhancements all through the Encore’s life cycle have saved it from going stale. The newest replace got here for the 2017 mannequin 12 months, bringing a contemporary entrance finish with a brand new waterfall grille and headlights. Total, the Encore nonetheless strikes a largely understated look that is clear and inoffensive, with the chrome wheels of my tester offering a bit of flash.

The Encore obtained a brand new grille and headlights in 2017.

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Up-level fixings are extra obvious contained in the cabin. Numerous soft-touch supplies cowl nearly all of the dashboard and door panels, and cozy leather-based seats coddle you. It is tremendous quiet, too, due to laminated glass and Bose noise cancellation system. With winter sticking across the Midwest longer than anticipated this 12 months, my take a look at automobile’s heated entrance seats and heated steering wheel are additionally merely great.

For a automobile with such a small footprint, there is a ton of headroom and a beneficiant 18.Eight cubic toes of area behind the rear seats. Folding the again seats down expands cargo capability to 48.Four cubic toes, which turns out to be useful throughout a wallet-battering Costco purchasing journey.

Numerous soft-touch surfaces may be discovered contained in the Encore.

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Nevertheless, the Encore is not with out inside faults. Disappointingly, an armrest for the entrance passenger seat is not obtainable and the again seat is comfortable if you could shove three adults again there. Much more annoying is the poor high quality of the driving force’s seat underpinnings, which creak when the car is accelerating and stopping, although this may simply be a fault of my particular take a look at automobile.

Tech examine

Spearheading infotainment is Buick’s IntelliLink system with an Eight-inch touchscreen that is pretty attentive to instructions and intuitive to make use of, largely due to its large, clearly marked icons. IntelliLink additionally features a nice-sounding Bose audio system with seven audio system, an always-excellent OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation is non-obligatory, providing fast route steerage calculations and real-time site visitors data that may mechanically provide various routes if a significant delay is reported in your journey.

Managing infotainment within the Encore is an Eight-inch touchscreen system.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The protection gear checklist is respectable with blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rearview digicam with rear cross-traffic alert (nice for parking heaps) and ahead collision warning. Oddly, adaptive cruise management and automated emergency braking are obvious omissions from the checklist of obtainable security gear.

Comfortable performer

Individuals purchasing for an Encore have two powertrains to select from, although, curiously, they’re each 1.Four-liter turbo four-cylinder engines. The bottom 1.Four makes 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, whereas an non-obligatory direct-injected 1.Four churns out 153 ponies and 177 pound-feet — an $895 choice that I extremely advocate. In accordance with the EPA, the direct-injected engine with front-wheel drive is estimated to return 27 mpg within the metropolis and 33 mpg on the freeway.

Even with the stronger engine, the Encore is much from fast, nevertheless it will get the job completed with acceptable acceleration. The six-speed automated transmission performs easy however gingerly gear adjustments. If weighed down with a load of passengers, cargo and obtainable all-wheel drive (which provides about 120 kilos), count on a comparatively sluggish begin from cease lights.    

The place the Encore units itself aside probably the most from its extra reasonably priced competitors is within the trip high quality division. The suspension damps out impacts from small to medium bumps extremely properly, whereas steering response is not dangerous and cornering capabilities are literally fairly respectable on the 18-inch Continental all-season tires. The Encore’s driving conduct is certainly not thrilling, however consolation is king right here, and in that regard, the Buick actually delivers.

How I might spec it

My Buick Encore Premium tester wears a steep $35,630 as-tested worth, which prompts me to attempt to hold my ultimate construct priced barely extra affordable. I’d start with a $30,095 Essence trim for the heated entrance seats and heated steering wheel. The direct-injected engine is a should for $895 and I’ll keep on with front-wheel drive for the decrease weight and $1,500 price financial savings. A Graphite Gray Metallic paint job tacks on $395 and $2,390 Expertise Buick Bundle provides IntelliLink with the Eight-inch touchscreen, navigation and moonroof. That brings the value tag of my Encore to $33,775. Not dangerous.

In the event you’re not cautious with choices, the Encore’s price ticket can stand up there.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Premium choose

Because the graybeard of the subcompact crossover phase, the Buick Encore continues to thrive by occupying its personal area of interest inside the class. Very similar to how the Kona and C-HR purpose to be hip, city dwellers, and the Renegade adopts a extra rugged, off-road persona, the Encore is the plusher and extra premium choice. With clear sheetmetal, high quality cabin environment, a wholesome checklist of tech choices and spectacular trip high quality, the Buick is a robust luxurious various that undercuts the value of its premium rivals.

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