One important question – that is almost impossible to answer – when selecting a new vehicle is, what does it cost to own for five years?
Kelly Blue Book happens to track that all-important statistic and Buick’s Encore was the winner of the luxury compact SUV/crossover category.
That fact carries a lot of weight with me.
The 2017 Encore, built in Bupyeong, South Korea, strengthens the proposition for Buick’s top-selling vehicle in the United States with several significant upgrades.
A new front-end appearance and premium interior highlight the visual refinements, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported by a next-generation IntelliLink system featuring an eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen. Other additions include push-button start and keyless unlock via the exterior door handles with remote keyless entry.
“In a rapidly evolving segment, the Encore continues to lead with smart, purposeful updates and a new level of technology-infused elegance and refinement, said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick Sales, Service and Marketing.
Encore is offered in five trim levels: Encore, Sport Touring, Convenience, Leather and Premium. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available.
Unique exterior design cues include a winged rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum, premium-finished wheels, LED headlights, chrome exhaust, and body-color door handles to match its Ebony Twilight Metallic coat of paint.
My Sport Touring tester was powered by a 1.4-liter, turbocharged, DOHC, I-4 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination generates 138 horsepower at 4,900 rpm and 148 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,850 rpm. Encore seats five adults, and receives a 33 mile-per-gallon rating by the EPA down the highway.
While not a speed demon by any means, the Encore was up to the task when called upon. And it more than compensates with its above-average fuel economy.
The cargo area was generous enough to accommodate a Coleman cooler, overnight bag and other stuff on a trip to the beach. And the storage space increases to 48.4 cubic feet with the 60/40 split rear seat folded flat – which was needed to stow a couple of full-size golf bags.
Buick loads the Encore with an extra-helping of creature comforts. The highlights include navigation system with rear vision camera, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bose premium six-speaker audio system with satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB port, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
Encore includes a theft-deterrent system, stability and traction control standard, with side blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert an additional $670. OnStar includes a five-year basic plan.
For the money, Buick’s Encore should be on your short-list to test drive in the luxury compact SUV category.
Base Price: $28,795
Price As Driven: $29,720
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.