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Buick Encore packs plenty of luxury, tech into small package Featured

Jul 01, 2018 Hit: 139 Written by 
The 2018 Buick Encore offers impressive fuel economy and strong tech features, and stands out in a crowded compact SUV class.
The 2018 Buick Encore offers impressive fuel economy and strong tech features, and stands out in a crowded compact SUV class. Photo courtesy of Buick

In case you haven’t noticed by their constant presence on the roadways, smaller SUVs continue to be a strong trend in auto sales. Higher end brands are among those cashing in on this, and Buick is no exception -- with their compact Encore being their best-seller in terms of overall numbers in the U.S.

I recently spent some time in a Buick Encore, and I’m back with a full report on what it offers in this busy segment.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2018 Buick Encore
  • Price as tested:: $35,630 (starts at $22,990)
  • Best feature:: Tech features, luxury interior, nimble ride
  • Rating:: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Those seeking a smaller crossover with sold tech features and an upscale feel

LOOKS

Slotting in as the smallest Buick crossover (below the mid-size Envision and full-size Enclave), the Encore is based on the same body as the Chevy Sonic. What this means is that the Encore is a bit tight in the rear, but I found the front seats to be quite comfortable

Maximum seating is 2 in front and 3 in rear, but it’s a pretty full house with a max human load.


What you’ll find inside the Encore is that it’s fancier in look and feel than most small SUVs, but you also don’t get a truly luxury feel, compared to what you’d find in a Cadillac or Lincoln or Lexus, etc. On the trim level I tested (Premium), you will find very comfortable leather-appointed seating, plus heated front seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel.
Overall placement of controls and tech features on the center console and steering wheel is well-done and makes for easy use of the systems the Encore offers.

On the exterior, the Encore has the usual bubble look you’ll find on these smaller SUVs, but it’s done in a way that manages to remain somewhat attractive and unique. Trunk space is somewhat limited, but the good news is you can fold down the rear seats to increase cargo space.

ENGINE, HORSEPOWER

On the topic of power, the Encore comes with a couple different options, both being 1.4 liter turbo four-cylinder offerings, with numbers of 138 or 153 horsepower, and torque numbers of 148 or 177.

All powerplant options are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive are offered.

The Encore does not offer the most spirited overall ride in its class, but it can still be punchy at times when you want it to be so. The bit takeaway I had is that the Encore Isn't brillant at acceleration, but it’s very responsive and easy to maneuver due to its smaller size. You also will get a quiet ride with little road noise or engine hum.

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

When you’re talking about safety and tech features, GM is one of the best in the business.

For starters, the Encore has a near-perfect on government safety tests (five stars on everything except rollover, where it got 4 stars). There’s a full array of air bags, plus stability and traction control; and anti-lock brakes. Among the features either offered or standard are: forward collision alert; lane departure warning; rear view camera; side blind zone alert; rear cross traffic alert; alarm system and keyless entry.

The Buick infotainment system features an 8-inch color screen, Bluetooth streaming,  Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. Voice commands were responsive on everything I used them on, even navigation (I never had to repeat addresses).

Also featured are OnStar and all of its helpful services, an optional 4G hotspot and an optional Bose premium audio system that brings your tunes to life.

MPG
The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2018 Buick Encore are 27 city/33 highway/30 combined. These are excellent numbers for the category and another high mark for the Encore vs. its competition.

 

PRICE
The Buick Encore I tested came in at just over $35,000, but it was a premium trim level loaded with options; base price for the Encore starts about $23K, which is much better, but also will mean you’ll lose some of the nicer features offered. In between the base and the top trim level, there are roughly a handful of options that will fit various budgets.

BOTTOM LINE

If you want a little ride height and a touch of luxury in a compact package, plus excellent tech offerings, and aren't overly concerned with speed and power, the 2018 Encore is aimed squarely at you.

 

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Matt Myftiu can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Last modified on Sunday, 01 July 2018 15:53
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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com

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