Buick is reinventing itself, shrugging off its traditional image as a cushy, old-fashioned carmaker. The new Buick is bright, modern, and nimble. Nothing embodies this idea better than the Encore. It’s not your grandfather’s Buick. The Encore is a compact sports utility vehicle built to provide a combination of capability, visibility, comfort, performance, and luxury. The Sport Touring model contains several special features plus an improved engine starting under $30,000.
Lighter and More Powerful
The standard Encore comes with a 1.4-liter, turbocharged inline, four-cylinder iron block engine. The motor in the Sport Touring version is built from aluminum and is direct injected. The result is an 11 percent increase in horsepower to 153 and a 20 percent increase in torque to 177 pound-feet. Other improvements include low-friction piston rings, camshaft drive, and oil pump.
Combined with a stiffer steel crankshaft and an inverted-tooth, camshaft drive chain, the powertrain is notable quieter and more powerful. Peak torque is available at only 2,000 rpm. The turbo kicks in with scarcely any lag. A manual shift mode allows you to take full control.
The Sound of Silence
All the way around, the Encore projects a peaceful environment. Not only is the engine quieter, but noise-canceling technology insulates the passenger cabin from external noise. QuietTuning from Bose detects audible noises through microphones in the ceiling. It then projects frequencies that counteract road and engine noise.
The Sport Touring model includes other standard tech features that are optional on other Encore versions, such as the voice-activated IntelliLink infotainment system and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot from OnStar. You’ll also find a 120-volt power outlet, dual-zone climate control, rear cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and remote start.
Bigger Than You Think
You can’t fit an 8-foot ladder in a compact SUV, can you? Yes, you can. The passenger seat folds flat to accommodate more cargo than you’d expect. Oversized rear doors make getting in and out of the rear seats easy. An elevated driving position provides excellent visibility. You’ll feel confident in the driver’s seat and find parking in tight spaces to be a snap. Optional cargo mounts allow you to bring your bikes, skis, and more.
The Sport Touring trim also comes with body color door handles, a rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels. Options include a push-button start, heated seats, and a sunroof.
If you want all the goodies, check out the Premium version starting at $31,285. You’ll get a six-way power passenger seat, Bose premium sound, leather seats, forward collision alert, park assist, and rain-sensing wipers.
The advanced aluminum engine is available only in the Sport Touring version, for now. Next year’s Encore will see the improved aluminum motor across all trim levels. The bump in power, efficiency, and quietness will be universal. Buick is heading in a new direction without forgetting its luxury roots. Inside and out, the quality and comfort of the Encore are the same as ever. The nimble SUV with an advanced engine, however, shows how Buick is adapting with the times.