2017 Buick Encore Sport Touring AWD
Class: Subcompact Crossover/SUV
Miles Driven: 147
Fuel Used: 6.79 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 21.6 mpg
Driving mix: 98% city, 2% highway
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 26/31/28 (city/highway/combined)
Base price: $27,065 (not including $925 destination charge)
Options on test car: Turbo 1.4L VVT engine with start/stop ($895), Bose audio system ($595), Intellilink radio/navigation system ($495), Safety Package ($495), Graphite Gray Metallic paint ($395), dual-zone climate control ($275), auto-dimming inside rearview mirror ($80)
Price as tested: $31,220
The great: Interior fit & finish, control layout, ride/handling balance
The good: Comfortable driving position
The not so good: Non-linear throttle response
Consumer Guide® tested a similarly equipped 2016 Buick Encore Sport Touring last summer and found it to be an appealing and uniquely luxurious take on the popular subcompact-crossover formula. And apparently we weren’t alone in our admiration, as the Encore had already become Buick’s most popular model.
Yet some changes have been made for 2017. Most noticeable is a new front-end appearance featuring LED headlights along with slightly revised rear-end styling. There’s also a lower-priced base model — offered only with front-wheel drive — that cuts about $1000 off the price of entry, which now sits at just under $24,000 including destination. Meanwhile, new standard features include keyless access and starting along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Although competitors are starting to catch up on the safety front, the Encore impresses by offering blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert along with forward-collision and lane-departure warning. It also comes standard with 10 air bags, those for the rear being an unusual offering in the class.
Last year, Encore added a mid-level Sport Touring model that brought a more potent version of its 1.4-liter turbocharged four making 153 horsepower vs. 138 in other Encores. This year, that engine (which includes start/stop technology) is optional on the Sport Touring and is newly optional on upper trim levels as well. Both the 2016 and 2017 versions of the Sport Touring we tested were equipped with this engine. It seems to improve the Encore’s acceleration — which lies about mid-pack in the class — though there’s still a bit of turbo lag if you nail the gas from a stop.
In this year’s test, the Encore Sport Touring was driven almost exclusively for short trips in the city during cold weather. As that’s a combination that puts about as much strain as you can on fuel economy, it’s perhaps not surprising that our 21.6-mpg average fell well below the EPA City estimate of 26 mpg. By contrast, the 2016 version was tested during July in about an even mix of city/highway driving, and it averaged 25.6 mpg. That’s still below the EPA’s combined city/highway rating of 28 mpg (highway being 31), but it’s a much more realistic figure.
These changes only serve to make the Encore more attractive than ever. Particularly if you’re moving “down” from a larger car or SUV and find other subcompact crossovers lacking in the luxury department, the Encore is most certainly a “must see.”