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2017 Buick Encore: Affordable and Well-Equipped Crossover

The 2017 Buick Encore packs in the tech and features for a crossover priced within reach of most buyers.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

In an ongoing effort to reestablish itself as a hipper, edgier automaker, Buick modernized their entire line over the years. You may consider the Encore crossover — their best seller — as exhibit A.

The 2017 Buick Encore is a compact crossover — combining elements of both a small SUV and a larger hatchback, depending on how you look at it and what you want to put in it. Regardless of those choices, there’s one aspect of the vehicle no one can refute: It’s absolutely stuffed with tech and convenience features.

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Available in six trim levels (Base, Preferred, Sport Touring, Preferred II, Essence and Premium), the Encore offers a 1.4 liter, inline four cylinder, turbocharged engine putting out 138 horsepower. That’s married to either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, depending on trim level. MPG numbers average around 27 city, 33 highway.

The driving experience is smooth and comfortable without thrills and chills. That’s not what this vehicle does. It’s reliable transport for people and their things in a compact shell offering a bit more space than the average hatchback.

Also: NYIAS 2017: Buick Debuts Sub-Brand Avenir and New Enclave

The 2017 Buick Encore fights it out in the most hotly competitive automotive class in the world. Crossovers rank amongst many automakers’ top sellers, so the Encore is looking draw some of that action over to its dealerships. To offer the best competition possible, Buick packed a list of technological features and conveniences to rival any crossover on the market.

The list is extensive: Six-way power driver’s seat; power adjustable lumbar support; power windows, heated mirrors; six speaker sound system; USB and Bluetooth capability; satellite radio; speed sensitive volume control; stolen vehicle tracking assistance; satellite navigation and Intellilink infotainment system. The idea is to keep the driver in constant comfort with everything he or she might need within reach.

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The styling is unique among hybrids as it leans away from SUV and more toward hatchback lines. Squint a bit and there’s almost a touch of Fiat 500 hidden away in there. The most SUV-centric element of the vehicle — beyond its larger than a hatchback storage area out back — is the wheel position. The wheels push out to the edges of the frame almost like a classic Land Rover, providing improved balance and road-going reassurance.

That said, this crossover is urban transport. Its compact size for a (very) small SUV makes it manageable in traffic and when parking. And its ground clearance and comfort features seek city and suburban life — not burbling streams or sand dunes.

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Perhaps the most attractive feature for crossover shoppers would be the Encore’s price. Buick keeps this vehicle within the reach of a large swatch of drivers with a base price of about $22,900, with the trim line capping out around $30,500. If any driver looks out over the automotive market, it’s easy to find lesser vehicles with price-tags above the Encore’s MSRPs.

The Buick Encore may not be the most pulse pounding ride available That’s not what Buick is about in the 21st century. With its mix of tech features, stable performance and friendly pricing, the Buick Encore offers a safe crossover option to a millions of compact SUV shoppers. That’s why it’s selling hotter than any other vehicle in the line.