By on April 12, 2017

2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD – Image: © Timothy Cain

You’re about to read a review of the 2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD, and you’re quite possibly well aware of the criticism the Encore has endured here at The Truth About Cars.

“The Encore is one of the worst cars I’ve driven in a long time,” TTAC’s former managing editor wrote in 2015. “Is the Encore the worst Buick ever?” Corey Lewis asked late last year.

Meanwhile, the Encore has appeared on my personal list of the eight vehicles I don’t want to own for four consecutive years.

Building good small cars is hard. It turns out, building good small SUVs — we can call them subcompact crossovers — based on those small cars can be just as challenging. That doesn’t mean Buick got the Chevrolet Sonic-based Encore all wrong. Refreshed for 2017, the Buick Encore has some redeeming qualities.

Would I buy one? At $35,825, you can’t be serious. But I’m beginning to understand why your mother might want an Encore.

Let’s deal with the sources of that understanding first.

2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD – Image: © Timothy Cain

The Buick Encore is exceptionally quiet. Pleasantly, peacefully quiet. The noise you do manage to hear from the 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four is sufficiently refined. Road noise is all but absent. Wind noise around the A-pillars is made known only because of the silence elsewhere.

In a segment littered with relatively unrefined competitors, the Encore’s knack for keeping the outside world outside is more than welcome.

That refinement carries forward to exceptional ride quality. The short, 100.6-inch wheelbase keeps the Encore’s suspension busy at work, but harsh impacts are kept at bay, and the Encore does a surprisingly decent job of traversing rough pavement like a much larger Buick.

The Encore is a nimble runabout, too. Quick steering and positive brake feel work with tidy exterior dimensions to make the Encore an agreeable downtown companion.

Viewed as a four seater, the Encore is also a roomy subcompact CUV. Head and legroom are acceptable out back, perhaps at the expense of an 18.8-cubic-foot cargo area that’s notably lacking space for a four-person vacation’s worth of stuff. Up front, the updated layout minimizes buttons and maximizes touchscreen, and to good effect. Chintzy steering wheel controls and GM’s ubiquitous and disappointing signal stalk remains, but the Encore’s interior, at least in sixth-from-the-bottom Premium trim, is almost, well, premium.

Say what you will about the 1990s two-tone look, this $995 White Frost paint looked very good in person, helping to propel the upmarket image Buick is chasing. The 2017 Encore’s proportions aren’t the stuff that car designer dreams are made of, but the facelift for the entry-level Buick’s fifth model year upped its game.

2017 Buick Encore Premium – Image: © Timothy Cain

If that $35,825 as-tested price for this Encore Premium AWD doesn’t tell you something about Buick’s intentions, the $995 optional paint ought to. GM doesn’t want the Encore compared with its twin, the Chevrolet Trax, nor does Buick want you to think of the Encore as a mere foe of the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. The Encore is a compact luxury SUV, Buick says. So the Encore commands a luxury MSRP.

Luxury, however, is a difficult standard to live up to, especially when the power seat isn’t fully powered: you’ll operate the back rest manually. Is luxury the absence of a front passenger armrest, or are my passenger and I supposed to share the pencil affixed to the side of driver’s seat, the one with the big hump right where my elbow is supposed to land?

Many will argue that luxury is a corollary of space. And the Encore is decently spacious for four people. But you won’t ever want to squeeze in a fifth occupant. We surely couldn’t have even considered doing so between our two child seats, one of which required the driver’s seat to move far forward.

Others will argue it’s difficult to make a case for luxury without horsepower. There’s an optional powertrain upgrade available for the Encore now, a different 1.4T with 153 horsepower, 177 lb-ft of torque (gains of 15 horsepower and 29 lb-ft), stop-start tech, and superior fuel economy.

But that more prodigious engine would have driven this Encore’s price up by $895 to $36,720. Now you’re into $36,745 BMW X1 xDrive28i territory and beginning to feel distinctly more underpowered, unattractive, undersized, and unencumbered by good sense.

Without that engine, a perkier direct-injection powerplant that significantly reduces acceleration times, the 2017 Buick Encore I drove for a week is a laggard. Constantly, you’re prodding the Encore to downshift. The Encore always needs to downshift. And if at first you think the Encore’s off-the-line throttle response bodes well, remember how automakers have employed similar tactics with lackluster powerplants in small cars for decades. It’s 2017. We can’t be fooled now.

138 horsepower can be enough. But in the Encore, with the Premium grade’s accoutrements and the weight of all-wheel-drive hardware, it’s not, even if the smooth six-speed attempts to make the most of the available power. Car And Driver’s 50-70 mph acceleration tests show the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, speed demons neither, to be a second quicker than the 138-horsepower Encore AWD. That’s a second you will notice.

2017 Buick Encore Premium interior detail - Image: © Timothy Cain

Pair the tardy acceleration with a comfort-oriented chassis that sends the Encore into roly-poly responses on higher-speed, twisty, rural roads and the Encore quickly loses its appeal for keen drivers. Those nimble in-town responses are forgotten as the Encore flounders when pushed to perform.

Buick evidently doesn’t need keen drivers. The Encore is a success story for General Motors. U.S. Encore volume jumped 53 percent in 2014, another 38 percent in 2015, and a further 16 percent in 2016. Encore sales growth isn’t slowing, with sales up 17 percent through the first-quarter of 2017.

In fact, last month, March 2017, was the Encore’s best month of U.S. sales in its 51-month history. Combined, the Encore and its more affordable, slightly less popular Chevrolet Trax twin own a segment-leading 31 percent of the subcompact crossover market.

There are reasons for that: a silent cabin, excellent ride quality, urban-friendly dimensions, decent real-world fuel economy.

But there are also reasons the Encore doesn’t deserve to be so successful. While in many areas the Encore shines in comparison with comparably sized subcompact rivals, almost all of these vehicles crumble when an objective value equation is performed with a proper compact crossover in the mix.

$35,825 gets you an awful lot of Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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140 Comments on “2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD Review – A Half-Hearted Defense...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Great paint and tasteful chrome, too (on the waterfall ones).

    Only people with a hormone imbalance hate these.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      @OMP, I find that hard to believe.

      Most of the ladies I see driving these are post-menopausal.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        Safe sex!

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        And most of the men you see driving these are post-operational.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        “Most of the ladies I see driving these are post-menopausal.”

        That makes a lot of sense; this is the perfect retiree vehicle – it’s big enough for one or two and their stuff (or a couple of friends), smooth and fuel efficient enough for everyday driving, “luxurious” enough for those who care about those things, and the entry/exit and driving position is better than a sedan.

        15 years ago, minivans were a favorite for the over-65 set despite their size purely because of the carlike ride (and fuel economy) and ingress/egress.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          I believe you’ve described it quite well. The tv advert shows some hot 20-something chicas, but the reality is people my age (soc sec and/or mandatory 401k distributions) are who buys these.

        • 0 avatar
          SARCASTIMODE

          But can it be flat-towed behind a 40ft Prevost quad slide?

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I plan to recommend this to a friend who currently drives (a relative term) a 1st gen New Beetle. She had a Rendezvous years ago and liked it. A smaller (and hopefully more reliable) version should fit her well.

          She’s in her 70s.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          “That makes a lot of sense; this is the perfect retiree vehicle – it’s big enough for one or two and their stuff (or a couple of friends), smooth and fuel efficient enough for everyday driving, “luxurious” enough for those who care about those things, and the entry/exit and driving position is better than a sedan.”

          You’re describing the much less expensive Honda HR-V.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I have no idea if my hormones are fully balanced, but my eyes work just fine, so I hate these.

      “Safe sex!”

      Assuming the post-menopausal lady a) wants it, and b) it doesn’t hurt her when she does…unfortunately that stuff has a tendency to happen too. And then there’s the mood swings, the hot flashes, and all the other stuff. There’s a reason why older guys go for younger women, and it ain’t just vanity (well, OK, vanity is right up there too).

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      When it comes to the Encore, I welcome your contempt.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      And the front passenger seat folds flat for elven more cu ft of cargo.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Another foreign-made, GM mark of excellence, overpriced, disposable, piece of sh*t vehicle from the “we don’t make crappy vehicles anymore.”

      Just Chinatize ALL of GM and get the product aligned with the market and components used to assemble the General Motors vehicles with, and get it over with.

      Another GM total POS vehicle that has a life-cycle about as long as the average length of an American Home Senior Living Center lease term.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Newsflash, most everything made in this modern age is quite disposable save a few high priced exotics or rare versions of a Vette, Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Judging by the number of 100-150K miles Chevy Cruze cars in the used world that still run as new tells me that these will also last quite a long time with minimal issues. An engine with no DI beefy internals and no timing belt can give many hundred thousand miles of trouble free service if taken proper care of.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    “$35,825 gets you an awful lot of Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5”

    Why stop there when you’re already halfway to a Hellcat?

    I think the overall challenge is whether to buy a well optioned vehicle, or go up a size in class at a lower trim level for a similar price.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      You could probably scoop up a well-equipped Grand Cherokee for a song and dance more.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Or an Explorer.

        But the Encore buyer probably isn’t looking for a larger vehicle. This is an alternative to the X1 and Q3, and Buick is doing pretty well at it, in spite of the shortcomings.

        It would be easy for them to address the power issue (or the power seat, for that matter) but clearly this is not hampering sales at the moment.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Hellcat? Sometimes I miss BTSR.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle!

      The last line of Tim’s article sums it up for me. When I saw the as-tested price, my mind immediately looked over to the Mazda sales sheet.

      You could get a CX-5 Touring, which is a size class up, has 49 more HP, about the same fuel economy, comparable features, and it costs about $2k less.

      Or consider a Subaru Forester for about $1k less than the Encore.

      I’m not saying the Encore is awful, but it just doesn’t appeal to me, at least not when optioned up. (Really, not in base trim either.)

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        I guess you haven’t purchased or shopped a new car recently either. Domestics give residuals upfront in the form of cash on the hood. Encore can be had for uo to $7,000 off MSRP.

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          I didn’t walk into a dealership and start haggling. But I did use some online shopping tools to compare “market value”, not just MSRP. And I didn’t use the $36k price quoted in this article, but picked a Premium trim Encore with no additional options.

          Yes, GM is usually big with incentives, but they are not the only ones that use them.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The 7,000 off msrp is an advertised deal somewhere in indiana. Find options you want and then shop for the best deal. Most of the time I end up shipping a car to me. Allot time sitting at the dealership and the shipping cost is absorbed in the savings.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The small wheelbase, height, and lines give these an odd “about to tip over” proportion. At least to my eyes.

    I do see a higher than expected number Encore’s around here, usually driven by a senior citizen out on a pharmacy run.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    “the 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four”

    First thing that strikes me is how neither of those figures are large enough.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      The new Demon’s supercharger is twice the displacement of this car’s entire engine. Let that sink in for a moment.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      At $35k, this still doesn’t get the slightly bigger engine? Sheesh. My parents’ Sorento was the same price and it has even more features, an eager V6, and 3 rows of seats.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Yeah – the CR-V comes with much more power for less money.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          On paper the CR-V or larger Sorento looks good, but are not even near-luxury like the Buick.

        • 0 avatar

          Again, as the review states, we can’t take the “bigger is better” approach to analyzing this car (or this class). The people who buy this, buy it because of the size/refinement/feature combo. They actually are willing to pay for small. If you can’t get that concept, then you’re just going to never get this class of vehicle.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I think some car reviewers don’t understand how “golden” silence really is.
    Most of us don’t have the luxury of making use of gratuitous horsepower or corner carving suspensions when stuck in traffic.
    In fact, when I’ve spent the day dealing with jackoffs at work I really just want to be able to listen to music through an assortment of vehicle gadgets and tune out the additional jackoffs I have to share the road with.
    A quiet car is perfect for this, and more people than the average auto enthusiast can comprehend place value in it.

  • avatar
    r129

    Part of the appeal has to be the heavily incentivized leases that are almost perpetually offered, at least in the U.S. If you have a competitive lease in the household, the Encore is often THE least expensive lease of any CUV-type vehicle, and second only to the Cruze for the least expensive overall. It is often advertised for less than the Trax. For someone who doesn’t really care about cars, and still thinks of any Buick as premium, it’s hard to resist. As a new car purchase, it seems to make less sense, although there are currently huge rebates available.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      I dunno, the Encore is primarily selling to retirees and empty nesters, and I don’t think many of them are hopping on the lease train.

      • 0 avatar
        r129

        I think leasing is finally catching on with older people, and with the amount of miles they drive, it can make sense. I know two people in their 80s who recently started leasing for the first time. The two people I know who are leasing Encores are 60 and 80+.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ” leasing is finally catching on with older people, ”

          I agree.

          But the leased vehicle is usually not their only vehicle.

          A couple from church recently leased a Lincoln hybrid sedan and they use it primarily for long-distance trips, out of town doctor’s appointments, and out of town shopping/dining trips.

          Other times the old guy drives his aging F150, and the old girl drives her well-worn Camry.

          And some of those lease deals can be sweeeeet, like 0-0-0, and low monthly payments.

          • 0 avatar
            r129

            In the case of my grandmother, who just leased for the first time at 79, she would have had to finance for 6 years in order to comfortably afford the monthly payment. She wasn’t sure that she’d still be driving (or alive) in 6 years, and she could potentially have to pay for repairs as the car aged. Her old car was 12 years old and needed to be replaced, and leasing made the most sense.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I’m past 70 myself and am deeply involved in helping “older” people in my community with all aspects of modern life, through our church, SERTOMA, Elks and other venues that attract seniors.

            Leasing is great and works very well for some. And it alleviates the burden of maintenance and repair expense in many cases.

            And often, leasing also takes the away the fighting among heirs as to who gets to inherit what from a deceased.

            Cars, trucks, jewelry, pets, and real estate are often at the top of the list of what is in dispute.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            “And often, leasing also takes the away the fighting among heirs as to who gets to inherit what from a deceased.”

            The importance of having a clear and comprehensive will cannot be overstated.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Corey Lewis, people will go to court in spite of wills, claiming all sorts of precedence and reasons.

            In one case I remember people were in dispute over clear-glass figurines because they had been “promised” by grandma to one grand daughter but another grand daughter, the Executor of the Will by PoA, had given them to yet another.

            The “promise” held up over the Will because of grandma’s diminished mental capacity at age 90+. She may have forgotten what she promised and to whom.

            It didn’t help that these German hand-blown clear-glass figurines were worth in excess of $50K to various collectors around the planet.

            And then there was the case of the Hummels……..

          • 0 avatar
            fincar1

            One reason to be glad that the daughter’s an only child, i suppose.
            Also, I am amused by some of the younger contributors’ views on what older people should be driving. My new Mustang GT suits me just fine.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            fincar1, daughters tend to be “High Maintenance.” My In-Laws had FOUR of them.

            And I am all about choice. I believe that we each should be able to buy and drive exactly what we desire as long as we can afford it and do not need to be subsidized by the taxpayer.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    The Encore is the pussyhat of cars and will always and only be ravaged on any car guy site.

    I adore them but not 10 extra-K worth.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “I adore them but not 10 extra-K worth.”

      You’re almost in Bolt territory – and the Bolt is probably much quieter with your right foot down.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “You’re almost in Bolt territory”

        Yeah, my <25K rule holds for ICE but a Bolt could make me put off new house windows for another year or two.

        There's still that much wild & crazy in me!

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          As long as you qualify for the $7.5k; otherwise, an HR-V, CX3 or a (CPO) Encore might serve you better.

          (Oops – forgot the Bolt lease — but that deal might not be as good outside of the CARB states.)

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            I hate the HR-V (slumpback) and the Mazda looks goofy and I don’t buy used no more.

            Plus if I ever get to test drive a Bolt it may be poop.

            Plus I’m all talk, anyway, and will probably just hoard my money while driving my beeyootiful 3rd gen CR-V till it’s time to meet Jesus.

            I’m a terrible advice taker.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            It’s fun to speculate – I’m planning on buying a used convertible for my retirement – thoroughly optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      But there’s nothing to adore, that’s why it gets ravaged. They’ve done an admirable job of taking a pretty crappy platform (the Trax doesn’t ride nearly as well, nor is it as quiet) and making it ~nice~ but it is priced like a bigger SUV, it handles like a bigger SUV, it gets the same fuel economy as a bigger SUV, and it’s *slower* than almost all other SUVs. Liking it because it’s plush is fine, but it basically proves you don’t know much about its competition or value quotient.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I like the concept here. And with the new engine, the performance isn’t bad. Plus, I like the interior, even if it only has one armrest.

    But man…that thing’s ugly.

  • avatar
    qest

    It’s all about the crazy lease deals. Cheaper than an Impreza!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Any Subbie > Encore.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        When my then fiance jumped out her 2012 Forester, tin can, into the Encore she was impressed with how nice it was. Of course it had Trifecta tune and for someone like her that likes to at 80+ in the left lane and can’t understand why no one will more over to the right out of her way, she really enjoyed the peppy little car.

        That was until an uncover police or a detective jumped on her butt at 80+ mph did she not think it was fun anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        High residuals on Subaru. But anything with a lot of cash on the hood will lease well. I’ve seen some incredibly cheap Encore leases around here.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          The Forester and Crosstec have about 65% residual after 3 years where the Encore is 55% according to Edmunds. But the Buick is 20% less off and less than either of those two or 75% residual. So you’ll be 10% ahead and in your pocket when you drive off with an Encore or more.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY14 Buick Encore AWD Base (MSRP AWD 4dr Convenience $27,285.00)

            http://www.autotrader.com/2014-buick-Encore.jsp?modelId=26080

            4/7/17 $13,400 50,584 4.2 4GT/A Burgundy Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
            4/6/17 $16,400 18,753 – – 4GT/- – Gray Regular Midwest Chicago
            3/22/17 $14,500 38,558 4.3 4GT/A Red Lease Northeast New Jersey
            3/21/17 $16,000 27,128 3.8 4GT/A Gray Lease Midwest Ohio
            3/9/17 $15,000 36,981 4.2 4GT/A Brown Regular Northeast Albany
            3/9/17 $12,000* 48,847 2.8 4GT/A Silver Lease Northeast Fredericksburg

            AVG: $14,950

            $14,950 is 54.79% of $27,285.

            If say one got 3K off in incentives it goes to 61.56%.

            MY14 Subaru Crosstrek AWD Premium (With a starting price around $22,000, the 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Premium (the lowest trim level) is a strong value.)

            http://www.thecarconnection.com/overview/subaru_xv-crosstrek_2014

            4/7/17 $16,200 31,478 3.7 4G/A Black Lease Northeast Pennsylvania
            4/6/17 $14,800 38,495 4.1 4G/A Orange Regular Southeast Atlanta
            4/6/17 $19,500 17,912 4.2 4G/5 Blue Regular West Coast Southern California
            4/5/17 $15,800 40,940 3.3 4G/A Beige Regular Southeast Central Florida
            4/5/17 $14,800 54,926 4.4 4G/A Black Regular Northeast Pittsburgh
            4/5/17 $14,600 35,797 4.4 4G/A Orange Lease Northeast New York
            4/4/17 $15,250 31,339 2.1 4G/A Blue Regular West Coast Riverside
            4/3/17 $16,500 34,628 – – 4G/- – White Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
            3/29/17 $15,800 49,327 – – – -/A Beige Regular Northeast New Jersey
            3/29/17 $20,900* 7,258 – – 4G/A Beige Regular Southwest Denver
            3/29/17 $16,800 33,762 3.1 4G/A Green Lease Midwest Minneapolis
            3/29/17 $15,600 54,228 – – 4G/5 Blue Regular Midwest Milwaukee
            3/29/17 $17,300 34,370 4.6 4G/A Beige Regular Northeast New Jersey
            3/28/17 $16,300 36,518 4.9 4G/A White Regular Midwest Ohio
            3/24/17 $16,100 52,596 – – 4G/- – Gray Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
            3/24/17 $14,700 50,890 3.4 4G/A Gray Lease West Coast Nevada
            3/24/17 $17,400 20,800 4.3 4G/A Silver Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
            3/23/17 $13,900 67,096 – – 4G/A Silver Regular Southeast Palm Beach
            3/23/17 $17,900 31,044 2.8 4G/A White Lease West Coast Phoenix
            3/23/17 $17,900 21,415 3.1 4G/A Black Lease Northeast Pennsylvania
            3/23/17 $15,500 59,852 – – 4G/A White Regular Northeast Albany
            3/22/17 $15,000 35,744 2.6 4G/5 Silver Lease Northeast New Jersey
            3/22/17 $17,300 31,969 3.5 4G/A White Lease Southwest Dallas
            3/22/17 $17,100 36,474 3.7 4G/A Blue Lease Southwest Dallas
            3/22/17 $17,900 30,585 – – 4G/A Blue Regular Midwest Milwaukee
            3/22/17 $17,900 5,067 3.5 4G/A Red Lease Northeast New Jersey
            3/21/17 $17,100 35,409 4.7 4G/A Black Lease Northeast Pittsburgh
            3/17/17 $14,200* 26,550 2.0 4G/A Gray Lease Northeast Pennsylvania
            3/15/17 $17,600 30,971 4.5 4G/A Burgundy Regular Midwest Kansas City
            3/14/17 $16,900 39,846 4.1 4G/A Orange Regular Southeast Orlando

            AVG: 16,3

            16,3 is 74% of 22000. Subaru rarely does incentives, but if they do (say $500) it takes it to 75.81%

            The Subbie spanks the Buick Escantlade by 14% not 10%, with incentives. You can also sell a Subbie fairly easily to nearly anyone, not so for the Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            28, you paying MSRP?!

            The Encore is up to $7,000 or 16-20% off MSRP on any given day. Does your calculations take ATP into consideration?

            Or are you still driving a 3800 w-body?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            http://www.suss.net/VehicleDetails/new-2017-Buick-Encore-Preferred_AWD-Aurora-CO/2956259233

            I get +/- $181/mo w/$0 cap cost, first payment only. Subaru can’t touch that unless they’re bringing back the Justy.

            (Granted, a Forester is the better car, and on the Buick, 10K miles per year, “conquest lease bonus, etc, ad infinitum, but that’s ridiculously cheap no matter how you slice it.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Lease A New 2017 Crosstrek For $269/Month
            Manufacturer Offers
            Now through May 1, 2017 Lease a new 2017 Crosstrek for $269/Month on a 36-Month Lease (Standard 2.0i 5MT model, code HRA-01). $1,129 due at lease signing. $0 security deposit.

            http://www.coloradosubaru.com/global-incentives-search/2017-Subaru-Crosstrek-SUV-Offers-US2017SUB237d751803e2fd3c5ded980.htm

            This quotes 139/mo + tax with select model bonus cash.

            Description: MSRP $27,185 Experience Buick Lease from $139/mo + tax for ONLY 24 months!! INCLUDES 2 years factory scheduled maintenance at NO charge.
            Disclosure: Disclaimer: 24 mo 10k mpy lease. $1,139 due at signing plus applicable tax. Lease end value $17,942. Must qualify for $1,500 Conquest Lessee incentive. Lease terms and security deposit waiver WAC. Subject to availability of Select Model incentive. Must take delivery from dealer stock by 5/1/2017.
            Expires: 5/1/17

            (1) Must take delivery from dealer stock by 4/17/2017
            (2) Disclaimer: 24 mo 10k mpy lease. $1,139 due at signing plus applicable tax. Lease end value $17,942. Must qualify for $1,500 Conquest Lessee incentive. Lease terms and security deposit waiver WAC. Subject to availability of Select Model incentive. Must take delivery from dealer stock by 5/1/2017.

            http://www.suss.net/VehicleDetails/new-2017-Buick-Encore-Preferred_AWD-Aurora-CO/2956259233

            I don’t care to break it down but I’d be curious to know the option differences on Crosstrek vs Encore Preferred (whatever “preferred” means) because it is possible one is missing the nice features on the Buick in exchange for the 100 bucks or so less (or vice versa even).

            I am also crunching numbers on ownership residuals, not leasing which is throwing money away in the current tax scheme. In that scheme, the Subbie is the clearly better alternative as already shown. I am curious to see GM already giving $2500 on these and $1500 more for conquest.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Look at 2016 copies of each, since Crosstrek is only available in 2016, and you see the prices are the same on cargurus. Not to say the cars are the same as one is utilitarian and the other near-luxury. The discounted price of the Encore is like cash in your pocket while driving it away.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            All valid points, and yeah, I’d take the Subaru over the Buick even with the higher payment. But like I was saying…clearly Buick’s doing giveaway leases on the Encore.

            The Encore in that ad looks pretty well equipped – alloys, full power, 1.4 turbo, automatic, AWD, etc. Probably the same basic equipment level as the Crosstrek.

            Cost of ownership? Now, if I were buying one and keeping it for 10 years, I’d go with the Subaru, for sure. But on a 24-36 month lease you’re talking oil changes, scheduled services, and such. Maybe a few wear items too, but not many given the mileage. Should be a pretty minimal difference. Certainly nothing on the Buick should be a dealbreaker.

            (Around here, the best deals on Subarus are for the Legacy sedan.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I concede your points.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “Any Subbie > Encore.”

        I’ve considered an Impreza/Crosstrek/Forester – then I’ve heard fairly new models start up cold, and wondered when the salad fork was going to pop out of the exhaust pipe.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    Drove the UK version – Vauxhall Mokka – as a hire car a couple of years ago.

    The engine seemed peppy round town but struggled on hills, and the gearchange indicator always seemed to want to change up at the wrong time, leading to the engine labouring and a downshift again.

    Bootspace was tiny.

    The rear C pillars and headrests offered no rearward visibility, and the parking sensors were overly sensitive, flatlining with a good 3 foot left of space, making parking in town a chore.

    I wasn’t convinced by the “sit up high” seating position that everyone loves, it just felt like driving a commercial van.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    So it looks like this car excels in the ways that are obvious on a brief test-drive, and annoying/poor in the ways that show up after actually owning the thing for any length of time.

    I guess that sells cars, but doesn’t bring ’em back when the lease is up.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    This would probably be fine for commuting at its $22K entry price in a riding-a-moped sort of way, but I’ll never be seen riding a moped (among other things).

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Catch the December deals for FWD version at $19K. I was about to lease a couple for nieces and nephews at college for that price!

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        I am sure Buick was thrilled with your almost lease attempt.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The car-buying equivalent of Sir Robin “…who had nearly fought the Dragon of Angnor, who had nearly stood up to the vicious Chicken of Bristol, and who had personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon Hill!”

      • 0 avatar
        Strippo

        There’s a butt for every seat. To me this is Buick’s BMW i3. The car has its merits for the right buyer, but it’s not a proper Buick. I would assume the Envision is likewise plenty quiet, but also proportionally orthodox.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Would I buy one? At $35,825, you can’t be serious. But I’m beginning to understand why your mother might want an Encore.”

    This seems to imply somebody’s mother is lacking in intelligence if you won’t buy one at 35,8 (I wouldn’t either, and I think Buick should be shamed at that price).

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      In an increasingly noisy world, quiet is a very valuable commodity. You may not value it as highly as some, but for those who do, spending extra to get it is, often, a good tradeoff.

      As for the review, comparing this vehicle to the BMW X1 is just silly. the X1 sacrifices creature comforts to bring the “BMW experience (TM)” to a low price point that will please younger and less-affluent buyers. No one is cross-shopping these vehicles. For the record, no one is cross-shopping the Encore with a Hellcat either.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Better the Encore than blowing pappy’s life insurance in front of a slot machine…

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Would you buy one at $24,803? That’s the base (and not badly equipped price). You have to try real hard to get it up to $35,825.

      These prices are all before the discounts, rebates, and negotiations.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Automatic transmissions are generally programmed to upshift early these days, as it ekes out another MPG or two in the EPA test. It does so at the expense of driveablilty and performance.

    The MSRP is set ridiculously high so that salespeople can stun potential buyers with the amazingly large amount of cash on the hood. It’s the automotive version of 50% off the overinflated retail price of department store clothing, which never, ever sells at the regular price.

    A friend of mine, who is also an automotive enthusiast, commented that this version of the Encore appears to be “styled by the sphincter muscle at the end of the assembly line”. I kind of see his point.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      I dunno why people keep talking about the large amounts of cash on the hood of Encores. TrueCar shows average discounts for 2016 being about $2k and 2017s at $1k. That’s nothing compared to most of its competition. Am I missing something here?

      Also the early-upshifting-transmission thing is common these days, but GM really goes overboard with it in their CUVs. It’s a universal complaint for the old Equinox. Not so much its competition.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Up to $7,000 off on cargurus. I guess you haven’t bought a new car recently but the deals can be had and are advertised on a couple of for sale sites, not middlemen like Truecar or other car buying services.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “…large amounts of cash on the hood…”

        I guess they’re seeing low-ball prices from high-volume dealers over the ‘net, while the old folk that like these shop close to home from the newspaper, and love getting the $1,000 rebate so they don’t have to haggle.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    This article makes the same mistake the 2015 article did: this car is not for you. Both articles openly admit how well the car executes its mission. How it creates a near-luxury runabout with high seating and tidy dimensions, in a comfort-oriented ride. The Encore does these things very VERY well.

    Yes, it’s slow. Yes, the boot is tiny. Yes, the armrest is narrow. Tell me, did you look at the exterior dimensions?? If you want those things move up a class. But in the meanwhile there is NO other vehicle in this class that does the Encore’s job. The X1 is louder and 7 inches longer. The Mazda, Honda, 500X, and Renegade are all louder and busier.

    If you want silent comfort in a small package that can parallel park like a Fit but highway cruise like a Lacrosse, you have few options. There’s a reason real estate agents love these. They drive 20,000 miles a year and trust me, nobody wants to spend 3 hours a day in a CX-3 or HR-V. Or worse, make a phone call in one. So who’s post-menopausal? Is it: The seasoned road warrior who’s parking the Encore in downtown Chicago one day and Normal, IL the next? Or the enthusiast that snorts at the Encore on his 20 minute commute to his desk job? As with most things, often the greatest products are bought by the heaviest users.

    If the enthusiast community roid-rages against a car selling like hotcakes, it’s not the car’s problem. It’s the enthusiast community that is failing to get it.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      ^^^^post of the day^^^^

      I was trying to quantify the “half hearted” part of the headline also. GM bashing continues here at TTaC.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Norm, you and your well-documented Encore love are not gonna get a free pass here as Bible-truth. First, learn what “bashing” means. Then go cry about this overpriced scooter’s well-deserved criticism on your Encore forum.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      @bryanska I take issue with the entire gist of your comment.

      A car reviewer gives *their* opinion about a car. Whether you disagree or not is up to you. The reviewer’s job is *not* to provide a filter of their opinion for every single potential customer of a vehicle.

      It’s not “making a mistake” to review a car, as a car review is supposed to be done this way.

      Perhaps a review is not for *you*, and you should find another which agrees with your perspective more.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        You’re off on a line of logic that ultimately doesn’t hold water. A comment section, use of which is encouraged by the editors, is de facto a request for comment. Perhaps you should find a comment stream which you agree with more? After all… “don’t click” is the phrase I keep hearing from those who prefer not to read alternate opinions. Of which we all have plenty!

        I addressed both the author and those who are piling on the Encore. Especially those who lob sexual insults at its drivers, which is a form of sociopathy I thought we addressed with Miata drivers long ago when it became the paradigm sports car. Goes to show.

        Your reference to the reviewer is a good one. If a movie critic shits on a Michael Bay movie but acknowledges its technical achievement, then goes on to say “it doesn’t deserve to be successful” while it sells out then the critic is failing to see the link between its accomplishments and its success. If the movie is a flop, the dislike is easy to justify. But when Transformers: The Next Movie is a box office hit, the critic is doing the art a disservice when he/she doesn’t step back and consider other viewpoints.

        My issue is that a TTAC pan was already done in 2015. And the comments read nearly identically. Yet the vehicle continues to sell well. Like Jalopnik’s irrational revisionism and continued willful ignorance of the PT Cruiser, the author’s dismissing of the Encore while it dominates a hot new segment isn’t very acknowledging of the situation. Sales are the elephant in the room. Someone likes these things.

        Seperately I never said the review was a mistake. I said the editorial mistake was the same one from 2015.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          “the author’s dismissing of the Encore while it dominates a hot new segment isn’t very acknowledging of the situation. Sales are the elephant in the room. Someone likes these things.”

          So if a car is popular, a reviewer must take this into account and revise his opinion to reflect more positive views of said car.

          That just doesn’t make sense.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Exactly. I didn’t see Tim saying “you shouldn’t like this car,” and I give him props for that, because there are a bunch of cars I’d go there with.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you, bryanska. This was my feeling as well.

      It’s a little like calling out the Miata for having a harsh ride, lacking space, and being a poor highway cruiser “I mean, for $31k you could get a Charger, with more power, a better ride, more space, and a quieter interior”.

      That’s not the point of the Miata. We all know it. And we recognize it because we like the focussed attributes the Miata represents. But we don’t for the Encore, so we go ahead and feign general confusion and dissatisfaction with it even while admitting its successes with regards to its narrow mission focus.

      Would I buy an Encore? Hell no. But I completely understand why many do.
      (P.S., for those comparing it to a CrossTrek…clearly you’ve never driven the CrossTrek. I like the little hiking boot, but that car is pretty near as slow, and it is noisy, rides poorly, and has a much lower quality interior).

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        +2, EChid and bryanska. Aside from that of Alex Dykes, TTAC’s take on the Encore has been uniformly lacking in objectivity. At least two other TTAC contributors have penned some version of this piece before. I’d prefer more content along the lines of Alex’s old reviews.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Bryanska isn’t calling for objectivity in reviews. He’s calling for consideration of sales figures as a relevant part of a reviewer’s opinion of a car. That’s the opposite of being objective.

          • 0 avatar
            Eddie_B

            Incorrect, Corey. Bryanska noted that while a reviewer is certainly entitled to their opinion, they are not doing anyone a service by neglecting to understand a product. And “understanding” means more than staying loyal to only one’s own point of view. It means recognizing other relevant ones.

            Funny enough, this review is half-heartedly pointed to a certain amount of rehabilitation. It does come off as half-hearted though.

            The menopausal comment… sigh. When you can’t understand, I suppose you dismiss.

            Bryanska… thank you. I still don’t like the Encore. But because of you, I understand it better now.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    You know for the same money, I bet the QX30 and QX50 are better made and more luxurious. Both are much more powerful as well. The QX50 has 325HP for cripes sakes.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    The Skyhawk has a worthy successor.

  • avatar
    greenbrierdriver

    I can tell you after recently spending a month in Sun City West due to parents in hospitals, these things are are like flies at a cow-pie convention, there. They are small enough to park practically anywhere, the seat height appears to be right on for limited mobility folks who have trouble getting up out of low cars and I suspect the price is in range for folks with decent pension money coming in. And, it is a BUICK! Oh, and it rides much better than the golf cart. :)

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Selling loaded, chromed Opel Mokkas for something approaching twice their European base price despite building them in China is a good deal if you can pull it of. Buick apparently can.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    My next-door neighbor (fiftysomething postal worker currently divorcing her husband) just traded her 2014 Encore on a 2017 Encore, in white, like this one. These are okay, but they don’t float my boat.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I could see this being a godly city car, where you’re gonna spend most of your time looking for a parking space and absorbing potholes. Context is everything

  • avatar
    StoneCrab

    You’ve missed the point with the Encore. Very few people are buying these at $35k. The vast majority of in stock inventory and sales on these are the lower trim levels, which offer almost all the advantages you quoted but at $25k or less.

    In fact, I just bought a 17 Encore Preferred FWD (almost a base model) for $19k, brand new. I bought it for my 16 year old daughter as her first real car. For her it is perfect – very easy to drive, very safe (5 star ratings all around), easy to park, fuel efficient, enough space to be practical and useful, great tech package even in the lower trims including Android Auto/Carplay with a large touchscreen. For a teen driver, I like that it only has 138hp.

    The Encore doesn’t offer much for the petrolheads, but suits its intended purpose quite well. For the gearheads – the 1.4T engine has forged rods, timing chain (not belt), traditional port injection (no carbon buildup in intake or valves), and has proven to be very reliable. It is overbuilt to standup to boost, which is almost always in use.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m tired of articles like this spouting maximum, nobody actually spends that much, pricing. It comes off as an attempt to get people upset about the pricing.

      Feel free to mention that the model you reviewed was pricey, but when putting an emphasis on price of the model overall, be sure to mention the price of the base vehicle and how well equipped it is.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Most of these seem to be priced in the 22995-27995 range for the most common Preferred and Sport Touring editions with AWD and the 153 HP engine upgrade.

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          They all should have the 153hp upgade. In fact it should just be the standard engine. Buicks don’t need to be fast, but they should never feel stressed.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Stone crab, I pounded the shit out of ours for 20,000 miles of lease, including a Trifecta tune and it never whimpered or was returned to the dealership. Ours was built proof! The free oil changes started in 2014.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I don’t get the hate. These cars aren’t meant for people who LIKE cars. Or driving.

    They are meant for 65 yr old women.

    Or people who want a CUV that is seriously cheap. Lots of $89 leases of these things around. Hell, my mom was interested, and I shopped for her. I got the price down to 0 down, $159 a month for a completely loaded awd example. Then it turned out she just can’t drive anymore.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I’m having a major sad at the waterfall going away. New grill looks like an Opel or something equally Europe-derpy.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    That armrest looks like it was designed by someone who never sat in an automobile. Or maybe they installed it upside-down!

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Regarding the single, driver side arm rest: when we had the Encore my then fiance would have her seat back as a passenger further than me as the driver. I used the front of the rest and she used the back. With the seats being so close it worked out well.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Norms apologist ways have reached new lows: c’mon folks, just share the driver’s seat armrest! :p

        There’s cogent points to be made in defense of the Encore, but this is something else entirely.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Where is your office in the RenCen, Norm?

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Well, from a one week review compared to someone who had the car for 104 weeks and multiple road trips you can take your pick.

          There somethings in this world you can get by without and once gone you’ll forget you really needed it.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    It only has one armrest, what were they thinking? The sunroof kills the headroom and it is under powered. That said, my wife loves hers and the dealer has been exceptional.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Not enough room between the seats for an extra arm rest. You do sit close while driving.

      B&B is a little bias but just the reminder on how this sells, or any Buick, compared to the over rated Mazda that doesn’t have the sales and at least Tim and autotrader.ca mentions how successful it is and it has the fruits to back it up.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …In fact, last month, March 2017, was the Encore’s best month of U.S. sales in its 51-month history. Combined, the Encore and its more affordable, slightly less popular Chevrolet Trax twin own a segment-leading 31 percent of the subcompact crossover market…

    And yet the B&B still say it will never sell, over 4 years later.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    More of the same from TTAC. Virtually every other media outlet has shown us the new Enclave along with the other 2018 intros but not here. No mention of it at all. Just another not so good review of a GM product and a hot selling Buick at that! Strangely they covered the Regal and TourX however. Even the big boxy 2018 Navigator was mentioned.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My in-laws are on their second Encore lease. They leased a leftover for a decent amount. It seems not to have as much stuff as the first one, but the first one was early (and I don’t know what trim/package it was). I think the latest one might be a lesser trim.

    But no matter. My mother in law likes her tiny Buick. She’s a “doesn’t matter as long as it starts and drives” person. But even though they looked at all the competitors that have arrived since the Encore debuted, she still wanted the Encore again.

    It’s not for me, but the Encore certainly has got a following with the 60+ crowd. 60+ with a decent nest egg anyway, though I imagine many are leases. If you don’t have a decent nest egg, the Chevy dealer has a Trax for you. Not casting aspersions, just an observation, as both cars appear popular in middle-class blue collar Pittsburgh.

    I’d rather she drive the little Buick than the ’03 Lesabre they got rid of for the first Encore.

  • avatar
    mike1985

    Still looks like a woman’s clog shoe or rollerskate.


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