You’d be forgiven for not believing that former big-boat-builder Buick offers the smallest wagon in parent GM’s stable.
A 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder works with a six-speed automatic transmission: front- or optional all-wheel-drive.
How did Buick proclaim that its previous focus on size-size-size was long-gone? By introducing the tiddly Encore. Just don’t let its small dimensions fool you: it is a uniquely practical tall wagon that can hold lots of gear and can hold its own in the horsepower and fuel-consumption departments. Also adding to its versatility is available all-wheel-drive. From its oval-shaped “waterfall” grille to the tip of its two-tone bumper, the Encore features a neat blend of stylish design cues with just a hint of ruggedness. The Encore uses the same platform as Buick’s Verano sedan and Chevrolet’s Cruze and Sonic small cars, however it’s about seven inches longer and five inches taller than the Sonic hatchback, which gives it far more cargo room with the rear seat in place or folded flat. The front passenger seat folds flat so that ladders and building materials can be more easily accommodated. The cabin is also on the receiving end of one of Buick’s more fashionable interiors. It has active noise cancellation that uses ceiling-mounted microphones to detect engine sounds, then a special computer dishes out counteracting sound waves through the audio system. It’s pleasantly surprising that Buick would select the Encore as its initial recipient of this tech. Standard is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Base cars arrive with the usual air/cruise/tilt/power accessories plus 10 airbags and standard 18-inch wheels. From that point, depending on the designation, you select dual-zone climate control, power sunroof, navigation system, leather-trimmed interior, power-adjustable driver’s chair, heated steering wheel, premium Bose sound system, to name just a few.
Base price (incl. destination): $25,100
Type: Four-door sub-compact tall wagon
Engine (hp): 1.4-liter DOHC I4 (138)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Mileage (city/hwy): 25/33 (FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; front knee airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,190