Photo by Mike Antich.
The 2016 Buick Encore is a crossover utility vehicle offered in five trim levels. Recently, AF had an opportunity to drive the all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of the new 2016 Encore Sport Touring model, which features the more powerful all-new 1.4L turbocharged engine with six-speed automatic transmission.
The engine generates 153 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, about 11% more horsepower and nearly 20% more torque than the Encore’s standard engine – and a greater feeling of power on demand at low- and mid-range speeds.
Getting behind the wheel of the Encore, my first impression was the excellent visibility afforded by sitting at a higher driving position. The Encore is easy to maneuver and very nimble, especially in city traffic. One noticeable feature is the Encore’s tight turning diameter, which the GM specs show to be 36.7-feet. What contributes to this tight turning diameter is the column-mounted, variable-effort electric power steering system. When negotiating curving roads or freeway off-ramps, the AWD Encore provided a feeling of sure-footedness to the vehicle coupled to the StabiliTrak electronic stability control.
Another positive driving impression is the quiet cabin. The Encore was specifically engineered to be quiet. Buick calls it QuietTuning, which is designed to block or absorb sound and dampen or eliminate vibrations to achieve 30 different sound benchmarks. One feature of QuietTuning included Buick’s first application of Bose Active Noise Cancellation. This technology uses ceiling-mounted microphones to detect audible engine noise, the frequencies of which are processed by a computer that directs counteracting sound waves through the audio system’s speakers and subwoofer.
Photo by Mike Antich.
Although AWD technology consumes more fuel than two-wheel drive, the Encore is equipped with stop/start technology to reduce fuel consumption in stop-and-go driving. It automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when you take your foot off the brake.
The Encore offers 10 airbags, including side curtain and knee protection, as standard equipment. The Encore Sport Touring trim level offers the Convenience Package content, which includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert. There is a standard rearview camera, with excellent resolution.
The interior of the Encore has a spacious feel, with room to seat five. In addition, the Encore has a storage capacity of 18.8 cubic feet behind the split-folding rear seat and cargo space reaching 48.4 cubic feet with rear seats folded flat.
The front passenger seat also folds flat to extend the cargo length and accommodate items up to eight feet long. To conceal cargo from view to prevent smash-and-grab temptations, there is a rear cargo cover.