The Buick Encore is on a dedicated new CUV platform 9.5 inches longer overall on a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase compared with Chevy Sonic, with which it shares only seat frames and the 1.4-liter turbo Ecotec. The headlamps clearly must come from another GM car, though. How else to explain the non-functional air-intake filler panels between the lamps and bumper?
Premium interior fittings include rich leather, soft plastics, and the kinds of color combinations seen on the Verano.
The usual plethora of Buick accoutrements will include standard StabiliTrak, an acoustic-laminated windshield, active noise cancellation, a 7-inch LCD screen, blue headlight projector ring, and optional lane-departure warning, collision avoidance, and heated steering wheel.
Underpinnings are more humble, with MacPherson struts up front and a compound-crank twist-beam axle in back, whether it's equipped with front drive or all-wheel drive.
The Encore's interior space compares well with BMW X1 and Audi Q3, two models not yet imported. Cargo space looks tight, though, and the high rear seats provide only adequate legroom. Buick wants the Encore to attract the young, aspirational crowd, but this doesn't seem to fit the bill. Even if it beats the X1 and Q3 to this market, the small crossover looks better suited for China and South Korea. The new-age Buick design language that wraps around the capacious Enclave so handsomely simply doesn't make the transition to the shorter, stubby Encore very well.