Buick's subcompact Encore crossover is likely on its way to a full redesign for 2021, so for 2020 it returns largely unchanged, save for the elimination of last year's optional uplevel engine.
The more potent of two versions of Buick's 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine (it made 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque) is gone for 2020. That leaves an older variant of that motor to power all Encore trims with its 138 hp and 148 lb-ft. It comes with either front- or all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.
With the Encore, Buick competes with a handful of other upscale subcompact utilities, including the Audi Q3, BMW's X1/X2, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and the Lexus UX. However, even with last year's 153-hp engine, the Encore gave up a significant performance edge to those European and Japanese-branded cars, and not just in straight-line power. All of those competitors are sharper handlers and more entertaining to drive overall.
U.S. news reports suggest Buick cut the optional engine because buyers weren't choosing it despite a modest $250 premium over the base motor in that country. Cost seems a more believable reason in Canada, where Buick.ca shows the more powerful engine was a $1,000 option, which offset the fuel savings promised by an auto start-stop system.
Buick offers the Encore in Preferred, Sport Touring and Essence trims.
Base equipment includes 18-inch wheels and tires, power windows, satellite radio, tire pressure monitoring, a six-way power driver's seat, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated side mirrors, air conditioning, 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, cruise control and passive keyless entry.
Sport Touring trim adds fog lights, remote engine start and a rear spoiler.
Finally, the Essence package includes LED headlights, a six-way power front passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver's seat memory, heated front seats and steering wheel, auto-dimming rear view mirror, blind spot monitoring, garage opener and rear cross traffic alert.
As of this writing, Buick hadn't published fuel consumption figures for the 2020 Encore, but we expect they'll be similar, if not identical, to those for the 2019 model, at 9.4/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway) with FWD and 9.9/8.1 with AWD.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed