When Buick launched the Encore in 2013, the subcompact crossover market was just beginning to explode. Indeed, one of the reasons for the explosion was the Encore. Since then, Encore has become one of Buick’s top sellers. Last year, it claimed 30 percent of the automaker’s new-car sales. Sales surged 38 percent over last year over 2014 to 67,549 vehicles. It has also had an impact on conquest sales (sales to owners of other makes) as it is bringing in more non-General Motors buyers than any other Buick nameplate, 50 percent. And, its penetration is highest among women buyers.
Since the Encore has become such an integral part of the Buick sales success story, it makes sense that the automaker wants to keep it as fresh as possible. This is why the GM division is planning a major revamp of its surprise success story for 2017. The revamp will feature a new hood and front fascia. There will also be new LED lights. And, the restyled Encore will sport the same wing-shaped grille elements that will appear on the restyled LaCrosse sedan when it is introduced this summer.
On the inside, Encore features a new console center stack. An eight-inch tablet-like touchscreen will replace the relatively small screen cluster of buttons on the current Encore. The new infotainment display will also feature an improved IntelliLink system that features Apply CarPlay and Android Auto.
At a press conference yesterday at the New York International Auto Show, Duncan Aldred, Buick chief, called Encore’s interior improvements enough to “catapult it to the front of its class.” Positive about this year’s continued success, Aldred said he expected sales to continued to climb, even though there is new competition from the Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3. He was even upbeat about Encore’s prospects when the larger Envision arrives in the summer, although there was some expectation that the bigger crossover would siphon off some sales from the subcompact.
Aldred told reporters that the revamp is making a statement. Buick is saying that “’Hey, were the segment leader and we’re going to push on from here. We’re not going to rest on our laurels.’” Indeed, he described three other important changes for Encore:
- Pushbutton start
- Keyless entry
- 4.2-inch screen – in addition to the eight-inch infotainment system – in the instrument cluster.
Encore is slated to go on sale this fall.
Automotive News provided the bulk of the information for this report.