The 2016 Buick Encore lineup, at last, has dropped those obnoxious “1XX’ numeric/alpha model ID’s in favor of a more conventional protocol that tells us what each trim’s key attributes are. Across five trim levels, each Encore model is available in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive (FWD and AWD) and progressively adds standard equipment and varying packages using a standard power train and single 18-inch wheel-size platform.
As we have commented about earlier model years we have driven, Encore continues to feature great driving and handling characteristics with the premium ambiance, room and ride characteristics of a Buick – and does it all in a compact platform that drives bigger than it looks and is not overpriced. Now they have added more gusto.
Getting our attention in the 2016 lineup is the Encore Sport Touring – a new trim level with distinctive styling cues and powered by an exclusive version of the standard engine enhanced to produce more gusto (horsepower and torque) and, with all-wheel drive, performs even better than we had expected. In fact, a lot better.
The 2016 Encore lineup starts with Encore (basic) and moves to Encore Convenience (with added convenience features), Encore Sport Touring (with more performance and value) , Encore Leather (leather interior) and Encore Premium (with still more added features including premium Bose seven-speaker audio).
Pricing for the Encore lineup starts a MSRP $24,990 for a FWD Encore and runs up to MSRP $30,710 for the Encore Premium. AWD for all trim levels is another $1,500.
All-New Encore Sport Touring
We recently spent a week in a 2016 Buick Encore Sport AWD to see what this new model was all about.
The all-new Encore Sport Touring is a more powerful take on the popular crossover starting right under the hood. Driven by an exclusive, all-new 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine featuring direct injection and stop/start technology, it is also distinguished by some unique exterior cues and its spirited driving character.
The enhanced power plant (only in the Sport Touring) produces 11-percent more horsepower and 20 percent more torque than the standard Encore engine. With some other tweaks to the power train, including the stop/start technology in the AWD – it increases highway fuel economy from 30 to 32 mpg with a combined increase from 26 to 29 mpg.
The Encore Sport includes unique exterior cues that include a winged rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum premium- finish wheels, and body-color door handles. Some of the standard features of note include the unique Blue-accented halogen composite projector-beam headlamps, heated outside mirrors with signal lights, electric power steering, four-wheel disc brakes and StabiliTrak Stability Control with Traction Control.
A Convenience Package that includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert, remote vehicle starter, electrochromic inside rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, 120-volt outlet, and fog lamps also comes on the Encore Sport.
Encore Sport Touring AWD test vehicle
Our 2016 Encore Sport Touring AWD came in White Pearl Tricoat with a Titanium interior featuring premium cloth with leatherette trimmed seating.
Some of the other attributes of our test Encore included automatic headlamps, Tire Pressure Monitor System, Rear Vision Camera, Driver 6-way Power Seat with manual recline, Front Passenger Seat Manual Adjust with Recline plus under seat storage and fold flat for additional cargo capacity, Rear 60/40 fold flat bench seat, Cargo Cover, Cruise Control, Driver Information Center and Tilt and Telescopic Steering Wheel with audio and information center controls.
We would be remiss to not mention the Buick Quiet Tuning in our Encore. Buick has put as much effort into making their smallest vehicle luxury level quiet as they have in their biggest and it is noticeable by what you do not hear in the cabin – just like a big Buick.
Connectivity for the Encore Sport is provided by the Buick Intellilink 6-speaker Audio System using a 7-inch Color Display with a USB port and input jack. Features include AM/FM/SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar with Automatic Crash Response and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot. A Bose Premium 7-speaker audio is available for another $595, but we feel the standard unit in the Encore Sport performs well enough.
Optional items included on our test Encore included the White Pearl Tricoat ($900), Power Moonroof ($900) and upgrade of the Intellilink audio system to include Navigation ($495).
Our 2016 Buick Encore AWD Sport Touring, with delivery, priced at $32,165.
Encore Sport Adventure Accessoires
If you are driving an Encore AWD Sport Touring, you want to be able to bring along everything you and your friends need for everyday (and longer) adventure, so equipping your Sport with some of the Encore accessory items available directly from a dealer makes practical sense.
The Encore Sport comes with Roof Rack and Side Rails. You should then add – installed by the dealer – the Encore Roof Rack Cross Rails that will serve as the base for other devices ($245).
For carrying your bicycles, Encore offers a Roof-Mounted Carrier ($199) to start. If you are saving the Roof Rack base system for other devices, there is a Hitch-Mounted Bicycle Carrier you can install ($269). If the snow is flying, select the Roof-Mounted Ski Carrier ($214) and in the spring and summer select from four types of Watersport Carriers that will handle canoes, kayaks and paddle/surf boards ($119 – $189).
When on a longer adventure that requires bringing along more personal or general recreational items, you can choose from a Roof-Mounted Luggage Basket ($309), Force L Luggage Carrier ($449) or a Sonic XL Luggage Carrier ($649).