While it’s certainly a radical departure from Buick’s long history of building large luxury sedans, look a little closer and you’ll find the 2021 Buick Encore subcompact SUV still embodies many of the elements this brand is known for. Indeed, it manages to retain much of its essential Buick-ness by virtue of its hushed cabin with near-luxury trappings and a long list of available upscale features, including a heated steering wheel and a built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.
The 2021 Buick Encore is powered by one of two turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engines. The new Sport Touring model gets a beefed-up version that produces 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. All other Encore trim levels feature a variant that puts out 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. All Encore models are offered with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
The base Encore comes standard with 18-inch painted alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a six-way power driver seat (manual recline), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, split-folding rear seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat, OnStar telematics and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Also included is Buick’s IntelliLink control interface, which features a 7-inch touchscreen and integrated smartphone apps.
Stepping up to the Convenience adds foglights, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 120-volt power outlet and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
As you’d expect, the Leather trim level adds leather upholstery for the front seats, a driver seat with power-adjustable lumbar support, a six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and driver memory settings.
The Premium adds rain-sensing wipers, an upgraded Bose seven-speaker sound system, front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, and a rear cargo net and mat.
The cargo net/mat is optional on all the lower trims, while the Bose audio is also available on the Convenience and Leather trim levels. Other options, depending on trim level, include chrome wheels, a power sunroof, a navigation system and roof rack cross rails.