Staying afloat in a sea of compact SUVs
There was ease of mind. I did not worry about where I would park it in the city, or how. Small size is worth that convenience, especially in something regarded as a sport-utility vehicle.
To me, it’s a little station wagon. But few people use that term or know what it means anymore.
Few of them really know what an SUV is, either. Put it this way: If your mind is bent by current automotive marketing, you’ll get in trouble in the off-road wild in this one, the 2017 Buick Encore Premium All-Wheel Drive. It is designed and engineered for heavy rain and moderate snow. It is not meant for truly off-road rough stuff.
If you are willing to accept that reality, you can prepare to be reasonably happy. The Encore, on sale since 2015 as a 2016 model, has received cosmetic and technological updates for 2017. It is a pretty little vehicle, as quiet as most modern Buicks.
But this little Buick is swimming in a sea of aggressive compact SUV competitors from every country producing cars and trucks across the globe, supplied by every automotive parts company selling automotive parts worldwide, bought practically everywhere.
Competitors include (from the same General Motors that produces Buicks) the quite likable Chevrolet Equinox. Throw in the equally appealing Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-5 and CX-3, and the Fiat 500X — not to mention all of the worthy and affordable rivals from South Korea.
I mention all of the foreign rivals because I get annoyed by the Trump administration’s sophomoric nonsense about “keeping automotive jobs in America.”
You want to keep those jobs here? Do what GM and Ford finally have decided to do. Design and build cars and trucks that Americans and everyone else want to buy. It’s the “free market” that the president and pals constantly are ranting about.
Certainly, that is what GM is trying to do with the Encore. It speaks to a universal automotive consumer need — likable, sustainable size.
In Japan in many cases, if you don’t have some legal space to park your car, you don’t buy it. In Italy, some streets are so narrow, it is much better to own a motorcycle. Try to drive downtown in London in the morning rush hour? Ha! It makes a morning Interstate 66 East commute from Northern Virginia to the District of Columbia seem almost pleasant.
So, yes, I welcome Buick’s little Encore. It is quiet, loaded with all available advanced electronic safety equipment. It has a turbocharged 1.4liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine (138 horsepower, 177 pound-feet of torque). That will get you where you’re going for most of the places I’ve driven in the United States.
Ahem: Be aware that during this Memorial Day weekend in our lovely country, when law enforcement officers are on high alert, that too much engine power easily could lead to a traffic ticket anywhere you go.
The little Buick Encore is a nice car. Enjoy the ride. Drive responsibly.
The Encore speaks to a universal automotive consumer need — likable, sustainable size.