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Subcompact SUVs combine all-wheel drive, cargo flexibility, and elevated seating with the size, fuel economy, and affordability of smaller vehicles. In short, they offer the best of both worlds. All-wheel drive and increased ground clearance mean you can handle bad weather and roads with ease, and the smaller size of a subcompact SUV doesn't restrict the available cargo space either. Arguably the best subcompact SUV on the market today is the 2021 Buick Encore.
This vehicle is a classic, seeing only mild to moderate changes since its initial release in 2013. Extra cargo capacity was one of the first changes, followed by a new design for the LED lights on the exterior to offer a more modern and streamlined look to the vehicle. Both of these changes have been carried forward unchanged since their introduction to the 2021 Buick Encore. This lack of major overhaul shows that the Encore delivers exactly what buyers need and has been doing so ever since its initial release. Even better, this subcompact SUV is one of the most affordable vehicles in its segment.
The 2021 Buick Encore is the smallest and least-expensive crossover SUV offered by Buick, starting at just over $23,000 for the basic package. It is an upscale design that comes very close to competing with other luxury SUVs on the market. The Encore's interior isn't quite as roomy as some other vehicles, but it still offers a luxury feel with jewel-tone backlighting and smooth leather interior. There are two trims offered for the 2021 Buick Encore: the Base and the Preferred. But with only $600 separating the two in price, there are few reasons not to get the top trim.
The 2021 Buick Encore comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and either front or all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is standard on both trims, while the Preferred trim offers all-wheel drive as an option. With 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, the 2021 Buick Encore has enough power to manage a 0-60 time of around eight seconds. Sound deadening for the interior offers a quiet ride for the driver and passengers even as the engine picks up.
Active on-demand all-wheel drive will sense possible wheel slip and divert power to the tires that have the best traction. When not needed, the 2021 Buick Encore reverts to front-wheel drive to maintain fuel economy. This allows the all-wheel drive version to achieve a combined fuel economy of 26 MPG - only 1 MPG less than the front-wheel drive version. All in all, the 2021 Buick Encore offers a capable engine that trades some of the power you will find in a full-size SUV for greater efficiency.
Of course, the 2021 Buick Encore is not a full-sized SUV. As a subcompact, this vehicle offers good levels of control on top of a smooth ride. The subcompact has better handling than larger heavy-duty SUV models. Elevated seats keep the driver and all passengers well aware of their surroundings while driving. The lessened cargo space of a full-sized SUV is exchanged for higher safety features that all do their job very well.
The 2021 Buick Encore has also received good reviews in many collision tests and carries an overall five-star rating from the NHTSA. The lowest score the vehicle received in any part of the NHTSA tests was a four-star rollover rating, which is typical for taller SUVs. Frontal and side crash test ratings are both five stars, ensuring that everyone will stay as safe as possible in any collision from any direction. The Encore also benefits from typical Buick build quality and has proven to be a remarkably well-constructed vehicle for its class.
The 2021 Buick Encore measures roughly 168 inches in length, making it smaller than some hatchbacks. This can be helpful for any drivers who often find themselves searching for parking spaces in the busy city or who have small garages at home. But Buick manages to pack this subcompact SUV with a wide variety of features, including ten airbags positioned throughout the vehicle. The Encore's exterior offers a sleek appearance with chrome accents and optional two-tone exterior color. It also has chrome cargo rails on the roof, offering more storage space for everything from skis to surfboards.
Exterior safety features include daytime running lights as well as dusk sensing headlamps, standard in most modern models. The 2021 Buick Encore also has stability control and emergency braking assist. Traction control and tire pressure monitoring combine with four-wheel disc brakes to ensure a safe ride in all conditions. The suspension does a stellar job at smoothing out rough terrain for a smooth and silent ride. This is further assisted by the Buick QuietTuning noise-canceling technology that allows you to listen to music or have conversations without being interrupted by road noise.
The Preferred trim opens up even more options on the 2021 Buick Encore, including all-wheel drive and two different safety packages. The first safety package incorporates blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the second safety package offers rain-sensing wipers, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and front and rear parking sensors. The Preferred trim also opens up options for a wider variety of exterior colors, while the base trim only comes in Summit White. Since the price difference between the two trims of the 2021 Buick Encore is only around $600, upgrading to the Preferred trim is the obvious choice.
Priced at just over $23,000 for the basic style, the 2021 Buick Encore delivers luxury and power in a small package. It has a quiet interior when driving at highway speeds, and its size offers easy maneuverability. High seating in front offers comfort and visibility to the driver, while the rear seats fold down to provide 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space - enough space for twenty pieces of carry-on luggage. Keyless entry with push-button start is standard on both the Base and Preferred trims. The Encore also offers a flush-mounted infotainment touchscreen.
The 2021 Buick Encore has a roomy interior from the driver's seat with no center armrest between driver and passenger, offering an open feel from the front seat. The interior trim and materials provide a premium feel, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Soft-touch sections on the dashboard offer a more luxurious atmosphere from the front seat. The available power moonroof completes the package, letting in natural light and fresh air at the touch of a button. While it may be small, the 2021 Buick Encore offers all of the luxury features you would expect of a Buick design.
Robust infotainment features are expected of a modern vehicle, and the 2021 Buick Encore does not disappoint. The SUV comes standard with a large eight-inch touch screen and includes smartphone integration through both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other valuable infotainment features include SiriusXM satellite radio and Siri EyesFree. When you are driving a 2021 Buick Encore, you will always have plenty of entertainment literally at your fingertips.
The 2021 Buick Encore also offers plenty of advanced safety features. These include passenger airbags with occupant sensing deactivation, front and rear head and side-mounted airbags, and child anchors in the backseat. Combined with the three-point seatbelt in the rear center seat and the rear door child safety locks, the 2021 Buick Encore is an excellent vehicle for families.
In addition to the standard passive safety measures, this SUV can be optioned with advanced driver-assist technologies from forward collision alert to rear park assist. The available blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warnings are particularly valuable features that will alert you to any vehicles hiding in your blind spots. There is even a lane departure warning to get your attention if you begin drifting out of your lane.