One of the quieter introductions at the Detroit Auto Show was Buick's new mini-crossover, the Encore. It's not an enthusiast vehicle, but it is an interesting take on Buick's ongoing effort to break its reputation as a brand for "the olds."
The most iconoclastic thing about the Encore is its size. This is the smallest vehicle Buick has sold in a very long time.
The overall length is 168.5 inches, a full fifteen inches shorter than the Verano. The wheelbase is 100.6 inches. The curb weight for the FWD version is 3,190 lbs.; the AWD system adds about 120. That said, cargo space is still respectable: 18.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up, 48.4 when they're folded flat. By any modern standards, this would be a small crossover. But for Buick, it's a radical departure from old-new-school barges like the recently discontinued Lucerne or the four-year-old Enclave.
Within that diminutive shell? State-of-the-moment GM.
The platform is shared with Opel's upcoming Mokka: MacPherson strut front suspension, torsion beam rear, four-wheel discs. Power is from the 1.4 liter Ecotec turbo-4, spun through a Hydra-Matic six-speed to either the front or all four wheels. All the normally expected modern safety and convenience items are there.
Basically, it's a real baby Buick. It's just such a shame that this is the best of what Buick's got here in the U.S.