Stylish, well-appointed and capable with loads of upscale character, the 2015 Buick Encore reprises its role as the 5-Year Cost to Own winner in our Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover category. Available in four trims and front- or all-wheel drive, the Encore offers room for five and a healthy 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space with its 60/40-split rear seat folded. While the base Encore starts just under $25,000 and the range-topping Premium opens closer to $32,000, the KBB Fair Purchase Price is roughly $1,000 below those figures across the entire range, which makes them even more appealing.
Inside, the Encore has a quality look and feel duly complemented by Buick's signature QuietTuning package that includes additional insulation and focused changes to its well-tuned suspension that better isolate the passenger compartment along with Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology. All Encore variants also feature a Buick IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen as well as new OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
Stepping up through the Encore's Convenience, Leather and Premium grades adds even more standards/options ranging from GPS navigation and Bose audio to forward collision alert and lane departure warning. Efficient motivation for all Encores comes from a 138-horsepower/1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec 4-cylinder engine backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission -- a combo that earns impressive 25/33-mpg EPA city/highway stats on front-drive models.
In a talent-rich segment, Buick's Encore continues to burnish its reputation, delivering solid value up front as well as in the long run.
Unchanged for 2015, the Acura RDX remains a solid performer that features a standard V6 engine in both front- and all-wheel drive configurations.
With an emphasis on sport but still offering plenty of real utility, the BMW X3 introduces rear-wheel drive and adds a new turbodiesel option for 2015.
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