Eager to increase its presence in the lucrative compact crossover segment, Buick has added a new trim level called Sport Touring to the Encore lineup for the 2016 model year.
The Sport Touring model stands out from the run-of-the-mill Encore thanks to an all-new 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that uses both a small turbocharger and direct fuel-injection to make 153 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque, increases of about 11 and 20 percent, respectively, over the stock encore’s 1.4-liter turbo four.
The chain-driven engine will power a long list of Opels on the other side of the Atlantic, including the all-new Golf-fighting Astra hatchback, and it could also find its way under the hood of other Buick and Chevrolet models in the coming months. Built largely out of aluminum, it features a steel crankshaft that reduces vibrations, a variable-flow oiling system that automatically adjusts the amount of oil supplied by the pump, and tiny oil jets designed to cool the pistons.
A standard start/stop system keeps the turbo four’s fuel economy in check, but official figures have not been published yet. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, and a weather-beating all-wheel drive system can be ordered at an extra cost.
Visually, the encore Sport Touring gains a small roof-mounted spoiler, fog lights up front, body-colored door handles, and 18-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels wrapped by Continental tires. The interior has been spruced up with a 120-volt power outlet, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone A/C, and a remote starter, while the list of safety-focused upgrades including features like Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
The 2016 Buick Encore Sport Touring will go on sale across the nation this fall. How much of a premium it will carry over the standard Encore has not been announced yet.