Refreshed Models Follow Chevy Camaro ZL1 Thunder

A refreshed ’17 Buick Encore moves in as the headliner for GM in the Big Apple.

James M. Amend, Senior Editor

March 22, 2016

4 Min Read
Buick Encore interior revamped for rsquo17
Buick Encore interior revamped for ’17.

After uncorking its No.1 premiere for this week’s New York auto show by unveiling the ’17 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 last week, General Motors will pull the cover off a handful of tweaked models to keep its four brand displays bubbling with media and new-car shoppers.

A refreshed ’17 Buick Encore moves in as the headliner for GM in the Big Apple with an offsite unveiling today by Buick-GMC sales, service and marketing chief Duncan Aldred.

The Bupyeong, Korea-built Encore, introduced to the U.S. market three years ago just ahead of the compact-CUV frenzy and Buick’s best-selling model, receives a restyled front end, premium updates to its interior and an upgraded infotainment unit compatible with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto. The CUV’s infotainment system also receives an 8-in. (20 cm) color touchscreen.

“The Buick Encore created the premium small (CUV) segment and remains the top choice for customers seeking premium features and dependability coupled with timeless design,” Aldred says in a statement ahead of the Encore’s introduction at an avant-garde ballet studio in Lower Manhattan.

“In a rapidly evolving segment, the Encore continues to lead with smart, purposeful updates and a new level of technology-infused elegance and refinement,” he says.

GM also tweaks the horsepower and torque of the Encore’s 1.4L turbocharged Ecotec 4-cyl. engine for some ’17 trim levels, although output details were not immediately available.

The aggressive refresh comes relatively soon for the Encore, driven by heightened competition in a Small CUV segment now boasting 16 entries and annual sales of 759,106 units, according to WardsAuto data. Demand for the pint-sized utilities last year soared 56.6% beyond 2014. The segment is on pace this year to eclipse 2015 by just over 17,000 units.

The Encore sat among the head of the class as the No.3 seller in the segment last year on 67,549 deliveries for an 8.9% share. The Jeep Patriot was the runaway leader in 2015 with 118,646 copies sold. So far this year, the Patriot has sold a segment-leading 18,910 units and the Encore has dropped to No.6 with 10,793 deliveries through February, stung by newer entries such as the Subaru XV Crosstrek, Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V.

The new Encore comes in the fall, when GM also will release pricing and EPA estimates of fuel economy for the updated 4-cyl.

GM also will show in New York the ’17 Chevy Sonic sedan and hatchback. The compact car adds new comfort and convenience features, such as an available heated steering wheel, a standard 7-in. (18-cm) diagonal color touchscreen for its MyLink infotainment system, as well as rear-park assist active safety. New wheels and colors also are available.

“The new styling and features of the 2017 Sonic reinforce its positon as a fun, efficient small car with leading technology,” says Steve Majoros, directing-marketing for Chevy cars and CUVs.

“This is an important segment for Chevrolet, as we really have an opportunity to introduce ourselves to new buyers and show them what we’re all about,” he says in a statement ahead of the car’s public reveal.

More than 20% of Sonic buyers are under 35 years old, GM says, and nearly 30% trade in a non-GM vehicle to make it the brand’s top pick for first-time new buyers.

Sonic sales plunged 30.7% last year to 64,775 from 93,518 in a Small Car segment that retreated 1.3%.

The Sonic will arrive at Chevy dealers from GM’s Orion Twp., MI, assembly plant in both body styles in the fall. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.

GMC will show the ’17 Terrain Nightfall Edition, a stylized special-edition model of the popular 5-passenger CUV.

The edgy Terrain Nightfall, yet another pre-packaged personalization play from GMC, receives 18-in. forged aluminum wheels with gloss-black spokes and a charcoal grille with a gloss black surround and accents. Gloss-black accents also adorn the front and rear fascia, the rear license plate surround and trim the outside mirrors and luggage rails.

The Nightfall package will be offered on SLE-2 and SLT trim levels with four color options: Summit White, Onyx Black, Graphite Gray Metallic and Crimson Red. It goes on sale this fall. Pricing on the Ingersoll, ON, Canada-built CUV will be announced closer to launch.

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