"Is the Buick Encore underpowered?"
No, it is not underpowered. We would say it is adequately powered by its 138-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, which is shared with the
. In person, the Encore is much smaller than pictures may indicate.
Acceleration isn't neck-snapping, but the turbo 1.4-liter delivers power smoothly and without undue delay. Peak torque comes at 1,850 rpm — an engine speed many drivers will encounter in a variety of everyday driving situations. That means when you need passing power, it's available and arrives promptly without having to mash the gas pedal to the floor.
Despite its modest overall length of 168.4 inches — more than a foot shorter than the compact Cruze sedan the Encore isn't in the featherweight class. Base curb weight is 3,190 pounds, and a top-shelf Premium model with all-wheel drive weighs 3,309 pounds. That's about 150 pounds more than a Cruze LTZ (the heaviest in that lineup), so acceleration won't be as brisk.
Even so, you shouldn't feel like a laggard in the Encore, which is competitive in acceleration with many smaller SUVs.