3. Buick Encore – Good Things in a Small Package
Green Score: 46
Fuel economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 28
Base price range: $24,990-$31,860
Stylish and peppy, with a well-finished interior and a smooth ride, the subcompact Encore crossover
is aimed at younger buyers and empty nesters who want a smaller and more fuel efficient SUV
, but choose not to skimp on comfort and convenience. A sophisticated electronic noise cancellation system helps keep the cabin whisper quiet. Rear-seat legroom is scarce, though with the back seat folded flat it affords a spacious cargo hold. A 1.4-liter 138-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel-drive is optional, though the standard front-drive configuration should suit most buyers, and receives a higher green score. Many top-shelf features are offered including a heated steering wheel and, new for 2015, standard 4G LTE Internet connectivity that turns the car into a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot for notebook computers and other portable devices (a monthly data subscription is required, with a three month trial included).