The Encore may be on the petite side, but it packs in most of GM's latest safety technologies, including ten airbags, stability control, and a standard rearview camera and standard Bluetooth connectivity.
The combination of mandatory and market-driven safety gear should prove itself out when the Encore undergoes crash tests. But as of yet, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has put the compact five-door through its regimen.
Aside from those standard features, the Encore can be optioned up with more layers of protection, some valuable more in slushy states (all-wheel drive, for $1,500) and some more valuable in urban forays. That'd be the camera-based lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, which keep a radar eye on the road ahead, and beep at you if you cross the pavement lines or if you're approaching the vehicle ahead too quickly. The downfall of some of these systems is too frequent alerts: aside from a stray beep at rapidly rising roads and a lack of warnings over faded double-yellow stripes, the Encore's setup wasn't so annoying that we'd avoid the features bundled with it (parking sensors and Bose audio).
The Encore also includes OnStar, with six months' worth of Directions and Connections service, and access to a mobile app that enables destination programming, remote start, and other convenient features. It has semi-spooky ones, too, like the ability to track family members in the car, on an opt-in basis. One day, we hope, it'll start the car and pre-set all the radio stations back to our favorites--as far away from the smooth-jazz band as possible.
Visibility to the front is excellent, but the Encore's very size puts its wide door pillars right in the blind spot, making it very tough to see passing vehicles on the lane to the left. The rear hatch glass is pretty small, too.