The Buick Encore is a subcompact crossover utility vehicle from General Motors’ premium Buick brand, first introduced for 2013.
While a new, second-generation Buick Encore has been revealed for certain global markets, that iteration of the subcompact crossover won’t be sold Stateside. That leaves Americans with the existing first-generation model – at least for the time being. A new, larger model called the “Buick Encore GX” will join the lineup in 2020, selling alongside the pint-sized Encore, but not replacing it.
For 2020, the Buick Encore loses the more potent of its two engine options, narrowing the field to just one: a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 138 hp on tap. The second-highest Sport Touring trim also loses its dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and satellite navigation. You still get plenty of standard features, though, like 18-inch alloy wheels, acoustic laminated glass, active noise cancellation, and an 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2020 Buick Encore starts at $24,195 in the U.S., including destination, topping out at a $31,795 base price for an AWD Encore in top-spec Essence trim.
Pros/ Quiet, comfortable cabin / Quite maneuverable / Premium touches even on base model
Cons/Oddly proportioned / Underpowered engine / Small cargo space
Bottom Line/The Buick Encore is just right for frugal buyers who can't live without a premium look and feel.
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Buick Encore Pricing
The 2020 Buick Encore is available in four trims: 1SV (base), Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence. The 1SV has a starting MSRP of $24,195 in the United States, including a $995 destination fee, but all-wheel drive isn’t available on that trim. For that, one has to step up to a higher-spec model, where it’s a $1,500 option.
The Buick Encore Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence start at $25,595, $26,795, and $30,295, respectively, including destination. Step up to an AWD Encore Essence and you can expect an MSRP of at least $31,795. Check every extra-cost box and the MSRP swells to $38,260 before discounts and incentives, including a $1,095 White Frost Tricoat paint job. Ouch.
Buick Encore Features
The Buick Encore is loaded with features from even the base trim level. This includes active noise cancellation and Buick’s exclusive QuietTuning technology, which uses acoustic laminated glass and other measures to drastically cut unwanted cabin noise. An 8-inch touchscreen with Buick’s infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is also standard.
At the top of the trim hierarchy, you get such goodies as leather seat upholstery, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, heated driver’s and front passenger’s seats, heated steering, driver’s seat memory settings, and LED headlamps. The top-spec model also gets access to an available power moonroof, satellite navigation, rain-sensing wipers, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, and park assist.
Buick Encore vs Honda HR-V
Next to the Buick Encore, the Honda HR-V has a distinct advantage when it comes to price: it isn’t a premium vehicle. The Honda’s 141 hp 1.8-liter engine peaks at about the same level of output as the Buick’s turbocharged 1.4-liter, but delivers better fuel economy—up to 30 mpg combined vs. 27 for the Buick—thanks in part to an available continuously variable transmission.
Where the Buick shines, however, is in its upscale look and feel; inside the cabin, the Encore is a nicer place to be.
Buick Encore vs Jeep Renegade
Like any Jeep, the Renegade demonstrates rugged, outdoorsy sensibilities not found in its more pedestrian counterparts. Yet apart from its trail-crawling acumen, the Renegade isn’t really any more versatile than the Buick Encore; the two offer nearly identical cargo space behind the rear seats, and the Jeep has only a slight edge with them folded.
What’s more, one has to step up to one of the higher Renegade trims to get any of the good equipment, by which point it’s very nearly as expensive as the priciest of Encores.
Buick Encore vs Nissan Rogue Sport
The Nissan Rogue Sport feels decidedly polished and upscale for a volume model from a non-premium brand, but that level of polish costs money, and the Rogue Sport starts at $23,385 – just $810 less than the more posh Encore.
If there’s one area where the Nissan makes up for it, though, it’s with standard features; even the base model gets automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. All those features require ascending high up on the trim hierarchy with the Buick Encore.
2017 Buick Encore Reveal Video
|Engine /||1.4L turbo 4-cyl|
|Horsepower (hp) /||138|
|Torque (lb-ft) /||148|
|Transmission /||6-speed automatic|
|Drivetrain /||Front-wheel drive / All-wheel drive|
Our Final Verdict
Despite undergoing very little change since its introduction for 2013, the Buick Encore continues to gain ground year-by-year in the U.S. market. There’s a very good reason for this: utility vehicle sales in general are on the rise, and the Encore is exemplary of Buick’s penchant for offering comfortable, upscale vehicles at less-than-premium prices.
It’s a shame that the redesigned Buick Encore launching in China and other global markets won’t make its way to the U.S., but in truth, the American market doesn’t need it just yet; sales this year are on pace to surpass 2018’s figures, and the new Encore GX ought to provide enough variety that Buick customers don’t get restless and drift to a competitor’s showroom.3.5