2013 Buick Encore SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Buick Encore SUV

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Buick Encore Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 4900 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 25/33 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2013 Buick Encore

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • Thanks to its serene cabin, user-friendly high-tech features and nimble size, the 2013 Buick Encore should work well for those shopping for an upscale but still affordable small crossover SUV.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Comfortable ride; quiet interior; high fuel economy; attractive price.

  • Cons

    Tepid performance; backseat is tight for bigger folks.

  • What's New for 2013

    The Buick Encore is an all-new model for 2013.

Full 2013 Buick Encore Review

What's New for 2013

The Buick Encore is an all-new model for 2013.


Buick has successfully been revamping and expanding its vehicle lineup the past few years, but one thing missing has been a crossover SUV smaller than Buick's already quite large Enclave. For consumers, that situation finally gets addressed with the 2013 Buick Encore.

The first thing you'll likely notice about the new Encore is its petite size. At 168 inches long, the Encore is about 10 inches shorter than a Honda CR-V. This aligns with the recent industry trend of offering truly compact crossover SUVs, with other examples being the Nissan Juke, BMW's new X1 or Mini's Cooper Countryman.

Pleasingly, the Encore delivers on Buick's traditional strengths. It's impressively quiet at freeway speeds, and the suspension keeps occupants comfortable by swallowing up bumps and ruts with utter composure. You also get plenty of standard features, an elevated driving position, available all-wheel drive, an easy-to-park size and high fuel economy. The Encore's price is also quite reasonable.

On the downside, the Encore's engine, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder shared with the Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic, is underwhelming. Its 138 horsepower is outmatched by the Encore's 3,200 pounds, and that's not factoring in additional passengers or cargo you might be carrying. Not helping matters is the six-speed automatic's rush-to-the-top gear programming; it's meant to optimize fuel economy but also blunts the Encore's responsiveness.

Still, we do like the 2013 Buick Encore, and it could be a good choice for younger buyers or empty nesters. If you want more power, the BMW X1 is considerably more fun to drive, but it's also considerably more expensive. The 2013 Mini Cooper Countryman is also fun to drive and priced similarly, though rear seating is even tighter than in the Buick. The 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan would be another solid choice. As such, we suggest putting the new Encore on your test-drive list along with its rivals to help crystallize your decision.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Buick Encore is offered in four trim levels: base, Encore with the Convenience Group, Encore with the Leather Group and Encore with the Premium Group. Each is available in front- and all-wheel-drive versions.

The base Encore comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a six-way power driver seat (manual recline), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, split-folding rear seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, OnStar telematics, Buick's IntelliLink personal electronics connection system, a 7-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Stepping up to the Convenience Group adds foglights, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 120-volt power outlet and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

As you'd expect, the Leather Group adds leather upholstery, a six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and driver memory settings.

The Premium Group adds rain-sensing wipers, an upgraded seven-speaker sound system, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and a rear cargo net and mat.

Many of the upper trims' features are available as options on the lower trims. Other options, depending on trim level, include chrome wheels, a power sunroof, a navigation system and roof rack cross rails.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2013 Buick Encore models are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder with 138 hp and 148 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with a manual-shift feature is the only transmission offered.

EPA fuel economy estimates for front-wheel-drive Encores stand at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined, while those with all-wheel drive rate 23/30/26.


Standard safety features for the 2013 Buick Encore include front-seat knee airbags, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes and traction and stability control. Also included is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. Forward collision warning and lane departure warning are optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

Fit and finish throughout the Encore's cabin is generally pretty good, and well-placed soft-touch materials and splashes of wood tone and metallic accents provide a luxury vibe. Buick's standard IntelliLink system and its 7-inch control touchscreen dominate the center stack. There are a lot of buttons here, but we like the added redundancy they provide, and overall the Encore's IntelliLink is fast, reliable and easy to use as infotainment and smartphone app integration systems go.

Up front there's plenty of room all around, and the wide seats prove comfortable on long road trips. Those seats are also pleasantly high, providing a commanding view around and above traffic as well as easing entry/exit. In back, there's ample legroom even for 6-footers, though there's less rear shoulder and hip room than in most compact crossovers due to the 2013 Encore's narrower cabin.

When it comes to cargo-carrying duty, the Encore is ready, as the rear seats and the front passenger seat fold flat, allowing transport of longer (up to 8 feet) items. With all seats in place, there are 18.8 cubic feet of space. Folding the rear seats down expands that to 48.4 cubes; this is noticeably better than the Mini Countryman (42.2 cubic feet), but noticeably less than you'll get from the next-size-up compact crossovers such as the Honda CR-V, which offers a comparatively cavernous 71 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Driving Impressions

Today's Buicks drive with a sort of relaxed, composed comfort. They sail over road imperfections but do so without the bobbing and weaving we used to associate with cars wearing the Buick crest. Despite its small size, the Encore has this same sense of planted, on-road composure. In addition to its high fuel efficiency, the Encore's engine also scores points for its refinement. Cruising at high speeds, it's beyond whisper-quiet thanks to a number of "quiet-tuning" tricks, including an active sound-cancellation system by Bose.

As the Encore expectedly rides higher than a sedan or wagon, its center of gravity is likewise elevated, making it lean more when you press it into corners. Anyone who's coming into the Encore from a crossover or SUV won't notice a thing, but buyers stepping into a crossover for the first time will notice that cornering isn't quite as crisp. There's a surprising amount of grip, though, especially considering that the Encore's tires were chosen more for on-road quiet than all-out handling.

The 2013 Buick Encore's dynamic liability is its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. That engine works fine in the much lighter Sonic, but the result here is that the Encore feels slow, and not just by leadfoot standards, but by the standards of anyone who feels the need to accelerate to highway speeds. Not helping matters is the Encore's transmission programming, which races to 6th gear as quickly as possible and is reluctant to downshift.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

Engine issues

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Buick Encore Leather 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

After driving 13800 miles, in trips of 1400 to1600 miles per trip, since I purchased this SUV I can honestly say it needs more horse power for the road. Going up hills, and going into headwinds puts a definite strain on this little engine. And the more it strains the less MPG it gets. I also am concerned with the air intake design beings this car stalled out on me while driving one crappy winter day in ND. This is not a good situation for a new car to have happen to it and the passengers. Snow/moisture should not get into parts of the engine compartment where it can cause problems.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2013 Buick Encore Premium 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

on short trips at 25 below c. the heat gauge comes up to normal then when you turn the fan wide open the heat gauge goes back to cold and blows cold air on highway driving works ok dealer put new thermostat in still same problem returned to dealer who phoned gm and was told there seems to be a problem with heat has anyone else had this problem

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Nice car for the money

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Vehicle: 2013 Buick Encore Premium 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

You get a super nice car for around $30,000, if you go with the premium package like we did. We got the saddle brown leather interior, which smells and feels wonderful, and is very luxurious. We put a child seat in the back, and in doing that, you have to move the front seat up, which makes for a less than comfy ride...and I'm only 5'7"! The gadgets are well placed, and the ride is very quiet and comfortable. The car looks very elegant inside and out, and has every option you could ever want. Performance on this vehicle sucks, straight up. It is probably one of the weaker vehicles I have ever driven, and takes about 10 seconds to get to 60 mph.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

New encore, 1 month in.

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Vehicle: 2013 Buick Encore Convenience 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

So far I love my Encore, it's the perfect size, attractive and plenty of power in the city. I am not experiencing the in town mileage most are posting on here (23.5 mpg) but giving it a little break in time. No complaints so far, although I am experiencing the same thumping noise in the front end another review on here mentions, and eventually gave the car back to GM ? I highly recommend the Encore, and I get a ton of compliments on it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle, very happy

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Vehicle: 2013 Buick Encore Leather 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

After purchasing the vehicle new June 29, 2013 and logging approximately 3000 miles, I am very satisfied. After a recent trip of 2850 miles in 10 days through highways, interstates, and the back roads and mountain roads of West Virginia, I am very satisfied. From Indiana to Florida and back, the car averaged 33.2 miles per gallon running the air conditioning all of the time. I was originally concerned that it might lack power in the mountains but I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to pass on hills and the Encore was responsive to quick acceleration. The car was very comfortable. The convex blind spot mirrors take some time to get used to but I am very pleased with the vehicle.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Cute ute

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Vehicle: 2013 Buick Encore Leather 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

This is one small compact crossover. We looked at all of them and I mean all! None of them made us feel the way this little baby Buick did. Its classy, sharp, upscale and cut all in one. True its not going to win a race but it is not mean to nor was it made for that. It has plenty of punch. We only have 385 miles on it and are getting 27 in the city, not bad for an AWD that take regular. Give this vehicle a chance. Buick has touched upon an important market and we are glad they did.

Talk About The 2013 Encore

Read more about the 2013 Buick Encore

Gas Mileage


  • 25
  • cty
  • 33
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

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