2016 Buick Encore Review

Pros & Cons

  • Quiet interior
  • top crash scores
  • good fuel economy
  • long list of tech and safety features.
  • Tepid performance
  • small size limits interior room and cargo space.
Other years
List Price Range
$9,995 - $18,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Thanks to its quiet cabin, user-friendly technology features and truly compact size, the 2016 Buick Encore is worth a look if other crossover SUVs seem too large. However, the Encore's modest performance and interior space limit its appeal.

Vehicle overview

While it's certainly a radical departure from Buick's long history of building large luxury sedans, look a little closer and you'll find the 2016 Buick Encore subcompact SUV still embodies many of the elements this brand is known for. Indeed, it manages to retain much of its essential Buick-ness by virtue of its hushed cabin with near-luxury trappings and a long list of available upscale features, including a heated steering wheel and a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

New this year is the Sport Touring model with a version of the standard turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that puts out an additional 15 horsepower and 29 pound-feet of torque. It's a welcome upgrade, which should make for livelier acceleration. Unfortunately, the regular turbo 1.4-liter engine is still used on the remaining Encore trim levels. No matter the trim, though, the Encore's small size makes for impressive maneuverability when it comes time to negotiate crowded streets or fit into a tight parking space. Other strengths include impressive fuel economy numbers and top crash-test scores.

Of course, many buyers may still be put off by the Encore's snug interior, including a noticeably cramped back seat and cargo room easily bested by larger crossovers such as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 or Buick's own Envision. And if interior room isn't a problem, there's also an insurgence of new, similarly subcompact competitors for 2016 to consider, each of which can offer superior interior space, driving dynamics or style. Popular choices include the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Fiat 500X.

We think each of these is ultimately stronger than the Encore for more shoppers, but its inherent Buick-ness nevertheless maintains its appeal for those looking for a quiet and comfortable means of getting around with a dollop of luxury and an elevated driving position.

2016 Buick Encore models

The 2016 Buick Encore is a compact-crossover SUV offered in five trim levels: Base, Convenience, Sport Touring, Leather, and Premium.

The base Encore comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, roof rails, rear privacy glass, air conditioning, cruise control, cloth and simulated leather upholstery, a six-way power driver's seat (with manual recline and power lumbar), a fold-flat manual front passenger seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a cargo cover.

Also included are OnStar emergency communications, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port, a media player interface, and an auxiliary audio jack. Buick's IntelliLink electronics interface, which features a 7-inch display screen, is standard as well.

Stepping up to the Convenience model adds foglights, a blind-spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a 120-volt household-style power outlet.

The new-for-2016 Sport Touring version starts with all of the above Convenience package goodies and adds a more powerful four-cylinder engine and unique exterior styling cues.

To the Convenience model's equipment, the Leather trim level obviously adds leather upholstery along with a six-way power passenger seat (with manual recline and power lumbar), heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and driver-seat memory functions.

The Premium model gets the Leather trim equipment plus front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, automatic wipers, and a seven-speaker Bose sound system (optional on all but the base model).

The Leather and the Premium are available with the Experience Buick package, which adds 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, a sunroof and a navigation system. The latter two items are available separately on all but the base model.

2016 Highlights

New for 2016 is the Encore Sport Touring model with a more powerful 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 153 horsepower.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Buick Encore is powered by one of two turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engines. The new Sport Touring model gets a beefed-up version that produces 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. All other Encore trim levels feature a variant that puts out 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. All Encore models are offered with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

The Encore's EPA fuel economy estimates for the base engine output stand at 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) with front-wheel drive and 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) with all-wheel drive. The Sport Touring figures were not specified at the time of this writing, but logically, they would be lower.

In Edmunds performance testing, a front-wheel-drive Encore accelerated to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds, which is slower than most other crossovers in this price range.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2016 Buick Encore include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front knee airbags, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Also included is OnStar, which provides automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.

A blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on Convenience and higher trim levels, while forward collision and lane-departure warning systems are standard on the Encore Premium.

In government crash tests the Encore received a perfect five-star rating for overall crash protection, frontal protection and side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Encore the highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap front-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

In Edmunds testing, a front-drive Encore stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for this class.

Driving

Driving the 2016 Buick Encore is an experience very much in line with what you'd expect from Buick. The cabin is extremely quiet for the segment with extensive sound-deadening materials and active noise-cancelling technology. The suspension is also tuned to favor comfort over handling, and so not surprisingly it soaks up most bumps with little drama. The short wheelbase does mean the ride can get choppy over freeway expansion joints, however.

On the handling front, the Encore feels confident if not particularly sporty, a setup we suspect will suit most buyers just fine. On the upside, the combination of this little SUV's small size and tight turning radius give it a nimble feel larger compact SUVs can't match (but that is nevertheless very much matched or bettered by its subcompact SUV rivals). We've found the standard 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to be rather anemic, even within its less-than-athletic segment, which makes the new, more powerful version found in the Sport Touring an appealing addition to the lineup.

Interior

The 2016 Buick Encore features comfortable front seats and a high seating position that offers a commanding view of the road. In back, the seats offer enough head- and legroom for 6-footers but there's no denying that it's a tight fit for both adults and rear-facing child seats. The interior layout includes a number of storage cubbies, including a drawer under the front passenger seat of cloth-upholstered models that's useful for stashing valuables you'd rather not leave out in plain sight.

As for the surroundings, the Encore's passenger cabin can have a high-end atmosphere accented by soft-touch materials and handsome simulated wood and metal trim (we say "can" because certain trim levels and color schemes look much better than others). Aside from a smattering of similar-looking buttons, controls are fairly intuitive and easy to access. A high point is the large 7-inch center touchscreen for the IntelliLink infotainment system. The system is also fairly easy to use, though it can occasionally be slow to respond (and unlike other GM models, it was not updated for 2016 to address that shortcoming).

The interior also comes up short in the cargo-carrying department, with 18.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 48.4 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded down. Those numbers are similar to subcompact SUV competitors, but fall far short of more popular compact crossovers like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V. The Encore's standard fold-flat front passenger seat at least gives the interior added flexibility.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Buick Encore.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

The best short term lease subcompact crossover!
Sanjay,03/05/2016
4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I've leased the electric blue base model of this car after test driving Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X and Honda HRV. I wanted a compact car where I can sit slightly above the road and getting in and out would be easy on my lower back. I am a recent graduate and due to less credit history, most dealers rejected lease but the folks at Buick were great - they offered a 2-year lease at a decent price. The car is extremely comfortable and the driver seat comes with electronic adjustments and excellent lumbar support. I cannot find words to stress on how comfortable the driving experience is! It's interiors are great for a base model with leather accented seats, generously sized dashboard buttons and good leg room in rear seats. It also has OnStar care and satellite radio. It's modestly powered by a 1.4L turbo engine which does the job for a FWD. Major concerns about this car is external noise, horrendous bluetooth music playback(the rep told me that bluetooth is for voice only) and flat, muffled sounding speakers.Due to the external noise, i need to turn up the music volume and the speakers just sound bad (remember, this is a base model without the Bose active noise-cancellation setup). Music playback via AUX, radio and CD sound better. I didn't realize that the speakers were bad during the test drive but I've leased it for 2 years only. Overall, I highly recommend this car in the subcompact crossover segment if you're not too particular about brands or you don't mind a less sporty car. This car scores over all others for driving comfort which mattered the most. If you're thinking about leasing this for 2-3 years, i'd say it is a definite go, but get the higher end model with sunroof and bose speakers as it's so much more fun and exciting to step into your car!
We grew out of this
Okiepro,06/01/2018
Convenience 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
As our three grandkids have grown, the vehicle has gotten too small. Moved up to a bigger SUV. This is a small but comfortable SUV. Lots of of front legroom. I've never had a vehicle that I didn't have to move the seat all the way back. Carries grandkids and groceries with ease. Nimble and responsive... fun to drive. After almost two years, no repairs needed and no squeaks or creaks. My grown sons can even get comfortable in the back seat.
Perfect car for a retired lady who likes luxury!
Marie,02/07/2016
4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I love Buicks because, if you get a premium model, you get all the extras including heated steering wheel and remote start which are add ons in other cars. I was intending to buy a Buick Regal, but was unhappy with the lack of visibility in my previous Buick sedan. The salesman suggested I test drive an Encore as well as the Regal. I loved the Encore! The visibility was much better, I enjoyed sitting higher up, and it was easier to park. Granted the trunk is rather small and there probably isn't much leg room in the back seat, but I rarely have a rear seat passenger, so that is fine. Also important to me is that it has OnStar with Turn by Turn navigation and hands-free calling. This is a perfect vehicle for a retired lady who enjoys a certain amount of luxury in her car. Now that summer is here, I'm finding the air conditioning very comfortable and responsive. There is no cold air blowing on my hands. When I turn the temp higher or lower, I feel the difference immediately. I now have had my car 13 months. I do miss the large trunk I had in previous cars. I often end up putting things in the back seat because they do not fit in the trunk. Also I find that I hear quite a bit of road noise when driving. I often have to turn up the radio because of the road noise. When I drive through a puddle, there is a loud roaring sound. The first time I heard it I thought my tire was falling off or something. These are things I can live with and the overall good looks and easy handling of the vehicle balance them out. I did have one huge disappointment. A few months ago I drove over a pothole at the side of the road and ended up with a dented rim. In nearly sixty years of driving I have never before had a dented rim. Then I found out that, because rims these days are made of an aluminum alloy rather than steel, it could not be repaired. I ended up paying $500 to replace the wheel. This was not covered by the warranty. This failing of materials used in the wheels I cannot accept. This is wrong!
A Great Buy!
Sam Fam,07/07/2016
Sport Touring 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
After owning Hondas and Toyotas for several years, I thought buying my new car would be a breeze as the new Honda Accord looks beautiful. However, for safety reasons I did not want a car with "Push Button Start/Stop" or electronic parking brake. So my choices narrowed down to a few models. However, test drive of the Honda Accord was a complete disappointment because of the cheap materials used inside for everything including side panels, fabric etc. Plus the car was extremely noisy which I never expected. So I started research on all the other cars available out there that look beautiful, have a reliable history, used quality materials, and satisfy my requirements I mentioned earlier. Based on photos and reviews, I kept coming back to Buick Encore which I decided to buy outright after test driving it. So far, I have not been disappointed. My husband who was a little skeptical earlier loves the car too and so do my kids. Also with 20% rebate from Buick + dealer discount, I got a great deal on the car.

Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
MPG
23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
MPG
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
MPG
23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
See all Used 2016 Buick Encore features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover19.8%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Buick Encore

Used 2016 Buick Encore Overview

The Used 2016 Buick Encore is offered in the following submodels: Encore SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Convenience 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Leather 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Leather 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Convenience 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Premium 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Premium 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Sport Touring 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and Sport Touring 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Buick Encore?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Buick Encore trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Buick Encore Base is priced between $9,995 and$16,995 with odometer readings between 9511 and93521 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Buick Encore Convenience is priced between $10,990 and$17,995 with odometer readings between 7557 and101711 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Buick Encore Leather is priced between $11,981 and$18,998 with odometer readings between 18108 and86631 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Buick Encore Sport Touring is priced between $13,995 and$17,995 with odometer readings between 17344 and61085 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 Buick Encores are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Buick Encore for sale near. There are currently 64 used and CPO 2016 Encores listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,995 and mileage as low as 7557 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Buick Encore.

Can't find a used 2016 Buick Encores you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Buick Encore for sale - 5 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $22,806.

Find a used Buick for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $16,481.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick Encore for sale - 5 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $13,002.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick for sale - 7 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $24,087.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Buick Encore?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Buick lease specials
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