2018 Buick Encore Review

Pros & Cons

  • Quiet interior on the highway
  • Long list of tech and safety features
  • Small engines deliver solid fuel economy
  • Tepid performance from base engine
  • Small cargo area can't swallow much luggage
Other years
List Price Range
$14,696 - $24,995

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Which Encore does Edmunds recommend?

The Encore's base trim level is appealing with all of its standard equipment, but we recommend upgrading to the Essence trim level. It offers heated seats, a heated steering wheel, leather seating, a few extra safety items and the more powerful 153-horsepower engine. The standard 1.4-liter engine is down on power. If you want to get this subcompact moving in a hurry, the increase in power is a must

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

Like other subcompact crossover SUVs, the 2018 Buick Encore's core appeal is its maneuverability and fuel efficiency. But the Encore is also a bit more upscale than the norm. It has more standard and optional features, and its interior is quieter at highway speeds.

The Encore's performance, however, is still a little disappointing. The Encore is related to the Chevrolet Trax, and both have a base 138-horsepower turbocharged engine. Acceleration is slow, and real-world fuel economy is underwhelming. Buick offers a more powerful 153-hp engine upgrade, but it's not a huge difference. Additionally, you'll typically pay more to get an Encore compared similarly sized rivals.

From our standpoint, the Encore's appeal largely depends on what you're looking for. If you like its size and mix of premium features, it's more than likely an ideal pick. But you should also look at the Mazda CX-3, which is just as nice and less expensive to boot. Additionally, the Encore's price is pretty close to what you'll pay for a roomier crossover, such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V.

Overall, we recommend a few test drives of competitors, but if you're looking for a nimble, relatively upscale subcompact crossover SUV, the 2018 Buick Encore certainly has some curb appeal.

2018 Buick Encore models

The 2018 Buick Encore is a compact crossover SUV offered in six trim levels: 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring, Preferred II, Essence and Premium. Less expensive Encores come standard with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine (138 hp, 148 lb-ft), a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. From the Sport Touring trim level on up, there's a more powerful 1.4-liter engine (153 hp, 177 lb-ft) available. Every trim aside from the base 1SV is also available with all-wheel drive as an option.

For the most part, the base 1SV and Preferred trim levels are equipped similarly. On both, you get 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, keyless ignition and entry, heated mirrors, roof rails, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, cruise control, a power driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat and 60/40-split folding rear seats.

Technology features include OnStar communications (with 4G LTE and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot), a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and two USB ports. Also included is Buick's IntelliLink electronics interface, which features an 8-inch touchscreen and smartphone app integration.

On the Preferred, you also get floor mats and a cargo cover.

Stepping up to the Sport Touring model means the addition of foglights, a rear spoiler and remote start to the base model's features. Options include a seven-speaker Bose sound system and a blind-spot monitoring system.

The Preferred II adds dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 120-volt household-style power outlet, and the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems.

Moving up to Essence adds LED headlights, leather upholstery, a six-way power passenger seat (with manual recline and power lumbar), heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and driver-seat memory settings.

Finally, the top-of-the-line Premium trim adds front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, automatic wipers and the seven-speaker Bose sound system.

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

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our cumulative experience with the current generation Buick Encore (turbo 1.4L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).

Driving

The Buick Encore does well as a city commuter car. It's nimble in traffic and gets away from a stoplight quickly. But passing power is lacking for stress-free highway acceleration and passing. Handling is far from sporty.

Comfort

The Encore is relatively comfortable. It's quiet on the highway, which is one of its best features, and the ride quality is relaxed without being wallowy.

Interior

Though it's small, the Encore has plenty of space for front passengers. Adults will fit in the rear without too much trouble. Build and materials quality are on par with that of other vehicles in the class, but the Encore's cabin does look dated because of its numerous dashboard buttons.

Utility

Behind the rear seats, the Encore has 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space available. With the rear seats folded, that number goes up to 48.3 cubes. That's more than enough for a moderate load of groceries, but most compact crossovers do better.

Technology

The infotainment system is easy to learn, and combined with OnStar, provides a robust set of features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. Only the Premium trim gets a full suite of active safety features, but some are available on the lower trim levels.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Buick Encore.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

What a nice little car
JWu,08/30/2018
Preferred 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
So I think this all needs to be prefaced with remembering what the Encore is meant to do. It's not a sports car, it's not a rugged truck, nor is it a full blown luxury crossover. Plus, consideration needs to be made for end of year lease deals (and purchase deals for that matter), as price has to be a major factor in how impressive it is. The car is NOT by any means fast. It's basically slow and down on power. However, it is enough for the city and adequate for road trips. Just step on it harder over the hills. I was worried before I took it on my first long trip, but it had no problems cruising along at ... the speed limit... and maybe sometimes a bit higher. The ace though, is how quiet and comfortable this thing is. After combined 5 hours of driving, I had no aches or pains, was not fatigued at all, and felt the time and miles passed very quickly. Even better, I averaged 34mpg for the day, which included some stop and go and city driving too. My regular commutes still get 28-30 mpg, so rather satisfied. Surprisingly, the chassis and handling feels nice and tight, not at all what I remembered of buick of before. Brakes are ok - progressive pedal. At the Preferred level (I feel it's basically the base model), the interior still feels nice enough to be close to premium levels. The car has great use of interior space at minimum exterior size - great for city stuff. All in all, I am so pleasantly surprised by the refinement of this tiny thing. With deals putting it on par with some of the cheap economy cars, why not?! Fabulous
Best car that I have owned.
Mary Morris,02/20/2018
Premium 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This is a great "small SUV" with the feel of luxury like no other vehicle in its class. Blind spot monitor, lane change warnings, front crash warnings; back up camera with warnings. Perfect for us older citizens as we age. Great technology with navigation, bluetooth and more. Add Onstar support and Sirius/XM entertainment. Both driver and passenger front seats are heated with power adjustments. You can set and save seat adjustments for both driver 1 and 2 and then sync each of those to the respective key faub. Driver seat has "easy exit" feature letting you get in and out without effort. Panoramic windshield combined with seat adjustment gives me a great view of the road. Also the overall length is much shorter than a Honda CRV or Toyota RAV 4; easier handling and parking. Keyless start lets you leave keys in your purse. Remote start is great on those cold winter days. Another tech gadget has 3 buttons programmable to different garage door openers - yours, his and another important person. The longer wheelbase provides a very comfortable ride with very little road noise. Since I have owned this vehicle a very short time, it has not been possible to see if the gas mileage measures up to the EPA rating of 26 City and 31 highway. Although no one likes to drive in snow, I am actually looking forward to see how this AWD version handles the snow. All my other cars have been front wheel drive only so we will see.
Wasn’t expecting this in a Buick!!!
Jim Wilson.,03/11/2018
Premium 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Great little SUV with lots of room and packed with extras. Good gas mileage and super quiet. Easy in and exit with memory seats. Nicer car than our previous Infinity QX60 and at 40% of the cost, not to mention much smoother ride, quieter and better gas mileage.
Great Little Ride
Juanita floor,05/20/2018
Preferred 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I reviewed many cars in the sub-compact category, Subaru, Ford, Mazda, Honda, Jeep, but I kept coming back to the Buick Encore. For me it was the little bit extra, the extra luxury. I'm coming from owning a Cadillac CTS and I wanted more luxury in my SUV than the competitors had. Plus the safety rating and mpg really made the Encore a winner in my book!

Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
MPG
24 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
24 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
See all Used 2018 Buick Encore features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Encore models:

OnStar
Provides emergency services such as roadside assistance, automatic crash notification and remote door unlocking.
Blind-Spot Warning System
Warns you if there's another vehicle in your blind spot. Standard on the Sport Touring trim level and above.
Forward Collision Warning
Alerts the driver if a front collision is imminent. Standard on the Encore's top-level Premium trim.
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 2018 Buick Encore

Used 2018 Buick Encore Overview

The Used 2018 Buick Encore is offered in the following submodels: Encore SUV. Available styles include Preferred 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Preferred 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Preferred II 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Essence 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Sport Touring 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Essence 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Premium 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Sport Touring 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Premium 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Preferred II 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and 1SV 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Buick Encore?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Buick Encore trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Buick Encore Preferred is priced between $14,696 and$20,995 with odometer readings between 4186 and42822 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Buick Encore Preferred II is priced between $14,995 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 4664 and30715 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Buick Encore Essence is priced between $16,225 and$19,000 with odometer readings between 45962 and47289 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Buick Encore Premium is priced between $22,950 and$24,995 with odometer readings between 8612 and21522 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Buick Encore Sport Touring is priced between $19,685 and$19,685 with odometer readings between 26278 and26278 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 2018 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) 2018 Buick Encore for sale near. There are currently 27 used and CPO 2018 Encores listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,696 and mileage as low as 4186 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 2018 Buick Encore.

Can't find a used 2018 Buick Encores you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Buick Encore for sale - 8 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $9,122.

Find a used Buick for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,546.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick Encore for sale - 2 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $17,518.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $24,479.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 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.

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