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
Which Encore does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Encore models:
- 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.