Compact SUV; Built in
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $13,200 – $25,100*

Buick Encore

2014 Buick Encore

2014 Buick Encore

2014 Buick Encore

  • All-wheel drive
  • Maneuverability
  • Quietness
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room

Buick’s new compact SUV is certainly a ground-breaking new vehicle. Encore is one of the smallest vehicles Buick has ever made, but it still manages to deliver surprisingly good ride quality and Buick’s characteristic hushed cabin. For some shoppers, the small footprint and tall driving position will be real pluses. However, Encore’s cargo versatility and rear seat space suffer because of the small exterior dimensions, especially among competitive vehicles in its price strata. Encore is an unusual vehicle that’s quite compelling–if the benefits of its unconventional platform are more important to you than its shortcomings.


This 4-door, 5-passenger wagon joined Buick’s lineup for 2013 as the upscale GM division’s smallest vehicle. Size-wise, Encore slots below Buick’s Verano compact car in every exterior dimension except height. Encore is categorized as a compact SUV, and it was one of the smallest entries in that class. Encore was built in South Korea and shares elements of its design with a small SUV produced by General Motors for markets outside North America.

Buick was attempting to carve out a new market niche with its new “micro-lux” SUV. Encore offered the raised ride height, upright driving position, and available all-wheel-drive of compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5, but in a smaller yet slightly more luxurious package. Despite its more-compact size and small-displacement 4-cylinder engine, Encore boasted upscale trimmings and accoutrements that were in keeping with the premium nature of the Buick brand.

Encore’s engine was a 138-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder borrowed from the Chevrolet Cruze compact car. A 6-speed automatic was the sole transmission. All models were available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The 2013 Buick Encore included a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. Front- and rear-side airbags were standard, as was a rearview camera. Forward-collision and lane-departure warning were standard on the top-line Premium.

Yearly Updates

2013 Encore
Blind-spot alert and rear-cross-traffic alert were newly available for on the 2014 Encore.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Encore’s engine was a 138-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder borrowed from the Chevrolet Cruze compact car. A 6-speed automatic was the sole transmission. All models were available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.4/83
Engine HP 138
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Road Test

Encore’s throttle response from a stop is casual, but power builds as the engine rpms rise. Acceleration is more than adequate in around-town driving, but some highway passing maneuvers can require a deep stab of the gas pedal. All-wheel-drive Encores don’t feel appreciably slower than front-drive versions. The transmission is responsive and quick to downshift for more power. Upshifts can be pronounced during full-throttle acceleration.

In Consumer Guide testing, an AWD Encore averaged 27.6 mpg in driving biased somewhat towards highway use. All Encores use regular-grade gas.

Ride quality is quite impressive, given Encore’s diminutive size. There is some wheel patter over rough pavement on city streets, and sharp bumps can intrude, but overall Encore feels like a much larger vehicle, it’s calm, smooth, and stable in most situations.

Steering feel is linear and nicely weighted on the highway, and the power-assist level increases at low speeds for easy parking-lot maneuvering. The tidy exterior dimensions mean Encore is decently nimble and very maneuverable in general, though the tall body build can sometimes make it feel slightly tippy in fast cornering. Brake-pedal feel is smooth, and stopping power is fine.

Buick’s extensive “QuietTuning” measures make Encore quieter than its small size would suggest. Overall engine noise is nicely muted; the engine note itself doesn’t sound particularly rich or refined during brisk acceleration, but it quiets down nicely at cruise. Noise levels are commendably low at highway speeds. Wind rush and engine noise are well muffled, but tire roar can sometimes intrude more, particularly on coarse pavement.

Gauges are unobstructed and easy enough to read. Shrouded navigation screen is conveniently placed high on the dashboard, so it doesn’t require a long look away from the road. The central dashboard stack contains many look-alike buttons that will take some acclimation. The available lane-departure warning works well; it emits a warning beep if it detects the vehicle wandering from its lane. The system can occasionally seem over-sensitive on curvy roads, but it can turned on and off via a dashboard button as the driver desires.

The cabin has a convincingly upscale feel. There are some hard plastics hiding out, but satin-finish accents and high-gloss woodgrain trim add to the ambiance. Available features such as the heated steering wheel are welcome, but we wish keyless push-button starting was also offered. Ambient lighting gives the dashboard a classy look at night.

Encore’s tall body height makes for generous front headroom and legroom, even for tall adults. Driving position is likewise high and upright. The driver seat has a small flip-down center armrest, but the passenger-seat doesn’t. Entry and exit are easy, thanks to the chair-height seats and good-sized doors. Thin windshield pillars and the tall driving position make for very good visibility to the front and sides. However, the view out the rear window is compromised by the rear-seat headrests when they’re raised, and by the heads of rear-seat passengers. The generously sized outside rear-view mirrors help; they include wide-angle convex sections to cut down on blind spots.

Adults over 6 feet tall will feel cramped in the back seat, though the upright seating position helps optimize the available leg room. Front seatbacks have shallow cutouts for a precious extra bit of knee space. Technically, Encore seats five, but it’s really too narrow for three-abreast seating for adults. The available sunroof’s housing cuts into rear seat headroom. Entry and exit are hindered slightly by the narrow door bottoms.

A bit disappointing. Encore’s cargo volume isn’t much better than most subcompact hatchback cars. The rear cargo area is reasonably deep, but rather narrow. Versatility is somewhat lacking as well–the rear seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split, but the seat bottoms must be flipped forward for them to lay down flat. Furthermore, the front seats must be adjusted at least halfway forward to provide enough space for the seat bottoms to flip forward–this means that tall front-seat occupants won’t be able to use the front seats comfortably (or at all) when the rears are fully folded down. On the plus side, the front passenger-side seatback folds down to accommodate extra-long cargo items. Also, interior small-items storage is good for a vehicle Encore’s size; it’s highlighted by two gloveboxes, decent-sized door pockets, and a small roll-top bin at the rear of the console.


Model Tested: 2013 AWD Premium

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 6


Value - 6

Total: 59


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
100.6 168.5 69.9 65.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
48.4 14.0 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.8 40.8 35.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 Encore 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Steering problems
Description: At extremely low temperatures, the power steering pump may make noises or leak. (2013)
Description: Power windows may be misaligned and move slowly or not at all. (2013-14)
Transmission problems
Description: Faulty transmission may leak and not engage Forward or Reverse. (2013-14)

Recall History

2013 Encore
Description: Seat belt pretensioner may not lock during a crash.
2013 Encore
Description: Front-passenger airbag may not deploy during an accident.
2013 Encore w/heated steering wheel
Description: Steering wheel may have been installed incorrectly and come loose or separate from the steering column.
2013-14 Encore w/engine-block heater
Description: Insulation of engine-block-heater cord could be damaged in cold weather. Exposed wire could result in electrical shock.
2013-14 Encore
Description: Front seats may break loose in a crash.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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