2018 Buick Encore

#21
in Suvs
2018 MODEL
$22,990 - $32,015 See Inventory Prices

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2018 Buick Encore Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Buick returns with their petite crossover SUV for the year 2018. The 2018 Buick Encore is an attractive deal for anyone looking for a feature filled compact car. Encore provides many features as standard which are not even available as optional features in most competitors, bringing it in the same league as some luxury crossovers like Infinity QX30.

The 2018 Buick Encore has set its starting price at $22,990 which goes up to $32,015 for its top Premium trim. A standard 1.4liter I-4 and a 6-speed automatic transmission powers the Encore. FWD is standard, while AWD can be had with any trim except the base trim for $ 2,500. The top 4 trims have an optional direct-injection engine which raises the hp and torque.

See detailed review »

Pros

Nice and quiet cabin

Many standard features

User-friendly infotainment system

Agile handling

Great fuel economy

Cons

Underpowered base engine

Above class average starting price

Below average cargo area

What's New?

2 colors added to the lineup

No significant Change


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$22990

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

top speed

120 mph

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

83 cu. in.

horsepower

138 hp @ 4900 rpm

torque

148 lb.-ft. @ 1850 rpm

transmission

6-speed automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

10.6 in. ventilated front disc/11.8 in. solid disc brakes

dimensions

wheelbase

100.6 in.

length

168.4 in.

width

69.9 in.

height

65.3 in.

curb weight

3237 lbs.

ground clearance

6.2 in.

capacity

passenger volume

92.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

18.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

3500 lbs.

payload capacity

1018 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

9.8 sec.

zero to 100 mph

27.7 sec.

standing ¼-mile

16.8 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

182 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

25/28/33 mpg

highway range

462 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 years/50000 miles

drivetrain warranty

6 years/70000 miles

corrosion warranty

6 years/unlimited

roadside assistance

yes


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2018 Buick Encore in Black Cherry Metallic color  2018 Buick Encore in Coastal Blue Metallic color  2018 Buick Encore in Coppertino Metallic color  2018 Buick Encore in Ebony Twilight Metallic color  2018 Buick Encore in Graphite Gray Metallic color
Black Cherry Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.4

Engine

6.4

Fuel Economy

6.8

Interior

6.9

Exterior

6.4

Safety

7.3

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2018 Buick Encore 1SV

1SV

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$22,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
1SV 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $22,990 MSRP (25/28/33) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5   Black Cherry Metallic
  Coastal Blue Metallic
  Coppertino Metallic
  Ebony Twilight Metallic
  Graphite Gray Metallic

 2018 Buick Encore Preferred

Preferred

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$24,365 - $25,865


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Preferred 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $24,365 MSRP (25/28/33) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
Preferred 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $25,865 MSRP (24/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5

 2018 Buick Encore Sport Touring

Sport Touring

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$25,565 - $27,065


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Sport Touring 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $25,565 MSRP (25/28/33) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
Sport Touring 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $27,065 MSRP (24/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5

 2018 Buick Encore Preferred II

Preferred II

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$26,865 - $28,365


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Preferred II 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $26,865 MSRP (25/28/33) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
Preferred II 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $28,365 MSRP (24/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5

 2018 Buick Encore Essence

Essence

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$29,065 - $30,565


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Essence 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $29,065 MSRP (25/28/33) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
Essence 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $30,565 MSRP (24/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5

 2018 Buick Encore Premium

Premium

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$30,515 - $32,015


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $30,515 MSRP (25/28/33) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
Premium 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $32,015 MSRP (24/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5

Top Buick Cars

2018 Buick Enclave
7.7/10

Engine: 310 hp @ 6800 rpm, 3.6 L V6

MPG: 20 combined

2019 Buick Enclave
8.3/10

Engine: 310 hp @ 6800 rpm, 3.6 L V-6

MPG: 21 combined

2019 Buick Encore
7.8/10

Engine: 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L I-4

MPG: 28 combined

2019 Buick Regal
7.9/10

Engine: 250 hp @ 5400 rpm, 2 L I-4

MPG: 26 combined

2018 Buick Regal TourX Wagon
7.8/10

Engine: 250 hp @ 5400 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 24 combined

2019 Buick Envision
7.8/10

Engine: 197 hp @ 6300 rpm, 2.5 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2019 Buick Regal GS Sportback
7.9/10

Engine: 310 hp @ 6800 rpm, 3.6 L V-6

MPG: 22 combined

2017 Buick Verano
7.9/10

Engine: 180 hp @ 6700 rpm, 2.4 L I4

MPG: 24 combined

Expert Review


CARHP Editorial September 21, 2018

7.0

Overall Rating


The all-new Encore is a sweet deal for anyone looking for an everyday car with maximum features. It may not be the most powerful option out there, but it is definitely one of the most desirable one.


7.4/10
Features

 

6.4/10
Engine

 

6.8/10
Fuel Economy

 

6.9/10
Interior

 

6.4/10
Exterior

 

7.3/10
Safety

 
 
 

2018 Buick Encore Features

7.4/10

The 2018 Buick Encore comes in 6 trim levels: 1SV, Preferred, Preferred II, Sport Touring, Essence, and Premium. All the trims are powered by a 1.4-liter inline-4 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The transmission features manual-style shifting through a rocker switch on top of the lever on FWD models. The Sport Touring, Preferred II, Essence, and Premium models have the option of upgrading their engine with direct-injection technology which adds 15 horsepower and 29 lb.-ft. of torque.

Trims Encore 1SV Preferred Sport Touring Preferred II Essence Premium
MSRP (FWD) $22,990 $24,365 $25,565 $26,865 $29,065 $30,465
MSRP (AWD) N/A $25,865 $27,065 $28,365 $30,565 $32,015
Features 4G Wi-Fi hotspot 1SV+ Preferred + Preferred+ Preferred II + Essence +
  Enhanced 4.2″ multi-color Driver Information Center Rear Cargo Cover Exclusive Rear, integrated Sport Spoiler Rear Cross Traffic Alert Heated driver and front passenger seats Bose Premium 7-speaker sound system
  Keyless Open and Start Front and rear color-keyed floor mats Remote Vehicle Starter System Side Blind Zone Alert 6-way power adjustable front passenger seat Rainsense Wipers
  QuietTuning technology with Active Noise Cancellation   Fog lamps Dual-zone automatic climate control Heated Steering Wheel Front and Rear Park Assist
  Rear Vision Camera     Inside auto-dimming rearview mirror Memory setting for driver seat Forward Collision Alert
  6-way power adjustable driver seat     Remote Vehicle Starter System LED headlamps Lane Departure Warning
        Fog lamps   Cargo Net and Rear Carpeted Cargo Mat

FWD is standard, although all trims except for the base 1SV trim can be upgraded to AWD for an additional $1,500. Encore’s engine runs on regular fuel, in contrast to the premium grade fuel required by some of Encore’s chief rivals. This is done to complement Encore’s economic persona.

We Recommend

The Encore comes equipped with a lot of standard equipment even at the base level. Still, the engine without the direct-injection upgrade feels a little low on power. It is a good idea to opt for the Essence trim as it adds heated seats, a heated steering wheel, leather seating, and few extra safety items. Not to mention the more powerful engine for those quick takeovers.

2018 Buick Encore Engine

6.4/10

“You have two engine options in the Encore, but neither is especially impressive. The base engine is a 138-horsepower turbo-four that feels strained when carrying a full carload of people. The acceleration also feels sluggish. A 153-horsepower turbo-four is available; its performance won’t wow anyone, but it does a better job than the base engine” – Cars.USnews

Engine and Transmission

The standard powertrain of the 2018 Buick Encore comprises of a 1.4 liter inline 4 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The top 4 trims also have the option of increasing the output of the engine with direct-injection technology. The powertrain yields decent acceleration and a high economy.

Models Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
MSRP $22,990 $21,000 $20,110
Engine 1.4-L turbocharged EcoTec I-4 1.4-L turbocharged EcoTec I-4 2.0-L SKYACTIV-G 4-CYL
Transmission 6-speed Automatic 6-speed Automatic 6-speed Automatic
Power 138 hp @ 6000 rpm 138 hp @ 4900 rpm 146 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 148 lb.-ft. @ 4900 rpm 148 lb.-ft. @ 1850 rpm 146 lbs.-ft. @ 2800 rpm

The base engine of Encore is at par with Chevy Trax’s base engine in terms of power and torque. It is worth noting, though, that Encore is almost $9,000 cheaper than Trax. The Mazda CX-3 has the most powerful base engine amongst the three, and also the least price. CX-3 generates more power, but a little less torque than Encore.

Acceleration

The 2018 Chevy Encore does well as a city commuter. Its engine provides just enough power for a decent ride, though not enough for speedy takeovers on the highway or gunning it at a stop light. The 6-speed transmission is smooth and quiet, but still provides a leisurely acceleration.

Models Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
0-60 MPH 8.4  sec 9.0 sec 8.6 sec
Quarter mile 16.2 sec @ 86 mph 16.8 sec @ 80.9 mph 16.3 sec @ 83.3 mph
Engine 1.4-L turbocharged EcoTec I-4 1.4-L turbocharged EcoTec I-4 2.0-L SKYACTIV-G 4-CYL
Emission Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year 6.3 6.3 5.7

The smooth transmission allows Encore to be faster than Chevy Trax or Mazda CX-3 in the 0-60 mph test by a significant margin, but Mazda almost catches up with Encore on the quarter mile mark. That’s because although the transmission is smooth, the engine lacks the power to stretch Encore’s abilities at higher speeds, or when the car has a couple of people.

Handling and Steering

The 2018 Buick Encore is not a big vehicle, hence its maneuverability is quite high. It doesn’t have a sporty handling, but still provides enough feedback from the road to be agile around turns and on crowded roads.

The steering wheel feels vague at times, and a bit too light at times. Although Buick has a tall and small body, it had surprisingly restricted body roll and a nice ride quality. Even on rough roads, the suspension does well to provide a smooth ride.

Braking

The 2018 Buick Encore has a satisfyingly firm brake pedal that is both reassuring and capable. No matter your speed, the Encore provides sharp body control thanks to its firm suspension as well as Four-wheel disc brakes and their linear stopping power.

Model Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
Brake pads-front (in) 11.8 11.8 11.0
Brake pads Rear (in) 10.6 11.0 11.1
Curb weight (lbs.) 3237 2805 2809
60-0 MPH (ft.) 126 121 118

The Encore is heavier than most of its competitors, and although it provides a strong brake feel, it does not do significantly well in panic stops. The Honda Pilot, though only slightly lighter than Encore, takes 15 feet less than Encore in the 60 – 0 panic stop test. 

2018 Buick Encore Fuel Economy

6.8/10

The Encore earns respectable numbers in the mileage department. With a combined mileage of 30, the 2018 Buick Encore definitely has above class average economy, but there are many who surpass it. If you opt for the direct-injection engine, the city mileage drops by 2 mpg.

Model Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
MPG (city) 27 25 29
MPG (highway) 33 33 34
MPG (combined) 30 29 31

Chevy Trax matches Encore’s highway mileage, but falls short in the city. The Mazda CX-3 easily emerges as the winner with 29/34 mpg in city/hwy. The Trax would cost you about $100 extra each year, while the Mazda would save you a lot of money compared to Encore.

2018 Buick Encore Interior

6.9/10

"The interiors of the new Encore use premium materials and look quite similar to Buick Envision. All models get leather trim, while the top two get full leather. The color options include ebony and shale, while the top two trims have brandy" -Edmunds.com

Seating and Comfort

The 2018 Buick Encore has 4-way power adjusting seat standard across all trims, although recline settings are manual. The Essence and Premium trims get 2 person memory seats. A big letdown is the absence of passenger’s armrest in the front. It cuts the cost a little but makes long journeys for the passenger a little bit annoying.

Model Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
Passenger capacity 5 5 5
Passenger Volume(ft cube) 92.8 93.0 86.3
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 39.5/54.1/40.8 39.6/54.1/40.8 37.6/53.5/41.7
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 38.7/52.5/35.7 38.8/52.8/35.7 37.2/50.4/35

The outward visibility is great thanks to a high seating position. Even at the back row, there is plenty of room to accommodate two adults without any problem. There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The lower ones are hard to connect as they are deeply embedded in the seats.

Interior Features

Here is a list of the standout features in the 2018 Buick Encore’s cabin:

Standard gauge with 4.2-inch multifunction display

  • Satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker audio system
  • 2-inch driver information dashboard display
  • Rearview camera
  • Buick IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen
  • Siri Eyes Free, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay
  • Two USB ports, Bluetooth, and the OnStar Guidance Plan

Available features include:

  • Remote start
  • Moonroof
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Seven-speaker sound system
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Forward collision alert
  • Parking assist and lane departure warning

Infotainment

The 2018 Buick Encore still uses the on-going version of Buick’s IntelliLink system. There is not much to complain, though. The system is responsive and includes modern amenities like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Encore has a highly connective infotainment system. Services like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto make for an entertaining trip. The standard setup has a satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a six-speaker audio system, a 4.2-inch driver information dashboard display, and an 8-inch touchscreen

Cargo

The 2018 Buick Encore provides 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. Space increases to 48.4 cubic feet once the second row is folded. This a lot for a subcompact SUV, but certain rivals do better. Moreover, the front passenger seat can also be folded, providing even more space when you need it.

Model Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
Behind Second Row (ft.3) 18.8 18.7 12.4
Second Row Folded (ft.3) 48.4 48.4 44.5

The Trax and Encore are pretty close in the cargo department, although the Trax has 0.1 cubic feet less space behind the second row. The Mazda is not as generous in the cargo department, with only 44.5 cubic feet of maximum storage space.

2018 Buick Encore Exterior

6.4/10

From grille to the hood, to the roofline, the 2018 Buick Encore puts a modern spin to its solid design. In the front, the waterfall grille is stretched with chrome wing running through. The wings expand to the headlights, which are sleek and sculpted.

Model Buick Encore 1SV Chevrolet Trax LS Mazda CX-3
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3237 2805 2809
Length (in) 168.4 167.2 168.3
Width (in) 69.85 69.9 69.6
Height (in) 65.26 64.9 60.7
Ground clearance (in) 6.2 6.2 6.1
Wheelbase (in) 100.6 100.6 101.2
Track width (in) F/R 60.6/60.6 60.6/60.6 60/59.9

You don’t truly realize how small the 2018 Buick Encore is until you look at its side profile. With a length of just 168 inches, Encore is one of the smallest crossovers in the market. In the rear, the first delight is the colored Buick badge.

The tail lights also receive a better design, rather than resembling a jellybean-like the Encores of the past. There is a single chrome exhaust. Surprisingly, rear wiper, rear spoiler, and roof rails are standard on all trims.

Exterior Features

Some of the exterior features include:

  • LED headlights in Essence and Premium
  • Halogen headlights in all trims except Essence and Premium
  • LED DRL
  • Fog lamps in Sport Touring and above
  • 18-inch alloy wheels on all trims

2018 Buick Encore Safety

7.3/10

The 2018 Buick Encore does quite well in the safety tests. It gets 5 out of 5 stars overall, frontal, and in side crash in NHTSA crash tests.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Ratings

Overall 

5 out of 5

Front Crash

5 out of 5

Side Crash

5 out of 5

Rollover

4 out of 5

The Encore does not provide many safety features. The only standard feature is a rearview camera. The available safety features include:

  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Forward collision alert
  • Parking assist
  • Lane departure warning

2018 Buick Encore Competition

Chevy Trax vs Buick Encore

The Encore is basically an upscale version of the Chevy Trax. Being GM’s prodigies, they both share a lot of basic features. Both the SUVs are similar in engine power and economy, but Encore takes the lead in interior quality, smoother ride, and a quieter cabin.

The Trax shares the base engine with Encore but has no option of upgrading it with direct-injection technology. So, The Encore is clearly a better choice. Although Trax has a lower base price, so opt for it if you wanna save a few bucks.

Mazda CX-3 vs Buick Encore

Overall, the Mazda CX-3 delivers a more all-around performance. It has a more potent engine, more luxurious interiors, and a sportier handling. Mazda also gets a better economy than Encore. Encore advantages lie in the rear seat, which is much more spacious than Mazda’s. Also, Encore has more standard and available features.

But going by the cost-to-feature ratio, the Mazda is a clear winner. It costs a few thousand dollars less than Encore and doesn’t compromise with comfort or performance.

2018 Buick Encore Final Verdict

The 2018 Buick Encore makes sure its buyer never regrets a single dollar spent on this tiny SUV. Despite a small size, it has a fairly spacious interior which is comfortable and luxurious. It is easy to handle and provides a smooth ride.

The engine does feel a bit powerless at times, compared to some other compact SUVs. Another weak area for Encore is safety. Although many other features make their way in as standard, safety features were mostly ignored.

The Mazda CX-3 is one of Encore’s biggest rival. It is cheap, powerful, and more luxurious. Even then, there are plenty of reasons to love the Encore for anyone looking for an economic and comfortable ride.