The 2021 Buick Encore is an appealing option for those who are looking for a luxury subcompact crossover SUV. The reliability of General Motors makes Encore a sensible choice against its competitors like Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, and other options in the segment. The 2021 Buick Encore offers a very advanced and responsive infotainment system to keep you entertained in the car.
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As the car is more focused on comfort, it really helps on a long drive. The 2021 Buick Encore is powered by a relatively smaller 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. You can check more about the performance of the car in the performance section. The Buick Encore is not designed for enthusiasts, it rather focuses on a relaxed driving experience.
The available trim options for the 2021 Buick Encore are limited to the Base and Preferred models. Feature-wise there is not much of a difference between the two trims. The Base trim is available only in Summit White, and you do not have any other color options. Upgrading to the Preferred trim allows you to choose from the different color options on offer, including the newer Dark Moon Blue Metallic and Cinnabar Metallic colors.
Buick Infotainment System with 8-in. diagonal color touchscreen
In addition to or replaces Base trim features with:
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
4G LTE Wi-Fi® hotspot capable
Remote button start
Keyless entry and push-button ignition
Six speaker set-up for the audio system
120-volt power outlet
OnStar® and Buick Connectivity options
Buick QuietTuning Technology
Heated power outside mirrors
More color options
The Buick Encore Base has only one color option on offer, which might not be the preference of all the buyers. From the features perspective, the Base trim is not far behind the Preferred trim. You get the options for more optional packages in the Preferred trim, which is worth considering.
Which Trim should you buy?
The base trim of the 2021 Buick Encore has all the basic features that you need, but the interior and exterior of the car are very basic. The Preferred trim is our pick for the value it offers, as the upgrade is completely worth the price difference. The fact that you miss out on some of the basic safety techs on the base trim makes the upgrade more appealing. The Preferred trim gives you the option to choose various safety packages and other packages as an add-on.
Engine and Performance
The 2021 Buick Encore is powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. The engine feels underpowered for the segment, and there are no two ways about it. The best way to enjoy the drive in the 2021 Buick Encore is to drive it with a lit foot on the gas. The engine is not made for outright acceleration, and it is best for cruising at a constant speed.
The 6-speed automatic gearbox unit is a very refined unit, and the gear shifts are rather very smooth. FWD is standard across the trims, and there is optional AWD available on the Preferred trim. The engine is capable of carrying good speeds while cruising, but it is very lazy when it comes to acceleration. The acceleration figures show the laziness of the engine very well. It takes a lethargic 9 seconds to go 0 to 60 mph.
2021 Buick Encore
1.4L turbocharged Inline-4 engine
2.0L Inline-4 engine
2.0L GDI 4-cylinder engine
1.8L NA Inline-4 engine
6-speed shiftable automatic
6-speed shiftable automatic
6-speed shiftable automatic
Continuously Variable Transmission
Power (hp @ RPM
138 hp @ 4900 RPM
186 hp @ 6000 rpm
147 hp @ 6200 RPM
141 hp @ 6500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)
148 lb-ft @ 1850 RPM
186 lb-ft @ 4000
132 lb-ft @ 4500 RPM
127 lb-ft @ 4300 RPM
0-60 MPH (seconds)
The Mazda CX-30 is the fastest in the segment to reach from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The difference becomes lesser in the quarter-mile run. Hyundai Kona comes second with the 0 to 60 time of 7.8 seconds, and the Honda HR-V takes third place with 8.6 seconds. The 2019 Buick Encore comes last in both 0 to 60 mph and the quarter-mile run.
How well does the 2021 Buick Encore handle?
The 2021 Buick Encore is not an agile handling vehicle. The suspension is tuned for comfort, and it does a great job there. This is not the car that you would like to push hard in the corner. The AWD drivetrain is a better option for enhanced traction on the road. Buick Encore offers a comfortable and relaxed driving experience. The engine is also best suited for that, as there is not such acceleration that inspires to push the car hard around the corners.
The 2021 Buick Encore is the crossover subcompact SUV for those who are looking for a relaxed cruiser. It doesn’t feel tiresome even after a long drive in the vehicle. The suspension does a great job of absorbing all the bumps and undulations very well. The steering is fairly accurate, but do not expect great feedback from it. The steering weighs up decently at higher speeds, still, it is not communicative steering by any means.
How good is the braking performance of the 2021 Buick Encore?
The braking performance for the 2021 Buick Encore is somewhat similar to the competition. It comes with 10.6-inch rotors for rear brakes and 11.8-inch rotors for the front brakes. The base curb weight of 3358 lbs is heavier than all the competitors. The brake pedal lacks the feel when you press it hard. It is rather soft, and the braking experience does not inspire confidence at all. The braking distance is not very bad compared to competitors.
2021 Buick Encore
Brake Rotors: Front (inches)
Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)
Curb Weight (lbs)
The Mazda CX-30 takes the least distance of 119 feet to come to a halt from 60 mph, followed by the Honda HR-V, which takes 121 feet. The 2021 Buick Encore then comes at the number three with a stopping distance of 126 feet from 60 mph. Hyundai Kona comes the last in braking performance taking 129 feet to stop from 60 mph.
The 2019 Buick Encore delivers quite decent fuel economy figures. The mpg of 25 in the city and around 30 on the highway is an average mpg figure for the segment. The combined fuel economy comes to 27 mpg. It is neither too good nor very bad. On the AWD drivetrain, the fuel economy may further drop to about 10%. Buick Encore comes with the largest fuel tank in the competition, which helps it to achieve a good range on long trips.
2021 Buick Encore
Fuel Capacity (Gallons)
Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)
The Hyundai Kona manages to deliver the best fuel efficiency in the comparison, and the 13.2-gallon tank capacity is similar to the Honda HR-V and Buick Encore. Hyundai Kona also offers the best range in the segment. The 2021 Buick Encore comes in third place after the Honda HR-V. The Mazda CX-30 has the least range despite decent fuel economy, as it has the smallest fuel tank capacity.
There is nothing much to complain about the interior of the Buick Encore. The quality of the materials used is of good quality. The interior space doesn’t feel cramped up, and it gives a roomy feeling inside the car. The space on offer is quite decent considering the segment. The visibility for the driver is also good, which makes driving the car much easier. Headroom and legroom are very decent in both rows. The airy feeling inside enlightens the whole mood.
2021 Buick Encore
Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)
Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)
Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)
The seating space is nothing much to complain about in the segment as all the cars offer decent space inside the cabin. The Hyundai Kona offers the least leg space for the rear passenger in the segment. Honda offers the highest cargo space with all the seats up, and Buick comes the last. The Buick Encore compensates for that with good cabin space. Here are some of the best interior features of the 2021 Buick Encore:
Premium quality materials used inside the cabin
Impressive cabin space in both the rows
6-way power-adjustable driver seats with memory
What’s there to keep you entertained?
The 2021 Buick Encore comes with an all-new 8-inch infotainment system for the first time. The infotainment system is very intuitive to use and is very responsive to the inputs. The infotainment system connects with the smartphone via Bluetooth for playing music right from the phone, and it also allows hands-free calling. The infotainment system also supports voice commands to avoid any distractions while driving.
The infotainment comes with 4G LTE WIFI support as standard so connectivity is never an issue. The music experience is also excellent with a six-speaker system and SiriusXM Trial subscription. The phone can be easily connected to the infotainment system with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Stand out infotainment features for the Infotainment includes:
There are no two ways about it; the Buick Encore is a very stylish-looking crossover. In the subcompact SUV territory, the looks of the 2021 Buick Encore are one of the best looking. The Base trim comes only in the Summit White color variant, which looks nice, but an upgrade to the Preferred trim is worth the more color options on offer. The 18-inch alloy wheels come standard across the trim, which adds up to the look of the car. The roof-mounted side rails give a more SUV-like feel to the overall design.
2021 Buick Encore
Curb Weight (lb)
Ground Clearance (inches)
The 2021 Buick Encore looks very attractive in its overall styling even after eight years of its launch. It competes well against the competitors in the styling department. Mazda CX-30 looks a little subtle in the styling department, and it completely depends on your personal preference for which car looks the best to you. The other two subcompact SUVs in the competition also look very attractive. Highlights of the 2021 Buick Encore exteriors:
The NHTSA gave an overall safety rating of five out of five stars to the 2021 Buick Encore. The rating proves that the Buick Encore doesn’t compromise your safety. The 2021 Buick Encore is based on the Gamma 2 platform, which is also shared by Chevrolet Trax. The platform is proven to be reliable and safe.
2021 Buick Encore lacks various advanced safety techs which are available as options on the Preferred trim. It comes with 10 airbags which are impressive for a subcompact crossover. All the basic safety features are there but for advanced safety features, you will have to select additional safety packages. Available advanced safety features for 2021 Buick Encore with safety package:
Front and rear parking sensors
Blind-spot monitoring system
Lane departure warning
Rear cross-traffic alert system
Rain-sensing windshield wipers
Forward collision warning
2021 Buick Encore vs 2021 Mazda CX-30
Both these cars are great contenders in the subcompact SUV territory. If you’re someone who likes driving the car, then Mazda CX-30 clearly becomes the better choice. It offers a more powerful engine, better handling dynamics, and a more communicative steering wheel. Even the base engine on the Mazda CX-30 has a more powerful engine than the Buick Encore. The interior also feels more premium on the Mazda. However, Buick Encore scores more on the practicality aspect with better cargo space and rear-seat space.
2021 Buick Encore vs 2021 Hyundai Kona
The Hyundai Kona is a better-looking car compared to the Buick Encore. The standard safety features are also better in the Hyundai Kona. Again, the Buick Encore offers better space in the rear seats allowing the rear passengers to sit more comfortably. The available range on both the cars is somewhat similar. The Buick Encore is a more practical choice between the two, and it also offers better comfort to the passengers. The Hyundai Kona is a more affordable option, and it comes down to the priorities of an individual.
2021 Buick Encore vs 2021 Honda HR-V
The power figures for both the crossovers are nearly the same. However, Honda manages to deliver better mpg figures than the Buick. It results in a better range on the highway in the Honda HR-V. Honda leaves Buick far behind in the handling departments, and Buick compensates for that with its cushioned ride quality. The 2021 Honda HR-V comes with the largest trunk capacity in comparison, which enhances its practicality aspect. The Honda HR-V is a more affordable option against the Buick Encore.
The Buick Encore comes with the least powerful engine in the segment, and it is also the priciest of the lot. The competition offers a better value than the Buick. One area where Buick Encore shines is the practicality aspect of the crossover. It offers a considerable amount of space in the rear seats, and the cargo area is also impressive. The ride quality is excellent on the car, and the new infotainment system is also very feature-rich. If you are looking for a comfortable and practical cruiser, then the 2021 Buick Encore makes more sense.