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MSRP: $23,200 - 30,800

2019 Buick Encore Review

The 2019 Buick Encore ranks in the top third of the subcompact SUV class. Its premium interior is arguably the nicest in the segment, and a generous list of standard features and a great predicted reliability rating further contribute to its ranking. The Encore also has a comfortable ride, though some rivals feel more exciting from behind the wheel.

Pros & Cons

  • Nice interior with lots of standard features
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Nimble handling
  • Outstanding predicted reliability rating
  • Underpowered base engine
  • Higher base price than rivals

Is the Buick Encore a Good SUV?

Yes, the 2019 Buick Encore is a very good SUV. High-end cabin materials, comfortable seats, and standard tech goodies such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all contribute to its appeal. It also has balanced handling and rides smoothly over most roads. The Encore earns above-average fuel economy estimates and an excellent predicted reliability rating. While both its base and turbocharged engines feel strained when transporting more than two people, they are more than adequate for daily driving. 

Should I Buy the Buick Encore?

There's a lot to like about the Encore, including an upscale cabin, a wealth of standard features, a serene ride, and nimble handling. All of this helps to make it one of the best subcompact SUVs you can buy. However, this Buick has a higher starting price than most competitors. The Mazda CX-3’s spirited performance makes it more fun to drive than the Encore, and it costs about $2,000 less. The Chevrolet Trax shares its underpinnings with the Encore, and it costs less by about the same amount. However, its cabin quality is a notch below the Buick's.

Compare the Encore, Trax, and CX-3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Buick Encore?

The only notable change Buick made to the 2019 Encore was simplifying its trim levels by cutting the Preferred II and Premium trims. Their features were made available in other trims. Buick did not make any notable changes to the 2018 Encore, so you may want to consider a nearly identical 2017 model to save money. For that model year, Buick refreshed the Encore, giving it a revised front-end appearance, a refreshed interior design, available LED headlights, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a standard 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Buick Encore. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Buick Encore »

We Did the Research for You: 37 Reviews Analyzed               

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as crash test results and reliability ratings, as well as the opinions of the automotive press. We analyzed 37 Buick Encore reviews and incorporated applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2013 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Buick Encore Cost?

The Encore has a base price of $23,200, which is a little high for the class. However, the Encore comes with a generous allotment of standard features and a nice interior for a subcompact SUV. There are several higher trims, with the range-topping Encore Essence starting under $30,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

Buick Encore Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Buick Encore or Kia Sportage?

As a compact SUV, the Kia Sportage is a little larger than the subcompact Encore. It has more overall passenger and cargo space. It also has more spirited driving dynamics with stronger engine options; its base power plant outperforms the Encore's upgraded engine. The Sportage earns OK fuel economy for a compact SUV, though the Encore is a bit more fuel-efficient. The Sportage has a comfortable, upscale interior comparable even to some luxury vehicles. With a base price of $23,750, it’s in the same neighborhood as the Encore, price-wise. However, the Encore comes with more standard tech features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are upcharges in the Kia. For shoppers who need a little more room, the Sportage is a solid choice, though you won't go wrong with either.

Which Is Better: Buick Encore or Chevrolet Trax?

The Chevrolet Trax shares many similarities with the Buick Encore. The two have the same base engine and nearly identical passenger and cargo spaces. They share many of the same features as well. The Trax is slightly more affordable than the Encore, though the Encore has a smoother ride, a nicer interior, a stronger turbocharged engine option, and a significantly higher predicted reliability rating. The Encore is the superior subcompact crossover SUV.

Which is Better: Buick Encore or Toyota C-HR?

The Toyota C-HR debuted for the 2018 model year. The 2019 model offers more advanced safety features than the Encore, even in the base trim. The base C-HR is also about $2,000 cheaper than the Encore. In most other respects though, the Encore is the superior SUV. It offers more passenger and cargo space, as well as a more upscale interior. The Encore isn’t known for its sportiness, but it’s peppier than the C-HR. It's worth noting that the C-HR isn't available with all-wheel drive, even as an option. If it’s in your budget, go for the Encore.

Compare the Encore, Trax, and C-HR »

Encore Interior

How Many People Does the Encore Seat?

The Encore seats five on cloth upholstery. The front seats are comfortable, and drivers have good visibility thanks to a high seating position. The rear seats have a decent amount of headroom and can fit two adults without complaint, though as with many small SUVs, the space is tight for three adults. The Honda HR-V offers one of the most expansive back seats in the subcompact crossover SUV class.

Encore and Car Seats

The Encore has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear-outboard seats. There's not enough room for rear-facing child seats unless the front seats are moved up, leaving less space for front passengers. The LATCH hardware is relatively easy to use, though some anchors may be difficult to pinpoint. The Encore's LATCH system recieved a second-place Acceptable ease-of-use rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Encore Interior Quality

The Encore’s cabin is quiet even at highway speeds, and the interior is replete with soft-touch materials and upscale plastics. However, the dashboard’s numerous buttons give this Buick a cluttered, slightly outdated look.

Encore Cargo Space

The Encore has nearly 19 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. That’s enough space for more than a dozen full shopping bags. Fold down the rear seats and space expands to 48 cubic feet. A fold-flat front passenger seat allows you to haul very long items. The Encore offers more cargo space than some rivals, such as the Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona, but less than others, such as the Honda HR-V.

Encore Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Encore comes standard with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and the Buick IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, dual USB ports, and Bluetooth. The Encore’s infotainment system interface is intuitive, and the touch screen is easy to use.

Unlike some competitors, this Buick also comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Mazda CX-3 doesn’t even offer those. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Available features include navigation, a Bose seven-speaker sound system, and the myBuick App, which lets you remotely lock and unlock the doors, start the engine, and check your tire pressure.

Read more about interior »

Encore Performance

Encore Engine: Hold the Applause

The 2019 Encore comes standard with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower. Sport Touring and Essence trims are available with a more powerful version of this engine rated at 153 horsepower. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Neither engine feels particularly lively, though the more powerful one delivers better acceleration. Power is adequate for city driving, and the stronger engine does not feel sluggish on the freeway, though both struggle when carrying a full carload of people. The Mazda CX-3 offers a more athletic performance.

Encore Gas Mileage: Scattered Clapping

The front-wheel-drive Encore earns 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are slightly above average for the class. For all-wheel-drive models, subtract 1 mpg from both numbers. The 2019 Mazda CX-3 earns even better fuel economy and will save you about $150 on fuel every year, while the FWD Chevrolet Trax earns 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

Encore Ride and Handling: Standing Ovation

The Encore is a terrific daily driver. It provides a cushioned ride even over rough roads, and there is little body lean around corners. The Encore’s small size makes it agile and maneuverable, which is great in heavy traffic and in tight spaces. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on all models except the base.

Read more about performance »

Encore Reliability

Is the Buick Encore Reliable?

The 2019 Encore has a near-perfect predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.  

Buick Encore Warranty

Buick covers the Encore with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. That’s a bit better than the warranties offered by many other subcompact SUVs, such as the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3.

Read more about reliability »

Encore Safety

Encore Crash Test Results

The 2019 Encore received first-place Good scores in five evaulations conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and one second-place Acceptable score. The IIHS noted that models equipped with the optional forward collision alert provide a Basic level of front crash prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Encore four out of five stars in the rollover tests and five stars in every other category.

Encore Safety Features

The Encore comes standard with a rearview camera. Available active safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, and lane departure warning.

Read more about safety »

Buick Encore Dimensions and Weight

The 2019 Encore is about 14 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,237 to 3,358 pounds.

Where is the 2019 Buick Encore Built?

General Motors builds the Encore in South Korea.

Which Buick Encore Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Encore comes in four trims levels: 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence. For most buyers, the Sport Touring trim is a good choice. It's available with many amenities – including dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, and the stronger engine option – not available in the lower trims, and you can upgrade to all-wheel drive for $1,500. However, shoppers looking for advanced safety features such as forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and front and rear parking sensors will need to move up to the Essence trim.

Buick Encore 1SV

The base Encore 1SV trim starts at $23,200. It comes with alloy wheels, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a flat-folding front passenger seat, push-button start, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a rearview camera, satellite radio, two USB ports, and the Buick IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. OnStar and Buick Connected Services are standard, as are QuietTuning and Active Noise Cancellation, which create a hushed interior. To note, this trim is not available with all-wheel drive.

Buick Encore Preferred

The Encore Preferred has a starting price of $24,600. Besides a rear cargo cover, it doesn’t add much of note over the base trim, though it is available with a moonroof, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The Preferred is the lowest trim to offer all-wheel drive, which is a $1,500 upgrade.

Buick Encore Sport Touring

The Encore Sport Touring ($25,800) adds fog lights and remote start. This is the lowest trim to offer the upgraded IntelliLink system with navigation ($495). It’s also the lowest trim available with the 153-horsepower engine (for an extra $250).

Buick Encore Essence

The Encore Essence starts at $29,300 and adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. It’s the only trim available with rain-sensing wipers and several advanced safety features. You can add the Experience Buick package, which includes navigation and a moonroof.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

See 2019 Buick Encore specs and trims »

The Final Call

As far as subcompact SUVs go, the Buick Encore is a good pick, but it's not without its flaws. Its engines are lackluster – particularly the base engine – and acceleration is on the slow side. Still, there are many reasons to like the Encore. It has a fairly upscale interior, lots of standard features, and a superb predicted reliability rating. It's also highly maneuverable and delivers a smooth, quiet ride.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Certain rivals, such as the Mazda CX-3, feel just as nice without the Encore's premium price. But for a quiet and refined subcompact SUV that's easy to drive and maneuver in tight spots, the 2019 Buick Encore is well worth a look." -- Edmunds
  • "For style-conscious young buyers, as well as empty nesters looking to downsize but not compromise, Buick's 2017 Encore compact SUV makes a tempting prospect. … Though it may be tight on interior space, the Encore delivers big in the areas of luxury, efficiency and high-tech." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "For the 2017 model year, the Encore gets a visual refresh both inside and out, and gives prospective buyers more of the options they want to keep this cute 'ute competitive in the growing subcompact SUV onslaught." -- New York Daily News (2017)


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2019 Buick Encore

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