$11,589 - $14,177

2013 Buick Encore Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Buick Encore was new.


Performance: 7.1

The 2013 Buick Encore earns praise for its composed handling, accurate steering and quiet, comfortable ride. Although the Encore also earns fuel economy estimates that are good for the class, test drivers agree that it needs a more powerful engine.

  • "In addition to solid efficiency, the Encore's engine also scores points for its level of refinement. Cruising along in 6th, you'd be hard-pressed to know that there was an internal-combustion engine up front." -- Edmunds 
  • "Its tallish body leans through corners, yet it remains planted and predictable, and the gearbox smoothly knocks through its cogs no matter the situation or driver haste." -- Motor Trend 
  • "While lacking the dynamic edge of a Mini Countryman, the new Encore does bring its own advantages to the party in the form of smoothness, serenity and ride compliance." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "It's at this point in the program where the driving enthusiasts among you will probably want to tap out. Said plainly, while competent, this is not an entertaining vehicle to drive." -- Autoblog  

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Buick Encore is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA reports that the 2013 Encore gets up to 25/33 mpg city/highway, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in the class.

Many reviewers are let down by the Encore’s powertrain. They say that the Encore accelerates slowly and that there’s not enough available power. Additionally, one test driver writes that the transmission is slow to downshift when you step on the gas.

  • "Since the Encore weighs about 3200 pounds despite its small size, acceleration is tepid, and it takes more than nine seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Similarly, asking the Encore to downshift just by stomping the gas is like asking your local librarian to drop a Skrillex jam. There's confusion and anger." -- Edmunds 
  • "With so little power on tap and roughly 3200 pounds to lug around, the Encore isn't fast, but it is decently quick thanks to its low-end turbo punch." -- Motor Trend 
  • "You're as likely as not to be in a dead heat with that hipster driving a Nissan Cube in the next lane. The Encore is not quick, friends." -- Autoblog 

Handling and Braking

Critics agree that the 2013 Buick Encore delivers composed handling and a comfortable ride. While reviewers write that no one will mistake the Encore for a sports car, they note that precise steering and good cornering ability make the Encore an easy SUV to drive. Additionally, one test driver says that the Encore’s small turning radius makes it easy to maneuver in parking lots or congested urban settings.

  • "With a simple suspension setup of struts in front and a torsion-beam axle in the rear, the Buick Encore nevertheless achieves a masterful balance between refined ride quality and taut body control, as if it had been developed in Germany, not Korea." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Nobody will confuse the Encore for a performance car - ever - but the steering is accurate enough to dodge would-be roadkill with ease and keep you out of the ditches. More importantly, the Encore is remarkably stable and has that road-hugging feel that used to require an additional 1,000 pounds of weight to achieve. This is a small vehicle that absolutely eats miles." -- Edmunds 
  • "A well-tuned suspension ensures the Encore feels exceptionally composed and ensures that it tracks cleanly and confidently through corners with minimal body roll." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The Encore is just plain happier in urban settings, where its tight turning circle (just 36.7 feet) and tidy footprint make it a standout in the parking wars and dicing it up in traffic." -- Autoblog 

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