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2016 Buick Encore Review

The 2016 Buick Encore has excellent safety ratings, a handsome interior, and a silky-smooth ride. However, an underpowered engine keeps this SUV in the middle of the subcompact SUV class.

Pros & Cons

  • Attractive, high-quality cabin
  • Comfortable, smooth ride
  • Great fuel economy
  • Leisurely acceleration

Rankings & Research

The 2016 Buick Encore's #6 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Buick Encore has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 34 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Buick Encore Overview

Is the 2016 Buick Encore a Good Used SUV?

The 2016 Encore is fine pick if you’re shopping for a used subcompact SUV. The Encore boasts a comfortable ride, a stylish cabin, and a wide array of standard tech features. It’s offered with many advanced safety features as well, like forward collision warning. What it doesn’t have is a strong engine. If you’re looking for a bit more fun in your commute, consider the 2016 Mazda CX-3 or Mini Countryman.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 34 Buick Encore reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Buick Encore?

You can expect to pay between $15,000 and $23,000 for a used 2016 Encore. These figures are based on 1,100 listings for this vehicle on our site. The average price is $18,300. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Buick Encore Cost to Own?

At $21,700 – or about $4,300 per year – the Encore’s estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are slightly below average for the subcompact SUV class. The 2016 Mazda CX-3’s estimated costs of $20,600 are the lowest in the segment.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Encore?

The 2018 Encore starts at $22,990. It’s one of the pricier SUVs in its class and about $4,700 more than the average 2016 Encore. You can certainly save money by shopping for a used Encore, but buying new does have its perks. The 2018 Encore offers dressier exterior styling, higher-quality cabin materials, and popular features like Apple CarPlay. It also carries a new car warranty, and you won’t have to worry about a questionable maintenance history. Still, from a value perspective, the 2016 is the better buy.

Read about the new Buick Encore »

On the other hand, you might want to consider the 2018 Honda Fit or Kia Soul. You can buy either of these new hatchbacks for less than the average list price of a used 2016 Encore. Neither offers all-wheel drive like the Buick, but each boasts more seating and cargo space.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Buick Encore?

The Encore has average reliability, earning a score of three out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Encore reliability »

2016 Buick Encore Recalls

At the time of this writing, there is one safety recall for the 2016 Encore. Buick identified a software error with the vehicle’s air bag module, which could prevent the air bags from deploying in the event of a crash. Before buying a used Encore, make sure this recall has been addressed.

See more information on Buick Encore safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Buick Encore Is Best?

The Buick Encore debuted as an all-new model for 2013. The 2014 model offers the best value. It was the first model year to offer available blind spot monitoring, and there weren’t any major updates over the next two years. On the other hand, if your budget allows, consider spending a bit more for a 2017 Encore. The average list price is about $2,700 more than for the 2016 model, but it boasts sleeker exterior and interior styling, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There were no major changes to the 2018 Encore.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Encore »

Which Used Buick Encore Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Encore is offered in five trims: Encore, Convenience, Sport Touring, Leather, and Premium. The base model comes equipped with a 7-inch infotainment screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a CD player, a USB input, cruise control, keyless entry, cloth seats, air conditioning, and alloy wheels. That’s a fine mix of standard features, and it makes the base Encore model a great buy.

The Convenience trim adds blind spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, remote start, and fog lamps. The Leather trim adds leather upholstery, heated seats (front), and a heated steering wheel. The Premium trim adds forward collision warning, lane departure warning, parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers. Lastly, the Sport Touring trim shares its features with the Convenience trim, but it adds a slightly more fuel-efficient turbocharged engine.

See 2016 Buick Encore trims and specs »

What Does Buick's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Buick offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Qualifying vehicles receive a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the four-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty expires. This warranty includes free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles, and the original new-car powertrain warranty is extended to six years or 100,000 miles. For models sold in 2020 or newer, Buick changed the new car warranty to three years or 36,000 miles, but the one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty remains the same. Buick CPO models must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Buick’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Buick has one of the better CPO programs among affordable carmakers, alongside Kia and Mitsubishi. 

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How Safe Is the Encore?

The 2016 Encore has great safety scores. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the SUV a perfect five-star rating overall, as well as in its front and side impact tests. The Encore earned four stars in its rollover crash test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Encore a 2016 Top Safety Pick. It received an Acceptable rating – the second-highest score offered – for small overlap front crash safety (passenger side). It earned Good ratings – the highest offered – in all other areas tested.

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

See Encore safety scores »

2016 Buick Encore Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Buick Encore or 2016 Mazda CX-3?

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 puts the "sport" in sport utility vehicle. The CX-3 zips up to speed briskly and handles with the confidence of a sports sedan. It also has the lowest projected five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs in the class. Though both SUVs have great safety scores, advanced features, similar cargo space, and fine interior quality, the CX-3 just feels much more enjoyable to drive. It’s the better pick.

Which Is Better: 2016 Buick Encore or 2016 Honda HR-V?

The 2016 Honda HR-V is a good option in the subcompact SUV class. Its claim to fame is cabin space: it leads the class in rear-seat space as well as cargo room (a sizable 58.8 cubic feet). It also scores slightly better than the Buick in reliability. There are a few compromises, though. The HR-V lacks some of the safety features of the Encore, such as forward collision warning, and its infotainment controls aren’t as user-friendly. Still, the HR-V is the more practical people- and cargo-hauler, making it the better buy in the end.

Compare the Encore, CX-3, and HR-V »

2016 Encore Performance

How Does the 2016 Buick Encore Drive?

The 2016 Encore has a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is available. A 153-horsepower version of this engine is also available, but only in Sport Touring models.

Both engines provide the Encore with adequate acceleration and passing power around town, but hauling additional passengers or cargo really takes a toll on highway performance. The six-speed automatic is also somewhat hesitant to downshift, which only accentuates the engine’s limited muscle. On the other hand, the Encore rewards with a very cushioned and comfortable ride. Even large bumps and dips are sopped up nicely by the suspension. The SUV feels light and athletic when rounding corners as well, and its compact dimensions make it a breeze to park.

Does the 2016 Buick Encore Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Encore gets 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway (23/30 mpg city/highway, AWD) with its standard engine configuration, which is good by class standards. The Encore Sport Touring model improves fuel economy even further to 27/33 mpg (26/31 mpg, AWD).

Read more about Encore performance »

2016 Encore Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Encore Seat?

The Buick Encore has five seats. Its front seats are soft and supportive, and they provide a nice driving position with great forward visibility. The rear seats are comfy as well and can accommodate average-sized adults on shorter trips, but pinched rear legroom makes these seats a better place for kids and teens. Cloth upholstery is standard; heated and leather seats are available. The Encore’s cabin impresses with its elegant styling and high-quality materials. It’s especially quiet at higher speeds as well, thanks in part to the SUV’s active noise cancellation system.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Buick Encore?

The Encore has two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors. The IIHS gave the SUV’s LATCH system an Acceptable rating for ease of use, noting that some of the anchors are hard to access and can be confused for other hardware.

2016 Buick Encore Features

All models come standard with a 7-inch infotainment screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a CD player, a USB input, six speakers, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Available features include Bose speakers and a navigation system. The infotainment screen is located high on the dashboard, making it easy to access features without taking your eyes off the road. The audio and climate controls are separated nicely as well, and both are quite easy to use. If there is a complaint with the system, it’s that the screen is occasionally slow to respond to inputs.

See 2016 Buick Encore specs »

Read more about Encore interior »

2016 Buick Encore Dimensions

Buick Encore Cargo Space

The Encore has 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 48.4 cubic feet with its rear seats folded. This is about average for the subcompact SUV class.

2016 Encore Length and Weight

The 2016 Buick Encore is 14 feet long and has a curb weight of 3,237 pounds for front-wheel-drive models and 3,358 pounds for all-wheel-drive models.

Where Was the 2016 Buick Encore Built?

The Buick Encore was built in South Korea. The Chevy Trax is also assembled there.

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