$15,041 - $21,344

2017 Buick Encore Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Buick Encore was new.


Performance: 7.7

The 2017 Buick Encore has a smooth transmission, stable suspension, nimble handling, and adequate power with the standard engine. However, upgrade to the more powerful engine and you’ll get more of a punch for highway driving. The Encore’s small size makes city driving a breeze, and it takes corners with ease. It also rides over dips and bumps in the road with little disturbance, while the available all-wheel-drive system makes the Encore winter-weather ready.

  • "The Encore's small size makes for impressive maneuverability in urban traffic and parking lots, but its base engine leaves the little crossover wanting more when it comes time to enter the freeway. The optional four-cylinder engine that offers a bit more horsepower is worth serious consideration." -- Edmunds
  • "As one might expect from a premium compact crossover SUV, the Buick Encore delivers exceptional ride and handling characteristics, and its little 1.4-liter EcoTec turbocharged engine delivers power when needed while still returning near class-leading fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "More importantly, it really does feel like a Buick, meaning that it offers a supple ride thanks to soft, cushy suspension. No, the Encore isn't a sports car around the corners, but we suspect that most buyers would rather have the better ride." -- Autotrader (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Encore comes standard with a 138-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A more powerful turbocharged 1.4-liter direct-injection engine with start-stop technology is available in select trims and makes 153 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The base engine gets 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The more powerful engine gets 27/33 mpg city/highway.

The Encore’s base engine has adequate power. However, pack it with passengers and you’ll notice it struggling to quickly accelerate. For more power and better acceleration, the 153-horsepower engine is a better option. This engine has no problem getting up to highway and passing speeds. It’s also enjoyable to drive in the city, and it has a smooth transmission.

  • "The one thing the little Buick really needed pre-refresh was a bit more power, and the new engine, sampled in our Encore Preferred II AWD tester, addresses that issue. It ain't fast, but it's certainly quicker than before, dropping 0-60-mph time from 9.6 seconds to what feels like high 8-second range. The Encore no longer saunters off the line from a stop but instead eagerly zips forward to plug a gap in traffic like a good city car ought to. Power is good on the freeway, too; where many little engines tend to falter, the Encore's uprated engine offers up good passing power for its size. The transmission is pretty good around town and on highway cruises, making decisive shifts and making the most of the little engine's powerband. It's actually quite a fun little package." -- Motor Trend
  • "When equipped with the standard 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 138-hp engine, the Encore feels a little too slow for our tastes. Unless you're interested in maximum fuel efficiency, we would advise you to consider the optional 153-hp engine." -- Edmunds
  • "The tiny 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine does its best to deliver power when needed, but it struggles when the Encore's passenger count exceeds two persons." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Encore has standard front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. Its soft suspension offers a nimble ride, soaking up road imperfections with ease. Its small size provides for easy, secure cornering that larger rivals can’t match. However, critics find the Encore’s steering to be light, and they wish it provided more of a feel for the road.

  • "The suspension is also tuned to favor comfort over handling, and so not surprisingly it soaks up most bumps with little drama. The short wheelbase does mean the ride can get choppy over freeway expansion joints, however." -- Edmunds
  • "The Buick's body roll and ride quality were exceptional—not easy to do in such a tall, short package like the Encore's—and its steering rack, although a touch too light in the feel department, offered up satisfactory feedback from the road." -- Motor Trend
  • "Handling is fairly agile and the ride is silky smooth, but we'd like to feel a bit more of the road through the wheel." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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