2016 Buick Encore Reviews and Ratings

Utility 4D Convenience 2WD I4 Turbo

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J.D. Power Verified Consumer Reviews (3)
Overall Rating
  4.9 / 5
Reliability
  4.8 / 5
Interior
  4.8 / 5
Exterior
  5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
  4.8 / 5

By Trisha 10/4/2017 3:49:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
  5 / 5
I absolutely love my Buick Encore. It handles beautifully, is extremely comfortable, and has all the bells and whistles one could possibly want. It also has great pickup (I have the Sport Touring model). If there's anything that is a disappointment, it's the gas mileage I'm getting. It may be because I have an AWD vehicle. Other than that, I love my Encore.
Reliability
  5 / 5
Interior
  5 / 5
Exterior
  5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
  5 / 5

By Jeannine 9/29/2017 8:25:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   4.6 / 5
A heated steering wheel would have been nice. Rear camera is very bright. Back seats do not fold down flat. Comfortable to drive. Good acceleration
Reliability
   4.5 / 5
Interior
   4.5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   4.5 / 5

By John B. 8/28/2017 10:09:00 AM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
Great gas mileage, handles great, looks great, comfortable seats, Much room for this size car.<br /> Many positive comments on the ride and looks.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5


Expert Reviews ( 1 )

2016 Buick Encore
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Buick Encore is a small crossover SUV that rivals the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 along with the more mainstream Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax.

Its tall and boxy profile is somewhat ameliorated by a steeply raked front end and oversize 18-inch wheels. Encore is unusually quiet, reasonably spacious, and amply equipped. Feeble performance detracts from its hoped-for status as a premium model. Encore is structurally related to the Chevrolet Sonic.

Only one powertrain is available: a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder driving a 6-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control. Front-wheel drive is standard, optional all-wheel drive is available for harsh-weather traction.

Little has changed for 2016, except for revised seven-spoke 18-inch wheels. New for 2016 is a Sport Touring trim level with special exterior trim and a turbocharged engine making 153 horsepower.

While the cabin feels somewhat narrow, the back holds two adults with a degree of comfort. Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system, with a seven-inch touch-screen, can run smartphone apps via Bluetooth. OnStar 4G LTE telematics can create a WiFi network right in the car.

Fuel economy is good, but not thrifty enough for a vehicle in this category. The front-wheel-drive Encore is EPA-rated at 25/33 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 23/30 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined.

As for crash-testing, Encore has scored among the best small crossover SUVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made it a Top Safety Pick, rate Good in three tests. That was a considerable improvement over 2014, when Encore was deemed Poor in the small-overlap trial. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Encore five stars overall.

Model Lineup

The 2016 Buick Encore comes in five trim levels. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.

Encore ($24,065) is abundantly equipped, with air conditioning; rearview camera; power driver’s seat; active noise cancellation; Ice Blue ambient lighting; cargo cover; remote keyless entry; and 18-inch alloy wheels. Cloth upholstery includes simulated leather trim. OnStar 4G LTE telematics is standard. So is IntelliLink infotainment with a seven-inch screen, using voice commands or a control knob. Convenience ($26,355) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-zone monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and remote start.

Leather ($28,300) comes with heated front seats, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver’s memory, auto-dimming mirror, and remote starter. Blind-zone monitoring includes rear cross-traffic alert. Premium ($29,785) includes Bose premium sound, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, heated leather-appointed seating, and heated steering wheel. Options include navigation, Bose audio, and a sunroof.

Sport Touring ($27,350), added during the 2016 model year, features a 153-hp turbocharged engine, stop/start operation, a rear spoiler, and special 18-inch wheels.

Safety begins with 10 airbags and a rearview camera. Options include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert.

Walkaround

If Encore designers are guilty of anything, it might be trying too hard to achieve distinctive body sculpting. For a small car, there’s just too much going on with the body, though it does convey a certain presence when viewed from specific angles.

Generally speaking, the front half of this little crossover SUV flaunts a rakish stance. Further back, an Encore looks more like a traditional small, five-door hatchback. A spoiler atop the tailgate extends the roofline, helping Encore to appear slightly longer than its 168.4-inch dimension suggests. Chrome-surrounded simulated portholes atop the hood do nothing to improve appearance, serving mainly as reminder of Buick’s storied past.

Interior

Design details are more subdued inside the Encore, though interior trim possibilities stretch from all-black to multi-colored. The cabin conveys a premium feel. A tall roof and low dashboard combine to create a sense of space.

Headroom is good, but an Encore isn’t so accommodating otherwise. Relatively narrow dimensions result in somewhat constricted shoulder space. Still, an Encore easily conveys four average-size adults. Back-seat knee space is adequate, helped slightly by indentations in front seatbacks.

Not only does the driver get a good seating position, it’s accompanied by a commanding view past the short hood. Although the cabin is comparatively quiet, some wind and tire noise can be heard. Buick’s Active Noise Cancellation curtails most engine roar.

Passenger comfort is enhanced by nicely-shaped front seatbacks and cushions, though a little more support would be welcome. The back seat folds, to hold 48.4 cubic feet of cargo.

On the down side, the dashboard suffers from overabundant colors. The center stack is packed with switches and buttons. Many controls are nearly identical, identified by small symbols, thus distraction-prone. Conventional rotary knobs control audio volume and other adjustments.

Better make sure that rearview camera is ready, because side views and rear-quarter visibility are awful, due to thick pillars and a small back window.

Driving Impressions

Considering that an Encore weighs close to 3,200 pounds, sluggish performance isn’t exactly a surprise. That’s a lot of bulk to propel with 138 horsepower. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a leisurely nine seconds or more (10 seconds with all-wheel drive). With a couple of passengers seated, the AWD edition really does feel lackadaisical, making advanced planning essential when you expect to merge.

Performance also is hindered by an automatic transmission that tends to upshift prematurely. During even modest acceleration, the transmission typically downshifts twice. Acceleration should quicken significantly with the new Sport Touring, whose 153-hp engine develops 177 pound-feet of torque.

Handling is good for a tall, heavy wagon on a short (100.6-inch) wheelbase, with what amounts to an econocar-type suspension. Good electric power steering provides a satisfying blend of on-center operation and simulated driver feedback.

Under nearly all road conditions, an Encore rides quite well. However, some light choppiness may appear when rolling over expansion joints or potholes. All-wheel-drive models seem more smooth-riding. Well-cushioned seats help keep passengers contented.

Summary

Though on the sluggish side with the standard engine, any Encore provides a pleasant road experience. You get luxury-car features at a premium price; but underneath, it’s basically a small hatchback. Shoppers seeking more energetic performance might prefer to look for the new Sport Touring edition.

Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.


J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality 4 / 5
Overall Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Overall Quality - Design
3 / 5
Powertrain Quality - Design
4 / 5
Body & Interior Quality - Design
3 / 5
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
3 / 5

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available

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J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

J.D. Power Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards, visit the Car Ratings page to learn more about awards and ratings.