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2018 Buick Encore

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Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2018 Base Front-Wheel Drive
most popular
Price:   -  From $22,990
2018 Preferred Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $24,400
2018 Sport Touring Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $25,600
2018 Preferred All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $25,900
2018 Preferred II Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $26,900
2018 Sport Touring All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $27,100
2018 Preferred II All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $28,400
2018 Essence Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $29,100
2018 Essence All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $30,600
2018 Premium Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $30,600
2018 Premium All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $32,100


The 2018 model year marks the Buick Encore’s fifth here in the United States, and the song remains the same for the swanky subcompact, a cheerful chipmunk that promises pint-sized driving dynamics, a near-premium charm, and a nimble, manageable footprint. And unsurprisingly, considering its success, things aren’t changing much for 2018.

What's New for 2018

Buick bumped the 2018 Encore’s price by $50 across the board, but added a new capless fuel filler as standard and made the more powerful version of the brand’s 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder – previously only available with the Sport Touring trim – an $895 on the Sport Touring, Preferred II, Essence, and Premium trims.

Buick Encore

Choosing Your Buick Encore

Buick offers the 2018 Encore in six trims, ranging from the $23,965 Encore 1SV (including $995 destination) to the aptly-named – and priced, at $31,490 – Premium in front-wheel drive forms, with various options and packages available on all but the bottom model. Similarly, if one prefers to have the sure-footedness the Encore’s shape suggests, they’ll need to at least select the $25,340 Preferred trim and then add $1,500 for the all-wheel-drive system.

Built into all Encores, however, is “QuietTuning”, a combination of mechanical and electronic systems – including an in-cabin microphone and active noise cancellation system – that’s sure to please most of Buick’s old-school buyers, yet – as will quickly become apparent – doesn’t come at the cost of meeting the tech demands of those new to the brand.

All Encore’s come with at least 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque as standard, thanks to a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. Customers that need more speed can grab an uprated version of this engine with 153 ponies and 177 lb-ft, although six-speed automatic transmissions are the only way to go, regardless of output.

Buick Encore

Encore (1SV)

The most affordable path to Buick ownership, the Encore 1SV rings up at just $23,965 (including a $975 destination charge). But as it’s a Buick, there’s nothing “base” about this Encore.

Included in its impressive list of standard comfort and convenience items are an eight-inch color touch screen infotainment system with Sirius XM, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, proximity entry with push-button start, an enhanced 4.2-inch multicolor driver information center, a rear-view camera, six-way power driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with phone and audio controls, and 18-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels.

Customers aren’t likely to spot the Encore 1SV at dealerships, though. Instead, this model is reserved largely for fleet use – of the 45 Encores at a local dealership, not a single one is from the 1SV grade. That’s probably for the best, since this base trim is only available with front-wheel drive, the low-output version of the 1.4-liter, turbocharged engine, and in just three different colors.

Buick Encore


While the 1SV does its time in rental fleets, the Preferred is the effective base trim for most consumers, ringing up at $25,340.

The big news here is that consumers can grab all-wheel drive, which adds $2,875 to the price tag. Beyond that, the Encore Preferred is mostly identical to the base model in terms of equipment – the only additions are a rear cargo cover and carpet floor mats, and the introduction of a few dealer-installed cargo and protection accessories. The Preferred also opens up the Encore’s color palettes, offering customers more choice for exterior shades and a second interior color scheme.

Buick Encore

Sport Touring

It’s at this $26,540 level that the uprated engine option first appears, as does the benefit of its automatic stop-start system – look EPA figures of 27 and 33 mpg in front-drive trim and 27/33 and 26 and 31 with all-wheel drive. Besides granting access to the more powerful engine – which itself is an $895 extra – the $1,200 step up to the Sport Touring adds fog lamps, remote start, an exclusive rear spoiler and Midnight Silver wheel finish.

Adding navigation to the Sport Touring’s infotainment system requires a dual-zone automatic climate control system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror for a total price of $850 – oddly, both the navigation system and the auto-dimming mirror are listed for separate prices, even though they can’t be configured separately. A $595 Bose seven-speaker sound system, a $900 power tilt/slide moonroof, and the $495 Safety Package (blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert) are the only other notable changes.

Buick Encore

Preferred II

The Preferred II trim rings up at $29,340 and adds the auto-dimming mirror, Safety Package, and dual-zone climate control as standard. The navigation system remains a $495 option, although it’s also available as part of the $1,940 Experience Buick Package, included alongside satellite radio, a power moonroof, and 18-inch chrome wheels.

Buick Encore


The Encore Essence is where Buick starts to show its more traditional luxury features, including leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a six-way power passenger’s seat, driver’s seat memory, and LED headlights. It’s also where the Encore exceeds the $30,000 mark – by $40 – even without AWD, the peppier powerplant or other options. Aside from the upgraded features and upholstery, the Essence carries on with the same optional extras as the Preferred II and for the same prices.

Buick Encore


The $31,490 Encore Premium almost has it all. It adds Bose audio, rain-sensing wiper, and front and rear parking sensors. If those aren’t enough to attract you, the presence of standard forward collision warning and lane departure warning – which are both exclusive to the Encore Premium – should at the least appeal to the safety conscious. The Experience Buick Package, navigation, and moonroof remain optional extras, even on this range-topping model.

CarsDirect Tip

You want the more powerful engine, so plan on budgeting for at least the Encore Preferred and then setting aside an extra $895 for the uprated, 1.4-liter turbo. From there, the Essence provides a good mix of content without breaking the bank. We’d pass on any of the optional extras, though – the moonroof isn’t that special, while the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make the $495 navigation system obsolete.

Get your price on a Buick Encore »

author image
Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Contributing Writer

The 2018 Buick Encore, available in six trims, boasts attractive styling, a smooth ride, and available all-wheel-drive on all but the entry model. But a smallish interior, lackluster base engine, pricey upper trims, and lack of advanced safety features keep it from being a top pick.

Best Value

The 2018 Buick Encore pricing begins at $23,915 for a front-wheel-drive model in base trim and tops out at $36,570 for the all-wheel-drive Premium level finished in available Winterberry Red Metallic and equipped with the optional Experience Buick Package (moonroof, chrome wheels, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation) and more powerful direct injection 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Given Buick's near-luxury marching orders, all Encores are equipped with the usual power features plus a rear view camera, 4G wifi hotspot, push-button start, 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver's seat, and cabin active noise cancellation.

We'd skip the base, Preferred, and Sport Touring trims due to limited content; and pass on Essence and Premium models that are priced at or near the Envision's level and instead opt for the Preferred II trim that allows access to the available direct-injection turbo and comes with standard rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10-spoke alloy wheels, fog lights, and remote start. The only no-cost color option on this trim is Summit White, so we'd also suggest budgeting anywhere from $395 to $995 for one of the metallic paint shades.

Here's how we'd build it:

  • Model: 2018 Buick Encore Preferred II
  • Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 153 horsepower / 177 lb ft
  • Transmission:Six-speed automatic with start-stop
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 28 City / 34 Hwy
  • Options: Uprated 1.4-liter, four-cylinder turbo ($895), metallic paint ($395)
  • Base Price: $27,790 (including a $925 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price:$29,080


Buick Encore

The Encore features a capable chassis that produces a comfortable ride and predictable handling, even over most poor road surfaces, while the optional direct injection, 1.4-liter turbo with standard start/stop not only provides better acceleration, but better EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers than the base engine. On the highway, acoustic glass and noise-cancelling technology keep tire, road, and engine noise at bay.

But the ride is more competent than sporty. This may be a small car, but it's also a relatively tall one, and it wallows like it when pushed through a tighter corner. Likewise, the base 1.6-liter turbo, with only 138 horsepower on tap, struggles to get up to highway speeds quickly and passing on freeways requires advanced planning. If you can, grab the more powerful option.


Wrapped in swoopy sheetmetal, last year's updates included a simpler grille and cleaner front fascia while Buick dropped its traditional, but non-functional, portholes. Inside, the cabin is nicely finished with supportive front seats and a clean, graceful dashboard with a central eight-inch touchscreen placed high for easier access.

But perfection is eluded as larger adults may find the narrow interior confining, there's no central armrest for the front passenger, accommodations are tight in back, and leather seating is only offered on Essence and Premium models.

The Best and Worst Things

The Encore's refined ride and quiet, elegant interior make it an ideal highway cruiser.

On the flip side, while a rear view camera is standard, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert is optional on the Sport Touring and only standard on models above it. In addition, forward collision warning and lane departure warning are only found on the Premium model, while adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking aren't even available.

Right For? Wrong For?

Buick Encore

A polished ride, quiet, tasteful interior, hatchback versatility, and affordable entry price make the Encore a good choice for empty nesters.

Considering the Encore's near-luxury crossover status, the lack of a number of advanced safety technologies is surprising and could be a real turn-off for safety conscious buyers.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Buick Encore is a fine choice for owners eager to get a taste of the luxury lifestyle without the price, but we advise caution when placing an order – make sure you grab the more powerful engine, and understand that while you're buying a Buick, this isn't the land yacht of yesteryear, and its snug interior reflects that fact.

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.4L I-4 / 138 HP / 148 ft.lbs.
6-spd sequential shift control auto w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
25 / 33 / 29 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.4L I-4 / 138 HP / 148 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
25 / 33 / 29 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Semi-independent Torsion Beam Beam
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
14.0 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
48.4 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
Exterior Length
168.4 "
Exterior Width
69.9 "
Exterior Height
65.3 "
Front Headroom
39.6 "
Rear Headroom
38.8 "
Front Legroom
40.8 "
Rear Legroom
35.8 "
Front Shoulder Room
54.2 "
Rear Shoulder Room
52.6 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,237 Lbs.
Wheel Base
101 "
Turning Radius
18.3 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
18.0 " Machined W/painted Accents Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone / Metallic Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote Heated, Convex Spotter Passenger
Body-colored With Metal-look Insert
Grille Moldings
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
8-way (6-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
Front Armrests
8-way (6-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
60-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Siriusxm Am/fm/satellite, Clock, Seek-scan
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Driver And Passenger
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Rear Side-impact Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Pass-key Iii
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Major Components Months
72 Months / 70,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
24 Months / 24,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance Months
72 Months / 70,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
72 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
48 Months / 50,000 Miles

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