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Buick
Encore
2019
Go
Willis Kuelthau
Automotive Editor - July 6, 2018

2019 Buick Encore OVERVIEW

Buick is known for their large cars rather than their small ones, but that hasn’t stopped them from throwing their hat into the crossover ring. The 2019 Buick Encore carries the torch largely unchanged, a miniature Enclave for the masses. So far, Buick’s bet has been a good one: the Encore is their best-selling vehicle in North America. The Encore lags behind the competition in a few areas, but it still offers refined features in a compact package.

What's New for 2019

The biggest change for 2019 is in the trim lineup, which has been simplified to four. Certain safety technologies are now more widely available, and two new exterior colors (Deep Azure Metallic and Satin Steel Metallic) join the stable.

Buick Encore

Choosing Your Buick Encore

All Encores come with a choice of two engines, both 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder units. The base engine produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, while the upgraded engine has stop-start technology and boosts numbers to 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option on the upper three trims, although it’s not always available with both engines.

These numbers make the Encore a bit slow next to other crossovers, but the blow is eased by strong fuel efficiency. In front-wheel-drive models, the EPA estimates that the stop-start engine will get 27 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 30 combined. The base engine may be smaller, but it labors more and lacks stop-start, so mileage drops to 25/33/28 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Rear cargo space is a mediocre 19 cubic feet, though it opens up to 48 with the seats down. The seats are a little cramped as well – passengers in the rear may find that head and leg room aren’t exceptional. But, generally, the interior is well-outfitted, with keyless entry and start, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, a rearview camera, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The remaining features and tech are divided across four trims: Encore 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence.

Base

The Encore 1SV is the most basic of the trims, with a starting price of $24,195 (all prices include the $995 destination fee). Neither the upgraded engine nor all-wheel drive are available on this trim. Only three exterior colors are available, and two cost extra: Ebony Twilight Metallic and Satin Steel Gray Metallic both run $395. The base Encore does get 18-inch aluminum rims, a power-adjustable driver seat, active noise cancellation, and a trial subscription to a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.

Other than an oil-pan heater ($100), the exterior colors are the extent of buyer choices for the 1SV – no packages are available. To keep MSRP low, it’s as basic as can be.

Preferred

At $25,595, the Encore Preferred is a $1,400 jump from the base model, but it doesn’t bring many new standard features. The only additions are a rear cargo cover and color-keyed floor mats. Instead, the Preferred trim opens up a host of options and packages to add to the Encore. These begin with all-wheel drive, although the upgraded engine still isn’t available.

The most significant package is a Safety Package ($495), which adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 120-volt power outlet. The Active Package ($295) brings a cargo area tray and accessory carrier hitch, while the Road Trip Package ($350) adds roof rack cross rails and all-weather floor mats. The rest of the exterior colors are available, though white is again the only no-cost option. A power moonroof is a $900 standalone option, remote start is available for $300, and cup holder lighting costs an inexplicable $515.

Sport Touring

For $26,795, the Encore Sport Touring opens up the full range of engines. The upgraded unit only costs $250 over the base, and all-wheel drive is an option with either engine. Also standard are alloy rims, remote start, fog lights, and a rear spoiler. Most options remain the same as on the Preferred trim, with a few significant additions. Navigation is $495, and dual-zone automatic climate control is $355, but, in a quirk of configurator mania, these two options must be selected together (in which case they also include an auto-dimming rearview mirror). A Bose sound system is $595.

Essence

The top trim in the lineup is the Encore Essence, which starts at $30,295 (or $30,545 with the upgraded engine). Leather seating that's heated up front is standard, as are a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and all the features in the Safety Package.

Two new packages are available only on the Essence. The Safety Package II ($940) adds forward collision warning, front and rear parking assist, rain-sensing wipers, and an air ionizer. The Experience Buick Package ($2,390) bundles the moonroof, navigation, and 18-inch chrome rims. Otherwise, options remain unchanged where not standard.

CarsDirect Tip

The upgraded engine is worth springing for, as the base unit struggles under load. This means moving up to the Sport Touring trim, which also opens up more important options. Don’t go too overboard – the 2019 Buick Encore has a pleasant interior, but it can easily push well north of $30,000 with too many options.

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