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2020 Buick Encore

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Expert Rating
2.5 (Fair)

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
2020 Base Front-Wheel Drive
most popular
Price:   -  From $23,200
2020 Preferred Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $24,600
2020 Preferred All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $25,220
2020 Sport Touring Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $25,800
2020 Sport Touring All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $27,300
2020 Essence Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $29,300
2020 Essence All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $30,800


What's New

The 2020 Buick Encore enters the model year with less configurations than before. The 153-horsepower variant of the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is no longer available, leaving only the 138-hp motor.

Being a part of the second generation that came out in 2013, the Encore may not be the newest kid on the black, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Bucking the trend of old Buicks, the Encore is small, efficient, easy to drive, and offers consumers with a higher seating position than other subcompact body styles. A well-designed interior and a long list of standard equipment are other strong qualities the Encore possesses.

Choosing Your Buick Encore

Buick offers the Encore in four trims: 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence. Prices start at $24,195 including destination for the 1SV trim and go up to $30,295 for the Essence.

Engine Choices

All Encores are powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Power is rated at 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Shifts are handled by a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard throughout the lineup, with all-wheel drive being offered on everything but the base 1SV for $1,500.

With front-wheel drive, the Encore achieves an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 27 combined. All-wheel drive drops fuel economy to 24/29/26 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

Every Encore has seating for five. Cargo capacity is better than other subcompact crossovers, but trail behind more spacious competitors like the Honda HR-V. Behind the rear seats, the Encore has 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space. That figure opens up to 48.4 cubic feet with the back seat folded.

Buick Encore

Safety Features

The only standard safety feature the Encore comes with is a rearview camera. Up against competitors, that’s lacking. The range-topping Essence trim gets rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, which are available through the $495 Safety Package on the Preferred and Sport Touring.

Forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, and lane departure warning are available on the Essence's Safety Package II ($940).

While lacking in active safety tech, the Encore has good crash test ratings. It has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.


Standard connectivity features for the Encore include an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, wi-fi hotspot capability, two USB ports, OnStar, and Siri EyesFree.

Buick Encore

1SV - From $24,195

The Encore 1SV is more of a fleet vehicle with limited options. For instance, the trim is only available in a white exterior paint job with black cloth upholstery. There are also no optional features for the trim. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, a six-speaker audio system, remote keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Preferred - From $25,595

The Preferred trim doesn’t add a whole lot over the 1SV, but it does open the door to a lot more available features. There are more exterior colors to choose from, but the majority of them cost $495. Tan cloth upholstery is available on the inside, while a power moonroof is an extra $900.

Sport Touring - From $26,795

Standard equipment on the Sport Touring includes fog lights, remote start, and a rear spoiler. A seven-speaker Bose audio system is available as a standalone option for $595.

Essence - From $30,295

The Essence adds LED headlights, heated side mirrors, a six-way power passenger’s seat, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage opener.

Get a fully-loaded Encore with the $2,390 Experience Buick Package, which adds the moonroof, navigation, a satellite radio trial, and 18-inch chrome-plated wheels.

Compare Encore Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

Of the 2020 Buick Encore lineup, unless you want to go with the range-topping Essence, getting the Preferred with the available Safety Package means you get a lot of the same equipment at a much more affordable price.

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

  • Easygoing looks remain sharp
  • City-friendly footprint
  • Uncluttered interior
  • Feature-packed standard infotainment
  • Lacks driving excitement
  • Limited safety features
  • Aging design language
  • Prices shoot up quickly
Expert Rating
2.5 (Fair)

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
Automotive Editor

A traffic-friendly crossover that tickles premium brands’ feet. The current-generation model hit showrooms in 2013, so the 2020 Buick Encore is a little long in the tooth.

Despite this age, this subcompact crossover meets its intended purpose with relative ease, which is to give BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi shoppers a lower-cost option that looks stylish and offers nearly the same levels of luxury at a lower price.

With a starting price of $24,195, the Encore delivers in the pricing department, as it’s $10,750 less than the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, $11,500 less than the Audi Q3, and $12,000 less than the BMW X1.

City-sized with dated but sharp looks. The biggest perk to buying any subcompact crossover is its city-friendly footprint, and the Buick Encore offers that at just 168.4 inches long and 69.9 inches wide.

This makes the Encore 8.2 inches shorter and 1.9 inches narrower than the Q3, 5.5 inches shorter and 1.1 inches narrower than the GLA-Class, and 7.7 inches shorter and 1.8 inches narrower than the X1. The smaller stature makes it the easiest of the bunch to zip in and out of traffic and into tight parking spaces.

The Encore also boasts a unique look with its stubby nose and high roofline. The downside is this look has been around since 2013, while the competition has been through at least one modernizing redesign since and look far more up to date.

Inside, the Encore boasts a simple and clean layout that'll please the older demographic. Like the exterior, though, the Encore’s cabin shows some age next to the more modern GLA-Class, X1, and Q3.

The Encore further solidifies its position as a crossover for the older crowd, as its 35.75 inches of rear leg room isn't much for growing kids and falls short or the Q3 and X1 by 0.26 inches and 1.25 inches, respectively.

Generous standard features, except safety. As a sub-luxury crossover, the Buick Encore must delicately balance low pricing with standard features to make it a value-packed alternative to true luxury models.

The Encore delivers with its $24,195 starting price and a long list of standard goodies, including OnStar, 4G LTE wi-fi, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more. Buyers can also opt for navigation and a Bose premium audio system.

The Q3 matches all the Encore’s standard goodies and adds extras like leather, a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and more, but it comes at a much higher price that erodes its value. The pricier X1 offers standard leatherette, but its standard infotainment system has a 6.5-inch screen, lacks Android Auto, and requires a monthly subscription to access Apple CarPlay. The GLA-Class requires buyers to pay extra for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but its standard leatherette seating is a nice touch.

While the Q3, X1, and GLA-Class offer standard automatic emergency braking to help keep everyone safe, the Encore doesn’t even offer it as an option. Plus, all its advanced safety tech only comes optional on higher trim levels.

Buick Encore

Lacks punch to compete. The Buick Encore has just one engine, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that injects 138 horsepower. This power passes through a six-speed automatic transmission and heads to the front wheels or all four with optional all-wheel drive. This powertrain makes accelerating to 60 mph a leisurely stroll at about 10 seconds.

The Encore’s powertrain is a glaring sore spot relative to the luxury rigs it’s trying to pull buyers from. Evidence of its struggle includes the base Q3’s 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder that sprints it to 60 mph in seven seconds, the GLA 250’s 2.0-liter turbo four-pot that delivers 208 hp and a 7.2-second sprint time, and the X1’s 2.0-liter turbo that punches out 228 hp and a 6.6-second sprint.

Final thoughts. The 2020 Buick Encore may compete with entry-level luxury crossovers, but it does so in terms of value, as it cannot hang in many other respects. This is especially evident in the performance area.

What the Encore does best is offer all the key features buyers crave at a price that’s at least $10,000 less than the European competition, making it a great alternative.

Check prices for the 2020 Buick Encore »

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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 / 30 / 27 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.4L I-4 / 138 HP / 148 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
25 / 30 / 27 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
70.1 "
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
52.5 "
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
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
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Major Components Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
72 Months / 100,000 Miles
Accessories Months
48 Months / 50,000 Miles

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