Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

2018 Buick Encore

Warming Up to the 2018 Buick Encore

At the end of the day, I’m never going to consider myself as a fan of crossovers (especially a compact offering). Most of this is driven by, what I consider to be, fairly uninspired designs and the economy-driven lack of comfort that seems to prevail within the segment. When taking a look at the 2018 Buick Encore, it becomes easy to assess it based on those kinds of criteria (and in all fairness, I should). That said, it’s important to note that the Encore’s relative popularity makes it the best-selling of Buick’s offerings and that last year’s refresh represented the first bit of tangible inspiration that we’ve seen from Buick (at least stateside) in recent years.

Which brings up an important factor to be considered when assessing the Encore. Designed with a Eurostyled sensibility, it’s simply ‘not for everyone.’ Narrow, tall, and comparable in length to a VW Beetle, the Encore casts an awkward profile and makes an equally uninspired impact from a front-or-rear end view. And that’s not the only thing that diminishes its desirability. Niche styling is one thing, but niche styling combined with underpowered performance limits the appeal of any vehicle. The choice of a turbocharged 1.4-liter or its upgraded variant mean that the Encore maxes out at 153 horses and 177 lb-ft of torque. Frankly, I’m a little bit bored just typing it.

While this might seem like a harsh assessment, please keep in mind that it’s from the viewpoint of someone who prefers a very American muscle car aesthetic and power rating. So, setting aside my personal bias, what are the attributes of the Buick Encore that make it worthy of deeper consideration?

Well, let’s revisit its design. Sure, it’s not for me, but its dimensions make it ideal for commuters, youthful urbanites, and those focused on ease of parking and overall fuel economy. With a 29 combined mpg, it certainly carries some value towards the latter. And let’s be honest, that’s the target demographic for most of these accessibly-priced, conservatively-powered compacts and subcompacts: commuters, city dwellers, and the youth segment, due to its size and overall affordability. However, the Encore is priced relatively in line with roomier offerings such as the Honda CR-V or Chevy Equinox which prove far more accommodating. With that in mind, be sure to weight your priorities before diving into the Encore headfirst.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find much to up set the Encore, without a handful of criticisms to accompany it. Sure, it’s practical for a niche segment of consumers, but there’s really nothing to rave about. For a more in-depth view of the largely unchanged Encore, please enjoy the following (equally critical look) from Redline Reviews: