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#6

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $24,065 - $30,935
Invoice: $23,102 - $29,698
MPG: 25 City / 33 Hwy
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Buick Encore Performance

Reviewers are impressed with the 2015 Buick Encore’s composed handling and supple ride. However, most critics are let down by the Encore’s limited power and lackluster acceleration on the highway. Still, a few say the engine will be sufficient if you primarily drive in the city. Additionally, the Encore earns great fuel economy estimates for the class.

  • "Underpinned by a version of the Chevrolet Sonic's platform, the Encore delivers a plush ride and surprisingly agile (although not quite sporty) driving dynamics." -- Left Lane News
  • "As one might expect from a premium compact crossover SUV, the Buick Encore delivers exceptional ride and handling characteristics, and its little 1.4-liter EcoTec turbocharged engine delivers power when needed while still returning near class-leading fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The primary drawback to the 2014 Buick Encore, though, is its sluggish acceleration. It takes close to 10 seconds to get to 60 mph. Not only is this slower than most similarly sized competitors in this price range, including the Fiat 500L, Mini Cooper S Countryman and Nissan Juke, it's something you'll notice as soon as you hit the gas pedal to merge onto the highway." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "It's at this point in the program where the driving enthusiasts among you will probably want to tap out. Said plainly, while competent, this is not an entertaining vehicle to drive." -- Autoblog (2013) 

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Buick Encore has a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. With an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg city/highway, the Encore uses less fuel than many SUVs in the class.

Reviewers are disappointed in the Encore’s sluggish acceleration, noting that it doesn’t have enough power for easy highway passing and merging. A few also note that acceleration slows down further if the Encore has all-wheel drive or is loaded with passengers. Still, a few say acceleration is acceptable for city driving.

  • "Acceleration does bog down a bit when AWD is part of the equation. The same goes for when the passenger count begins to exceed two people." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Our biggest complaint with the Encore is its acceleration. While we appreciate the gas mileage, we'd happily sacrifice a few mpg for a better 0-to-60 time. As it stands, the Encore reaches 60 miles per hour in around 9.5 seconds, which makes it one of the slowest SUVs on the market, but that doesn't even tell the whole story. The Encore feels even more sluggish on the highway, where its 138-hp engine feels overmatched in high-speed passing." -- AutoTrader
  • "This just isn't enough engine for a crossover SUV, and although the Encore feels adequately powerful in city driving, it feels strained when merging onto the highway or making any sort of passing maneuver." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "With so little power on tap and roughly 3200 pounds to lug around, the Encore isn't fast, but it is decently quick thanks to its low-end turbo punch." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Buick Encore delivers poised handling that keeps the SUV stable around corners, reviewers agree. They also say the Encore’s suspension makes for a cushioned ride, and that its small size and accurate steering make it easy to maneuver in cities and small spaces. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "More importantly, it really does feel like a Buick, meaning that it offers a supple ride thanks to soft, cushy suspension. No, the Encore isn't a sports car around the corners, but we suspect that most buyers would rather have the better ride." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2015 Encore may be a Buick, but its underpinnings are shared with a number of GM vehicles worldwide. As such, the original suspension settings are firmer than what most Americans expect, so Buick has tweaked the Encore's ride so that it won't jar anyone's idea of how a Buick should behave." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling is not sporty, but the Encore is nonetheless enjoyable to drive around town, as it goes where you point it and fits into small parking spaces. The steering is reasonably precise, and a tidy turning circle makes for easy U-turns." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "With a simple suspension setup of struts in front and a torsion-beam axle in the rear, the Buick Encore nevertheless achieves a masterful balance between refined ride quality and taut body control, as if it had been developed in Germany, not Korea." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
Review Last Updated: 10/23/14

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