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2014 Buick Encore

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

168.40” x 65.20”


Front-wheel drive



The good:

  • Well-packaged cabin
  • Interior materials
  • Gas mileage
  • Decent acceleration
  • Responsive all-wheel drive

The bad:

  • Handling
  • Cumbersome backseat folding
  • Modest cargo room
  • Spongy brakes
  • Complicated center controls

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2014 Buick Encore trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

Notable features

  • Small crossover slots below Enclave
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Turbo four-cylinder, automatic transmission
  • Seats five
  • Available heated steering wheel

2014 Buick Encore review: Our expert's take

By Kelsey Mays

Editor’s note: This review was written in April 2013 about the 2013 Buick Encore. Little of substance has changed with this year’s model. To see what’s new for 2014, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

If the 2013 Buick Encore is a sign of more bite-sized premium crossovers to come, car shoppers have plenty to look forward to.

The new segment includes the likes of a BMW X1 and the forthcoming Audi Q3 and Lincoln MKC. The exact parameters for this class are blurry: Base prices and features overlap with everyman crossovers like the larger Ford Escape and Volkswagen Tiguan, while well-equipped models encroach on Audi Q5 and Acura RDX territory.

That brings us back to the Encore — a premium little trucklet with bona fide luxury options. Base, Convenience, Leather and Premium trim levels are available with front- or all-wheel drive; compare them here. We drove an all-wheel-drive Encore Premium whose window sticker you can view here.

That’s One Small SUV
Even in its undersized field, the Encore is the runt of the litter, with an overall length less than 169 inches. That’s more than a foot shorter than Buick’s compact Verano sedan. The X1 and Q3 are longer and wider; heck, the Escape is nearly 10 inches longer. The Encore bears no relation to the Chevrolet Equinox or GMC Terrain from its GM parent; in fact, it’s closer to a Mini Countryman — which is about 7 inches shorter still — than either one. Unlike the Countryman, the Encore combines city-friendly length and width with an SUV-like driving position; its overall height, in fact, is just 1.1 inches short of the Escape. One editor found it a little too SUV-like, noting other cars sit more below you than around you. The 36.7-foot turning circle also makes it more like an SUV than a small car.

As reported in our first drive of the Encore (read it here), its styling polarized onlookers. This time around, our test car’s two-tone paint masked a lot of the busy lower cladding. (Unfortunately, that two-tone treatment requires Buick’s $745 White Pearl Tricoat option.) Standard chrome door handles, silver roof rails and 18-inch alloy wheels add a premium touch, and Buick’s waterfall grille and blue-ringed light bezels evoke the larger Enclave. The rear, by contrast, is forgettable.

All About the Inside
A key battle among entry-level premium cars is cabin quality, and the Encore delivers. Handsome graining along the dashboard and doors meets plenty of upscale touches: fabric-wrapped A-pillars, real metal gearshift trim, bits of chrome and decent-looking faux wood. In Leather and Premium editions, high-grade leather wraps the chairs, which include six-way power adjusters for both seats — not just the driver’s.

Buick’s standard IntelliLink system packages Bluetooth phone and audio streaming with USB/iPod integration and a few apps, like Pandora internet radio, which stream off an enabled smartphone. Too many buttons crowd the center controls, and IntelliLink’s dashboard screen uses an unintuitive control knob and several flanking buttons, all with tiny labels. It’s a low point.

Space, however, is a high point. With 1 cubic foot less passenger volume than a Hyundai Elantra GT, the Encore seems an unlikely candidate for ample interior space, but cabin packaging is excellent. The front seats track far enough back for tall drivers, though one editor said the center console encroached a bit much on passenger space. Maximum seat-height elevation, however, affords a high driving position with headroom to spare. (Caveat: Our test car lacked an optional moonroof, which can knock off an inch or two.) The only deprivation comes in the miniscule center console, which sits too low to accommodate an armrest. Drivers get a flip-down one; passengers get to complain.

The backseat has a high seating position with surprising legroom and headroom, plus consistent-quality cabin materials — an area where the Verano fails. The Encore’s 18.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats is decent, beating the German competition, but small non-luxury SUVs like the Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 all have well more than 30 cubic feet. Folding the seats down is a laborious, outdated, multistep process, but doing so gives you 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which matches other premium compact SUVs. A standard fold-flat front passenger seat accommodates ladders or other tall objects.

We found the Encore accelerated quickly enough, with a six-speed automatic that coughs up immediate, if abrupt, two-gear downshifts to shoot passing-lane gaps. It’s impressive, considering the drivetrain specs: The sole engine — a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder — makes just 138 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque. It’s the motor from Chevrolet’s Sonic and Cruze cars, but GM saddled it here with an SUV and available all-wheel drive, which adds weight.

Good news: The General’s been on a diet. An automaker that often has some of the heaviest cars in any given segment, GM kept the Encore to just 3,190 pounds, hundreds of pounds less than the X1 and most of the Escape’s ilk, and roughly matching the Q3. All-wheel drive adds just 119 pounds, which is competitive, and the hustle proves it. The X1’s standard turbo four-cylinder is legitimately quick, but the Encore’s drivetrain hits its torque peak at just 1,850 rpm, and the broad power band muscled our all-wheel-drive tester past slower traffic with little drama.

The EPA ratings are 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive models get 23/30/26 mpg, which one editor achieved (26.2 mpg combined) on a 90-minute, 40-mile commute. Not bad.

The Encore’s combined ratings match the X1’s and compare to non-luxury compact SUVs, but the X1 prefers premium fuel; the Encore makes full power on the cheap stuff. (As of publication, Audi has yet to finalize specs or EPA mileage on the Q3, and a production Lincoln MKC is still forthcoming.) The Encore’s wind noise is low, but tire rumble takes its place. The suspension hushes out most bumps, but ride isolation feels marginal — a possible contribution of the Encore’s standard 18-inch wheels and low-profile P215/55R18 tires. The steering wheel stays nicely weighted on the highway, though some might find it twitchy. Still, the Encore provides good steering feedback heading into corners and good chassis control over broken pavement. Toss the car around, though, and its pitchy body motions evoke a larger, clumsier SUV. It leans, dives and squats; the tires surrender traction too soon, and the brakes have an inch of spongy pedal travel before reporting for duty.

The Encore’s optional $1,500 all-wheel drive, by contrast, shines. Our weeklong loan saw plenty of snow and ice — and in tricky partial-traction situations, the Encore wasted little time transferring power to the wheels that needed it. It evoked Subaru’s excellent full-time system — something much pricier SUVs have failed to do.

Safety, Features & Pricing
The Encore has not yet been crash-tested. Standard features include 10 airbags, a backup camera and the required antilock brakes and electronic stability system. Lane departure and forward collision warning systems are optional. Click here for a full list of safety features.

The Encore starts around $25,000 — far less than the X1 — and comes standard with Buick’s IntelliLink system with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a six-way power driver’s seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, and cloth-and-leatherette (imitation leather) seats. Dual-zone automatic climate control, real leather seats, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and Bose audio are optional.

Pile on all the factory options, and a loaded all-wheel-drive Encore Premium runs about $34,000. A regular keyless entry remote is standard, but missing from the list is keyless access with push-button start. The X1 has it standard, and — typical of BMW — that car spirals to more than $50,000 when fully loaded.

Encore in the Market
The Encore realizes the promise of a small, premium SUV. Its drivability is equal to run-of-the-mill compact SUVs by automakers from Toyota to Ford, but cabin quality is a step above, and shoppers who want the driving height of an SUV with the parking dimensions of a compact have found their niche.

The original wave of small luxury SUVs has grown up, and now the likes of the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Acura RDX have few entry-level characteristics left. Buick hopes to sell the Encore to young professionals and empty nesters. It should appeal to both groups, and maybe to a lot more.

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Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior 4.5
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value 4.3
  • Exterior 4.7
  • Reliability 4.3
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Most recent consumer reviews


I bought 2014 Premium AWD used w, 30k miles and odometer

I bought 2014 Premium AWD used w, 30k miles and odometer now reads 179k. The car has been very reliable , I have replaced the water pump, timing belt, and done brakes and oil changes, I also fixed the manifold/valve cover issue. These were all normal Repairs . I am pretty good with maintenance, so that is key w this car. If you just drive it, don’t change oil or fluids then like any car you will have problems . This one has been very good .

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Does recommend this car
0 people out of 0 found this review helpful. Did you?
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Avoid 2014 Encore!

I bought a 2015 Encore in 2019 used. It has had catalytic converter issues from the beginning with the converter being replaced 3 times. The turbo has been replaced 3 times, valve covers replaced twice, spark plugs replaced 4 times, O2 sensors replaced & still has check engine light with code for emissions issues. I have replaced the air conditioning compressor & it's now in the shop to replace thermostat housing. This car has been in the shop now 13 times since May 2019 & I've spent thousands. Dealership doesn't care, AG's office is useless regarding lemon law, GM & Buick offer 10% discount on repairs only if Buick dealership repair at higher labor rates. This vehicle was paid for in 6 payments, but I am now disabled & cannot afford to trade it in or continue to make repairs. It's a great styled vehicle, fun to drive, compact in size while still offering plenty of cargo space & comfort. Unfortunately, it's mechanical issues are unending, expensive to fix, & completely turned me off the Buick brand.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does not recommend this car
16 people out of 16 found this review helpful. Did you?
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Loves the mechanic

My son named this as my roller skate and I loved both the name and the vehicle. I would NOT recommend this vehicle. I have spent thousands on repairs. It’s back in the shop now. I have replaced the A/C compressor, radiator coolant reservoir and numerous other parts. If you want a vehicle that stays in the shop and that you will spend lots on repairs then this is the vehicle for you. As much as I enjoy the interior comfort I am going to get rid of it.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 2.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does not recommend this car
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful. Did you?
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See all 129 consumer reviews


Based on the 2014 Buick Encore base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
Combined side rating rear seat
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
Overall rating
Overall side crash rating
Risk of rollover
Rollover rating
Side barrier rating
Side barrier rating driver
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
Side pole rating driver front seat


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Buick
New car program benefits
48 months/50,000 miles
48 months/50,000 miles
72 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
72 months/70,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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