The 2018 Buick Encore is a compact crossover designed to appeal to the more luxury-oriented buyer. It doesn’t have the same sky-high price of luxury competitors, but it does offer the style, features, and overall vibe of a luxury car. You just won’t have to remortgage your house to buy one.
There are six trim levels starting with the base model at $22,990 and eventually topping out with the Premium at $30,600. That leaves plenty of room to work within your budget. The sweet spot for value is somewhere in the middle with features aplenty at a reasonable price. Once you get to that top trim and starting adding packages, the price quickly creeps up with our test Encore Premium coming in at $36,480.
The Encore looks like a compact crossover, but with more elegant exterior styling that differentiate it from the pack. It’s not garish or abrasive or trying to be some kind of off-road sporty thing that it’s not. Instead, the Encore is all about smooth elegance from it’s graceful exterior to its rich interior.
The Encore Premium includes all the requisite luxury car elements. There are 6-way power-adjustable leather front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and they’re heated for those chilly winter mornings. Dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and an 8-inch color infotainment touchscreen are also standard.
Additional connectivity includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and there’s even OnStar with a complimentary 5-year basic plan. A 7-speaker Bose audio system is also standard. The Buick Encore Premium is not lacking in features.
It looks the part of a luxury crossover and feels the part of a luxury crossover with a comfortable interior. This is, however, a compact crossover, so the rear seats are on the smaller side. They’ll work wonderfully for kids or two adults, but three adults are a tight fit.
Cargo space is also somewhat limited. There’s 18.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats or you can fold the 60/40 bench seats down for a total of 48.4 cubic feet. Those aren’t huge numbers, but this is a compact crossover. If you’re looking for more room, then you have other Buick options like the Enclave, which also boasts a third row.
Power comes from a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a more powerful version of this engine with 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. It features start-stop technology and is again paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Our Encore had the larger engine and it provided plenty of oomph to merge the Encore into highway traffic. It was also strong off the line from a complete stop, but don’t expect lightning quick performance.
The ride itself is remarkably smooth and refined. Some engine noise intrudes into the cabin under hard acceleration, but the Encore otherwise has an enjoyable ride. Whether it’s on the highway or over dirt country roads, the Encore maintains its composure making it easy on the driver and passengers.
The 2018 Buick Encore is a more elegant compact crossover option with luxury car features and a range of trims to fit every budget.