2020 Buick Encore

#19
in Suvs
2020 MODEL
$23,200 - $30,800
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7.2

Overall Rating

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2020 Buick Encore Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: February 13, 2020
Shivendra Garg's image

Shivendra Garg

Automotive Content Creator

Change cannot be avoided. In fact, it should be welcomed with open arms because with change comes transformations. That transformation though can either be for the good or bad. This totally depends on the way change is brought about. Consider for example the 2020 Buick Encore.

See detailed review »

Pros

Upscale and refined cabin

Impressive handling

Imposing appearance

Cons

Slouched and inefficient powertrain

Cramped cabin

What's New?

The 153 hp 1.4-liter turbo-four is no more

Sport Touring variant loses couple of features


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$23200

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

83 cu.in.

horsepower

138 hp @ 4900 rpm

torque

148 lbs.-ft. @ 1850 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

60.7/60.6

dimensions

wheelbase

100.6 in.

length

168.4 in.

width

70.1 in.

height

65.3 in.

curb weight

3237 lbs.

ground clearance

6.2 in.

capacity

cargo volume

48.4 cu ft.

payload capacity

1018 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

10.3 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

25/27/30 mpg

ev range

350 mi.

highway range

420 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

powertrain warranty

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr. / 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

5 yr./ 60000 mi.


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

 2020 Buick Encore in Summit White color  2020 Buick Encore in Ebony Twilight Metallic color  2020 Buick Encore in Deep Azure Metallic and Black Carbon Metallic color
Summit White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Interior

7.5

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Buick Encore 1SV

1SV

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$23,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
1SV 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $23,200 MSRP (25/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Buick Encore Preferred

Preferred

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$24,600 - $26,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Preferred 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $24,600 MSRP (25/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Preferred 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $26,100 MSRP (24/26/29) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

 2020 Buick Encore Sport Touring

Sport Touring

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$25,800 - $27,300


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Sport Touring 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $25,800 MSRP (25/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Sport Touring 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $27,300 MSRP (24/26/29) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

 2020 Buick Encore Essence

Essence

power
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$29,300 - $30,800


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Essence 4dr SUV (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $29,300 MSRP (25/27/30) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
Essence 4dr SUV AWD (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $30,800 MSRP (24/26/29) 138 hp @ 4900 rpm, 1.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.2

Overall Rating


For the year 2020, Buick has taken away the 153 hp 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder of the Encore. So it is left only with the other less powerful version of that turbo-four, which is also less efficient. Also its Sport Touring trim loses out on features like climate control and navigation. Clearly, things have changed for this year’s Encore.

What has not changed though is the price. So for the year 2020 the Buick Encore will continue to be available at the same prices as last year. Turns out the transformation does have an upside or does it? Despite any changes in price, the likes of Volkswagen SportWagen and Kia Soul GT-Line are still less expensive than Buick, and they also do not miss out on features that actually make them appealing.

2020 Buick Encore SUV Front View
2020 Buick Encore SUV Rear View

7.0/10
Features

 
 
 

7.5/10
Interior

 
 
 
 
 

2020 Buick Encore Features

7.0/10

For the year 2020, Buick’s Encore will continue to be available in its four variants 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring and Essence. Unlike previous year, however, the 2020 Encore models will source power from the less potent iteration of its 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four only as the other 153 hp turbo-four has been discarded.

Also, its Sport Touring variant loses a list of equipment like navigation, dual-zone climate control and auto-dimming rearview mirror. What remains unchanged though is Encore’s six-speed automatic gearbox unit and standard front-wheel drivetrain. The optional all-wheel drive unit is also available on all its variants except the 1SV. Regardless of the choice of trim, all variants of the 2020 Buick Encore offer price-appropriate features.

Trim

Encore 1SV

Preferred

Sport Touring

Essence

MSRP FWD

$24,195

$25,595

$26,795

$30,295

MSRP AWD

N/A

$27,095

$28,295

$31,795

Key features

LED-accented taillamps

Stowable and removable rear cargo cover

Exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels

Leather-upholstery seats

 

8-inch Buick Infotainment touch-screen system

Color-keyed, carpeted front/rear floor mats

Exclusive rear integrated sport spoiler

Rear cross traffic alert

 

Keyless open and start

6-speaker audio system

Remote vehicle starter system

Heated front-row seats

We recommend

While all variants of the Buick Encore include price-appropriate features, the Essence is clearly the trim to opt for. It brings along with itself additional features that make this subcompact crossover a lot more indulging. It also offers the optional all-wheel drivetrain better suited for people in the colder regions.

2020 Buick Encore Engine and Performance

The 2020 Buick Encore continues to make use of the same turbocharged, inline four-cylinder 1.4-liter powertrain. Only the 153 hp iteration of the 1.4-liter mill has now been bid adieu. So for the year 2020, the Buick Encore will come equipped solely with 1.4-liter turbo-four pushing 138 hp and 148 lb.-ft. torque.

Power from the engine will also continue to be transmitted by the same six-speed automatic gearbox. This six-speed unit sends power either to the front wheels or all the wheels of the 2020 Buick Encore. The front-wheel drivetrain is offered as standard while the all-wheel-drive unit is available across the range except for the base 1SV model.

Models

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

MSRP

$24,195

20,290

$28,400

$21,895

Engine

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four

2.0-liter inline-four

1.5-liter twinpower turbo I3

1.4-liter I4

Transmission

6-speed automatic

Continuously variable transmission

7-speed automated manual

8-speed automatic Tiptronic

Horsepower

138 hp @ 4900 rpm

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

134 hp @ 4400 rpm

147 hp @ 5000 rpm

Torque

148 lb.-ft. @ 1850 rpm

132 lb.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

162 lb.-ft. @ 1250

184 lb.-ft. @ 1400 rpm

At 184 lb.-ft., the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen’s 1.4-liter four-pot is the most torquey of all subcompact crossovers. However, the Kia Soul GT-Line gets the biggest capacity powertrain in this lineup.

How fast is the Buick Encore?

With the 153 hp version of the Buick Encore’s 1.4-liter inline-four gone, this subcompact crossover is left only with the other, less potent avatar of that powertrain. That turbo-four is capable of producing 138 hp and 148 lb.-ft. torque, which might not seem like a lot and isn’t.

2020 Buick Encore SUV 0-60 MPH In just 10.0 Sec

This Buick feels zippy while getting off the line but the fire begins to fizzle as the revs start climbing. The six-speed automatic though appears to be well-organized. Its shifts are sorted and precise. This Buick, however, is actually only meant for city traffic.

Model

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

0-60 MPH

10.0

N/A

9.3

N/A

Quarter Mile

N/A

N/A

17.0

N/A

Engine

1.4L I4

2.0L I4

1.5L I4

1.4L I4

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 emissions @ 15K mi/yr)

6.6

5.9

6.1

5.5

No other subcompact crossover in this segment is as exciting as the Mini Countryman Cooper. Its 2.0-liter inline-four delivers peak low-end torque, making this Mini the most peppier of the lot.

What about the braking performance of the Buick Encore?

Braking on the 2020 Buick encore is adequate to say the least. Its pedal is soft and returns adequate response. That, however, works well only under sedate driving scenarios. The softness of the pedal can take away much of the confidence needed under emergency braking conditions.

2020 Buick Encore SUV Front Brake is 11.8 in.

Even the short wheelbase and tall ride-height can be uncomforting for the driver. These make the Encore dip ahead under panic braking. Again, this Buick proves that it is best-suited for jaunting around in the city only.

Model

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Brake front

(in.)

11.8

11.0

N/A

11.3

Brake Rear

(in.)

10.6

10.3

N/A

10.7

Curb Weight

(lbs.)

3237

2844

3422

2978

60-0 MPH (ft.)

126

N/A

126

N/A

Almost all the subcompact crossovers in this segment get similar sized brakes up front and at the fact. The only difference in their braking performance results from the amount of weight they carry. This way, the Mini Countryman Cooper really impresses. Even though it is heavier than the Encore, it manages to stop just as quickly as that Buick.

What about its driving dynamics?

The Buick Encore is all the more tightly packed for a subcompact crossover. This does make the Encore significantly fun to drive. Its shorter wheelbase gives it the kind of agility needed in city traffic. That, however, is the only hint of sportiness exhibited by this Buick.

2020 Buick Encore SUV Front View

It is slick to go around curves but the taller stance and weight will deter you from being too engaged. Even the suspension has been tuned to efficiently absorb bumps, which it does. That, however, doesn’t return the kind of confidence needed by the driver to charge in and out of twisty tracks.

2020 Buick Encore Fuel Economy

The 153 hp iteration of the Encore’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder was not only more powerful but also more efficient, and the 2020 Encore is neither. It manages to return maximum efficiency when paired with the standard front-wheel drive unit. The all-wheel driven variants of this Buick are further behind on their MPG ratings.

Model

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

MPG (city)

25

27

26

29

MPG (highway)

30

33

33

37

MPG (combined)

27

30

29

32

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

14.0

14.3

16.1

13.2

Range (city/highway) (miles)

350/420

386/472

419/531

383/488

The Buick Encore is not very fuel efficient as is proven by its MPG ratings. It does however get a fuel tank big enough to offer decent range. Also the fact that this Buick uses regular gas can help with savings during refueling. Yet no other subcompact crossover in this lineup is as efficient as the Mini Countryman Cooper.

2020 Buick Encore Interior

7.5/10

Not just the way this Buick drives but also its cabin states the Encore’s purpose of being a city ride only. Its seats lack the kind of support to prove comfortable over longer commutes. Passenger comfort in the second row is even more compromised courtesy its stunted wheelbase.

2020 Buick Encore SUV Front Seats

The only thing that actually impresses about this Buick’s cabin is the level of insulation and use of upscale materials. There is hardly any noise entering the cabin to add to the already existing discomfort of the occupants. Also the use of premium materials gives the cabin the refinement it otherwise lacks.

Model

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.6/54.2/40.8

39.4/55.5/41.1

40.5/54.8/40.4

38.6/55.9/41.2

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.8/52.5/35.8

39.5/54.7/38.8

38.3/54.0/37.6

38.6/53.9/35.6

No other subcompact crossover in this segment offers the kind of comfort for its occupants in the second row like the Kia Soul GT-Line. On the other hand, the Buick Encore’s cabin is the most cramped. This results from its wheelbase which is also the smallest in this segment.

Does it come loaded with tech inside?

All variants of the 2020 Buick Encore come equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit which is quite easy to use. This 8-inch unit showcases clear images and is also quite responsive. It includes features like:

  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Satellite Navigation
  • Bluetooth
  • Buick Connected Access
  • SiriusXM Radio

What about utility?

There are some cars out there that compromise space in the second row to maximize utility by freeing up space in the trunk. The Buick Encore is not one of those cars. It gets a small cabin in general and it can do nothing about it. Its small wheelbase not only results in a cramped second row but also frees up only so much space for the trunk.

2020 Buick Encore SUV Cargo Volume With Rear Seats Up is 18.8 cu ft.

Model

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Cargo Volume with rear seats up (ft.3)

18.8

24.2

17.6

30.4

At 30.4 cubic feet, the Hyundai Golf SportWagen’s trunk is the biggest in this segment. On the other hand, the Mini Countryman Cooper, which has the most accommodating cabin, gets the smallest boot. The Buick Encore’s utility is also well below average.

Creature comforts on offer in the Buick Encore

In order to keep occupants entertained during their short trips in this Buick, the Encore comes equipped with comfort features like:

  • 120-volt power outlet
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • 6-speaker audio system
  • 6-way power driver’s seat
  • Single-zone manual climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt/telescoping steering column
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Interior

2020 Buick Encore Exterior

The Buick Encore might suffer in performance, efficiency and usability but manages to do well in terms of external styling. It looks a lot more sporty than it actually is. The stubby exterior does, however, highlight the burden that this Buick can be.

2020 Buick Encore Three Quarter View

Up front, the winged grille and lower set air-inlets enhance the purpose that does not exist in reality. At the sides, not just the fenders but the entire shoulder line bulges out to highlight this Buick’s heft. The tail is that of a typical subcompact crossover but features a roof spoiler for added dramatics.

Model

Buick Encore

Kia Soul GT-Line

MINI Countryman Cooper

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3237

2844

3422

2978

Length (in.)

168.4

165.2

169.8

179.8

Width (in.)

70.1

70.9

71.7

70.8

Height (in.)

65.3

63.0

61.3

58.3

Ground Clearance (in.)

6.2

6.7

6.5

5.4

Wheelbase (in.)

100.6

102.4

105.1

103.5

Track Width (in.) F/R

60.6/60.6

62.0/62.4

61.5/61.6

61.0/59.9

The Mini Countryman Cooper might be the heaviest of the lot but that does not affect this Mini’s performance or efficiency. It is also the most accommodating. On the other hand, the Encore appears to be big on the outside but is actually just that much smaller inside.

What are those eye catching features?

The Buick Encore sure looks good but hardly anything about it is exceptionally impressive. Its most noticeable design elements include:

  • 18-inch aluminum wheels
  • Halogen headlamps
  • Signature LED DRLs
  • Rear spoiler
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior
2020 Buick Encore SUV Exterior

2020 Buick Encore Safety

Authorities are yet to test the 2020 Buick Encore for the kind of safety it offers in a crash. Still it gets safety features like:

  • 10 airbags
  • ABS
  • LATCH
  • Rear vision camera
  • Traction control
  • Electronic stability control
  • Tire pressure monitor

2020 Buick Encore Competition

Buick Encore vs. Kia Soul GT-Line

A sober, laid-back subcompact crossover is not supposed to be a trailblazer and neither the Encore nor the Soul GT-Line are. They are, however, supposed to offer decent practicality and this where the Encore takes a huge hit. The Kia Soul GT-Line manages to undermine the Encore in every considerable aspect. Not only is it less expensive, its bigger 2.0-liter four-cylinder is also less polluting besides other advantages over that Buick.

2020  Kia Soul GT-Line

Buick Encore vs. Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Even the Golf SportWagen completely undermines Encore’s existence. Not only does it look a lot more functional than the Encore, it actually is. Yes, the second row of this Golf is about as uncomfortable as the Encore’s but everything else is a lot more usable. The Golf SportWagen is more powerful, more economical and at the same time less expensive than the Buick Encore.

2020 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

 

2020 Buick Encore Final Verdict

The Buick Encore does a couple of things right. Take for consideration the way it drives which is very well suited for jostling around town. However, the shortcomings far outweigh the upsides. It is uncomfortable and inefficient. Besides being an easy driver, the only thing that impresses about the Encore is the way it presents itself.