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2018 Buick Encore KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.0 / 10
This Car - 2018 Buick Encore
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Consumer Rating 8.9 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

The 2018 Buick Encore delivers upscale features and style in a compact-crossover SUV as attractive to first-time buyers as it is longtime Buick devotees looking to downsize. Sharing its platform with the Chevrolet Trax, the Encore plays in the same segment as the Mini Countryman and Jeep Renegade Limited. Some might even compare it to small-luxury-crossover SUVs like the Infiniti QX30. While interior space is not huge, there’s good legroom front and rear plus a modest cargo area. The Encore’s optional all-wheel drive alleviates winter-road-trip worries, and in good weather helps improve handling on dry pavement. The Encore also recently garnered a top spot on KBB’s Best Compact Crossover 5-Year Cost to Own list.

You'll Like This Car If...

Looking to downsize but still want full-size luxury, comfort and amenities? The 2018 Buick Encore may be exactly what you’re looking for. Excellent fuel-economy figures and loads of high-tech options further bolster a case for this little Buick.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Though priced slightly higher than the Kia Soul, Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3, most will find the Encore delivers a lot of car for the money. Those needing maximum space in a small-crossover SUV will be happier shopping a Subaru Crosstrek, Honda CR-V or Jeep Compass.

What's New for 2018

For 2018 the compact Buick Encore SUV gains an ionizing interior air filter, capless fuel fill and HD radio.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Using the best of GM’s global architecture to its advantage, the 2018 Buick Encore delivers a world-class driving experience that belies its small size. The Encore’s European-derived suspension has been adjusted to suit American tastes without giving up much in the way of direct feedback, agile handling and adept cornering. If there’s one weak spot in the Encore’s performance, however, it can be found under the hood. The 1.4-liter Ecotec engine is turbocharged for added get-up-and-go, but once additional passengers start piling in, the little engine begins to bog down. Optional all-wheel drive adds even more weight, but its added traction makes it a must-have for anyone enduring regular run-ins with Old Man Winter. For an additional $900, buyers can upgrade to a slightly more powerful version of the 1.4, but only on the Sport Touring and higher trims. Fuel-economy figures for both engines are near the top of its class.

Favorite Features

In keeping with Buick’s exacting standards for interior quiet, the Encore comes with Active Noise Cancellation that uses the car’s speakers to send out sound-cancelling sound waves. Ample insulation and Buick’s Quiet Tuning engineering combine to make the Encore one of the quietest small SUVs on the road.

Offering maximum traction in any weather situation, the Encore’s Active On-Demand all-wheel drive works by detecting wheel slip and routing power to the wheel or wheels with the best traction. When not needed, the Encore reverts to front-drive mode which helps maximize fuel economy.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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