The 2020 Buick Encore SUV is the smallest in the Buick lineup. It does an admirable job mimicking the faux-luxury feel its bigger siblings, the Envision & Enclave. The interior is spacious, comfortable, and well-equipped with enough space for four people. The Encore does not offer the luxury level of comfort that is expected for its class. The Encore is a bridge between high-end players such as the Lexus NX or BMW X1 in its size range and lower-priced options like Honda, Chevrolet, and Nissan.
What’s new for 2020?
The 2020 Encore pricing is the same as 2019. The most significant loss in 2020 Encore pricing is the drop of the turbocharged 1.3L inline-4 engine with 153 horsepower. Instead, Buick offers the smaller, 138-hp engine. The Sport Touring’s equipment list is affected by the loss of navigation, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and its auto dimming rearview mirror.
The Encore Sport Touring with all wheel drive is our pick, despite the many equipment reductions for 2020. This trim level adds visual touches to the exterior, such as a rear spoiler or 18-inch gray-painted tires. Encores come standard with an 8.0 inch infotainment screen with Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capabilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Active noise cancellation and passive entry with push button start are other standard features.
Engine, Transmission, & Performance
The Encore does not offer the 153-hp version the 1.4-liter four cylinder engine. Instead, 2020 will be the year of the 138-hp engine. Although we haven’t tried the Encore with the base engine 138-hp, the Chevrolet Trax comes with this engine and produced a comfortable result of 9.3 seconds.
The Encore’s passengers sit high up on a short wheelbase. This gives it a heavier feel than its lower-set counterparts like the Mazda CX-3. As a result, it leans more in corners. Although the steering is not engaging or well-weighted, it’s precise and will appeal to buyers looking for a small crossover that offers comfort. The Encore’s suspension absorbs bumps well, and is able to dampen any harsh impacts.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
Although we haven’t tested the 138-hp Encore in real-world fuel economy, their EPA ratings are below those of competitors like the Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX3 as well as the Nissan Kicks. The front-drive Encore gets 25 mpg in city, 30 mpg highway. While the all-wheel-drive Encore is rated at 24 mpg city and 29 mpg highway according to the EPA.
Interior, Comfort, & Cargo
The Encore’s compact interior is almost premium, with a few exceptions. The door panels and lower console are made of hard plastics. Our test vehicle’s center stack was glossy black and didn’t match the glossy gray doors. The soft-touch armrests and dash pads provide an elegant atmosphere. Jewel-colored accents and a flush-mounted infotainment touchscreen create a more sophisticated ambience. Front-seat layout is excellent, with simple controls and redundant knobs on your dash for climate control. The high seating and comfortable driving position were appreciated by us, however larger drivers might find the bottom of the seat too narrow.
The Encore’s abilities as a utility vehicle are evident from its performance in our carry-on testing: It was able to hold 20 suitcases when the rear seats were folded. The interior dimensions of the tiny Buick, its difficult-to-fold rear seats, and lackluster storage space for small items make it a disappointing choice.
Infotainment & Connectivity
The Encore is equipped with a variety of tech goodies including an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment screen (called IntelliLink) with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 4G LTE data connection with Wi-Fi. Optional navigation with live traffic and weather updates. Standard equipment includes a six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite broadcast radio. It can stream audio via Bluetooth, USB or an auxiliary input Jack to smart devices. A Bose premium audio set with seven speakers is also available.