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AUTO REVIEW: 2019 Buick Encore Essence AWD: The Brand’s Entry-Level Luxury Subcompact Crossover/SUV

NNPA NEWSWIRE — For buyers seeking a highly affordable subcompact crossover, with premium luxury features, that can easily slide into parking spaces and navigate narrow city streets, the Encore fits the bill.




By Jeff Fortson of

Highlight: The Encore shares a platform with the Chevy Trax.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $34,875 (Base Model: $24,195)

Seating Capacity: 4

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; traction control system; a back up camera; and a tire pressure monitor system

Standard Equipment (Encore): 18-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission;a single zone a/c; a push button ignition starter system; in-vehicle Wi-Fi; heated front seats; power front driver’s seat; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a leather wrapped steering wheel; and front seat passenger under seat storage; and a luggage rack

Standard Equipment (Essence): all-wheel drive; a dual zone automatic a/c; cargo cover; floormats; 2-position memory driver’s setting; a 120-volt power outlet; power front passenger seat; an electronic blind zone alert system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a heated steering wheel; an automatic rearview dimming mirror; a rear traffic cross alert system; and LED headlamps

Options on Test Vehicle: rain sensing windshield wipers; front and rear parking assist system; a forward collision alert system; air cleaner; a lane departure warning system; a power moonroof; a Bose premium HD radio; and a turbo engine with a stop/start fuel saving feature

Other Trim Levels: Encore, Preferred, Sport Touring

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/SiriusXM with a satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Android/Apple CarPlay: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder/138-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/30-hwy

What’s New: With the exception of a few package tweaks, the Encore is a carryover for the 2019 model year.

Why: For buyers seeking a highly affordable subcompact crossover, with premium luxury features, that can easily slide into parking spaces and navigate narrow city streets, the Encore fits the bill.

Buick’s popular compact crossover is available in a front wheel drive and an all-wheel drive configuration, depending on the trim.

Buyers can expect for the four-seater crossover to retain the comfort, the ride quality and the quiet-tuned ride one has come to expect from Buick.

In the higher level trim we reviewed, which was known as the Essence, before options the vehicle priced-out under $32,000. Some of those must-have standard amenities included leather seats, heated front seats, a dual zone ventilation system, an in-vehicle WiFi system, a blind spot lane changing system, a rear camera and a 4-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

In our opinion, that’s a lot of bang for the buck for consumers looking for an elevated view of the road, when behind the wheel.

Our test vehicle was outfitted with an optional, high-performance engine, which produced 153-horsepower and an 8-inch infotainment screen. The infotainment screen housed the audio, navigation and ventilation systems.

But: Due to the compact size the cargo area and the legroom could be very limiting for rear occupants, especially, if the front seat occupants have their seats slid back. And the driver’s vision could be somehwhat impeded, when the vehicle is placed in reverse. We found the rear camera to be somewhat grainy. We’re going to lend it to the camera needing to be sanitized, as a result of the rain.

Moreover, the base Encore trim is only available in a front wheel drive configuration only.

Lastly, the areas near the floorboard seemed quite drafty like an older home. More insulation needs to inserted or embedded inside the driver’s door panel. And the optional premium sound system was somewhat spotty. We contacted SiriusXM hotline for assistance. Unfortunately, whatever internal procedures GM’s Onstar service performed to reset the satellite system, it did not resolve the issue.

Verdict: For buyers seeking luxury in an affordable, pint-sized package, the Encore is the perfect ride. It’s great for first-time buyers, empty nesters or seniors.

Competition: Audi Q3 and Mazda CX-3

About the Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is the host of SiriusXM Channel 141 “Auto Trends with”  It is a weekly multicultural automotive radio show, which includes in depth conversations with today’s influencers and pioneers. For more details about the show and a new-vehicle pricing guide, cruise over to


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