The 2022 Buick Encore Isn’t Getting the Big Changes It Needs

The Buick Encore is a classy option from Buick in the subcompact SUV segment, and it recently got some changes with its 2022 model year. That said, rather than fully redesigning the Encore, Buick made smaller changes, and they may not be enough. Here’s a look at how the 2022 Buick Encore still doesn’t have the big changes that it needs right now.

What’s new with the 2022 Buick Encore?

A 2022 Buick Encore compact SUV model parked near a store on a cobblestone road
2022 Buick Encore | Buick Pressroom

As MotorTrend wrote, there are a few updates to the 2022 Encore, some having to do with its interior and others having to do with its powertrain. As far as interior upgrades go, the 2022 Encore has a new electric heater, and it’ll also have new map pockets for the first-row seatbacks. Additionally, Buick made a more significant change to the Encore’s powertrain. That said, that change probably isn’t significant enough.

The 2022 Encore has a new 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4 engine. This engine gets about 155 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, and that’s a bit more than what the 2021 Encore got. In fact, MotorTrend wrote that the new turbo engine delivers about 17 more horsepower and 29 lb-ft of torque, more than the 2021 Encore. 

This updated engine should also be a bit more fuel-efficient than before. MotorTrend said that the Encore’s new engine gets about 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on highways, for 27 mpg combined. For comparison, the old Encore engine got about 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. While those improvements are nice, they are definitely not enough.

A new generation is sorely needed

Technically speaking, the Encore had a major update already. However, as MotorTrend wrote, the second generation update is currently only available in China. American customers who are looking at the Encore are still looking at the first generation of the car. Indeed, the first generation of the Encore debuted in the U.S. about eight years ago. Buick gave the Encore a small update in 2017, but that’s not enough to keep it fresh.

MotorTrend wrote that the Encore feels “a bit out of its depth” right now. It has many issues that can really only be fixed with a new generation. For example, despite the much-needed updates to the Encore’s powertrain, the Encore is still very underpowered. The Encore’s peers have sportier engines, which makes the Encore seem like a worse option in comparison.

On top of that, MotorTrend also praised the second generation Encore’s looks. MotorTrend wrote that, compared to the “potato-shaped” Encore that’s available in the U.S., China has access to an Encore that has “more personality” and is “better looking.” If Buick redesigned the Encore with a new look and a more powerful powertrain or brought over the second generation from China, it could compete more easily with its peers.

How much the 2022 Buick Encore costs

Buick made one more significant change to the 2022 Encore. According to Motor1, Buick’s dropped the base trim for the 2022 Encore, and now it only has one trim available. The Preferred trim starts at about $24,000, but customers can pay about $2,000 more to upgrade it from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive.

In any case, the standard Encore does have quite a few features that’ll make it a worthy pick, even despite its issues. For example, as MotorTrend wrote, the Encore features active noise cancellation tech. When combined with the Encore’s quiet little engine, customers can cruise around in a quiet and comfortable SUV.

That said, to access smart safety features like forward collision warning and lane departure warning, customers will have to buy one of two safety packages.

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