Buick Earned a Surprising Spot on This Consumer Reports List

Despite only receiving minor updates for 2021, the Buick lineup is still a great collection of powerful and reliable vehicles. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, it’s one of the most dependable brands out of every automaker. The Buick Encore tied in second place with the Lexus NX on a list of the most reliable 2021 models.

The Buick Encore is one of the most popular Buick models, improved with more safety options for 2021. What else did Consumer Reports enjoy about the newest Buick Encore?

Stellar reliability score

Despite having a lower overall score than the Lexus NX, the Buick Encore is still just as reliable. The Encore is 91% more reliable than several other popular rivals from Audi and BMW. No trouble spots have been reported yet, but its track record has been spotless since 2018.

However, Consumer Reports collected several complaints from owners with an Encore from 2017 or earlier. Owners say that the cabin is exceptionally noisy with the windows down, producing an abnormal thumping noise. One driver also reported that an engine harness failure caused the car’s battery to deplete prematurely.

All the infotainment equipment and safety features seem to operate well after extended use. Still, since engine problems are a major trouble spot, you’d better stick with a more recent Encore year if buying used.

The Buick Encore is pleasant to drive

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Consumer Reports found that the Buick Encore is a quiet driver in any situation thanks to its advanced noise-canceling technology. The suspension absorbs many large bumps, better than many other subcompact SUVs Consumer Reports had tested. It’s definitely not very agile, but the Encore’s small size makes it easy to squeeze into tight parking spaces.

The backseat is also fairly accommodating for adults, but the middle rider might feel a bit snug. Testers weren’t fans of the manual reclining seat lever, but the 2021 model now offers power-adjustable seats as standard equipment. 

The 2021 Buick Encore does have its shortcomings

Despite having a smooth ride, there are plenty of reasons why you might not want to drive the Buick Encore. While the interior is quieter than most subcompacts, the engine can still get noisy when pushed too hard. The Encore’s only engine option is a 1.4-liter turbo-four that makes 138 hp.

As you might expect, it struggles to propel a vehicle that’s as heavy as the Encore. It has a leisurely 0-60 mph time of 11 seconds, making it the slowest car in its class. Its fuel economy is also only average for a subcompact, so it’s not even a fair tradeoff.

Testers also didn’t think that the Buick Encore’s interior was very comfortable. There’s decent headroom in the cabin, but it’s still tight enough that front-seat occupants might bump shoulders. The seat cushions are decently comfortable, but feel too narrow and don’t provide much thigh support.

Some drivers might also be uncomfortable due to the Buick Encore’s high seating position. You’ll have to hunch over if you’re of above-average height and there’s not much legroom under the wheel. Thankfully, it has a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel to free up extra wiggle room.

However, there’s no way to fix the visibility problems that plague the Buick Encore. The bases of the windshield on both ends of the SUV are too thick, creating numerous blind spots. The rear headrests also obscure the driver’s vision, making the standard backup camera a necessity. 

All of these minor annoyances combined with the 2021 Buick Encore’s high price point definitely disappoint some drivers. Only half of its owners said they would purchase the car again. However, if you want reliability and aren’t too concerned with performance, the Buick Encore is a decent choice.