The Worst Buick Encore Model Year You Should Never Buy

General Motors has been producing the Buick Encore since 2012. Buick’s first subcompact crossover offers the mid-priced luxury consumers expect from the brand. At the more expensive end of the subcompact SUV segment, the Encore competes against rivals like the Mazda CX-30 and Mini Cooper Countryman. But Buick Encore problems and complaints plague one model year. Here’s more about this small SUV, including our Buick Encore reviews.

Buick Encore problems and complaints plague 1 model year

2014 Buick Encore problems and complaints; Buick Encore reviews
2014 Buick Encore | Buick

The 2014 Buick Encore has notched over a hundred owner complaints, more than all other model years, on CarComplaints.com. To add insult to injury, CarComplaints.com names this model year the worst due to the severity of problems and the low mileage they occur.

When a model year is this bad, it’s a good idea to sort out the problems carefully. We’ll first look at the most problematic category: the 2014 Encore’s interior accessories. Doing this will help you understand why this model year is the worst.

Door lock problems

Non-functioning door locks top the list of 2014 Buick Encore interior accessories problems. Encore owners reported they couldn’t unlock the door using the key fob. Buick dealerships offered no real explanation for why that issue happened.

Although no information is available about the average repair cost for the door lock problem, the average mileage at which it occurred is startling at 22,550 miles. CarComplaints.com gave it a severity rating of “pretty bad.”

Dimming dashboard displays

Owners also complained about dimming dash gauges and display panels. Some owners had difficulty reading the displays in the daytime, and others had trouble even at night. Despite drivers’ concerns about the safety of these problems, Buick didn’t provide a solution.

As with the door lock problem, no specific repair cost information is available. The average mileage when these problems happened was 16,500 miles for the fading display panels and a shocking 50 miles for the dimming dash gauges.

Electrical system issues

A few owners suspected that defects in the 2014 Buick Encore’s electrical system were the underlying cause of these problems. They might have been right because the one National Highway Traffic Safety Administration complaint in this category is filed as an electrical equipment problem. The owner reported that the rear-camera display took up to 15 minutes to light up, rendering this safety feature useless. The problem occurred with 50 miles on the odometer and received a CarComplaints.com severity rating of “really awful.”

In addition, the 2014 Encore’s electrical system is central to this SUV’s most-reported problem. That issue, along with the number of problems occurring at such low mileage, has made this model year the worst.

The biggest complaint about the 2014 model

Owners complained the most about one problem: the Buick Encore’s dead battery. For several drivers, it died after being jump-started two or three times. Others replaced the battery, only for it to die. The problem occurred on average at 12,100 miles.

Although Buick didn’t offer a solution, some owners were sure the failing battery’s cause lay in the electrical system. The NHTSA received six owner complaints about the 2014 Encore’s defective electrical system. 

Also, one owner reported an injury to the NHTSA. On average, these problems happened at 14,833 miles. CarComplaints.com issued a severity rating of “really awful.”

Buick Encore reviews suggest more recent model years are better

By now, it’s pretty clear the 2014 Buick Encore is the one model year you should never buy. The 2015 model has some of the same interior accessories problems as the previous model year, and the 2017 model has similar engine issues, so you might want to avoid those too. 

But the 2016 Encore — as well as the 2018 and 2019 models — have far fewer problems than the 2014.

In addition, you could do much worse than the 2020 Encore. It offers good reliability at a reasonable price for what it offers. Read our full 2020 Buick Encore review for more details.

And the 2021 model beat the Mercedes-Benz GLA in Consumer Reports testing. Check out our 2021 Buick Encore review, which says, “The Encore scores points for an upscale interior, with first-class wood paneling, chrome styling, and splendid stitchwork. And Consumer Reports notes its system is easy to use, especially when using voice commands.”

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