The Worst Buick Encore Model Year You Should Never Buy

General Motors has been producing the Buick Encore since 2012. Buick’s first luxury subcompact crossover offers mid-priced luxury that this brand has been known for. At the somewhat more expensive end of the subcompact SUV segment, the Encore is in good company with rivals like the Mazda CX-3 and the Mini Countryman.

If you’d like some comfort in a very small SUV, the Encore might be a good fit. And while you can save some money by buying a secondhand model, suggests that you should stay clear of the worst model year overall for the Buick Encore.

The worst and the most complained-about Encore, both in one model year

The 2014 Buick Encore had 85 owner complaints, the most of all model years. To pile insult onto injury, this model year was also named the worst by Car Complaints due to how severe its problems were and the low mileage at which they occurred.

When a model year is this bad, it helps to sort out its issues carefully. We’ll first look at the worst problem category, which is the 2014 Encore’s interior accessories. Doing this will help us to understand why this model year is the worst.

Non-functioning door locks are at the top of the list of the Encore’s interior accessories problems. Encore owners reported that they couldn’t unlock the door using the key fob. Buick dealerships offered no real explanation as to why this happened.

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

Owners also complained about the dimming of dash gauges and display panels. Some owners had difficulty reading the displays in the daytime and others had trouble at night. Despite their concern about how unsafe these problems were, dealerships were unable to come up with a solution.

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

A few owners suspected that defects in the Encore’s electrical system were the underlying cause of these problems. They may have been right because the one National Highway Traffic Safety Administration complaint in this category was labeled 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 severity rating of “really awful.”

The Encore’s electrical system is also central to this car’s most-reported problem. This problem, along with the number of problems occurring at such low mileage numbers, contributed to making this model year the worst of all.

The most-reported problem

Owners complained the most about one problem: the Buick Encore’s dead battery. For several owners, it died after being jump-started two or three times. Others replaced the battery, and then the second one died. This problem occurred on average at 12,100 miles.

Although Buick couldn’t provide a solution to the problem, some owners were convinced that the failing battery’s root cause lay at the electrical system. In fact, NHTSA received six complaints related to the Encore’s defective electrical system. 

One injury was reported to NHTSA also. On average, these problems happened at 14,833 miles. The severity rating was the worst at “really awful.”

Other Buick Encore model years that are better

By now, it’s pretty clear that the 2014 Encore is the one model year that 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 Buick Encore has far fewer problems as do the 2018 and 2019 model years. These are the model years to check out the next time you’re shopping for a used Buick Encore.