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Buick Encores have been some of the most reliable cars on the road for the past decade, and the 2020 model is no different. Initial reports delivered the type of verdict you might expect from Buick: it’s not going to break any style records, but it’s comfortable and smooth.

In an uncertain economy, the most important feature of a car may simply be that you can enjoy driving it for the next decade. The 2020 Encore fits that criteria better than nearly anything on the market.

What’s new with the 2020 Buick Encore?

The Encore’s most noticeable change from previous years is the discontinuation of the 153-horsepower turbocharged engine option. While this feature was standard on the Encore through the 2019 model, Buick has chosen to leave it off the 2020.

It’s never exciting to see a feature go away, but it makes sense. The Encore aims for a niche spot in the subcompact SUV market: high reliability and a reasonable price. As much fun as a turbocharge can be, it’s understandable that Buick would want to pass the savings on to the consumer.

U.S. News recently compared the Encore to two similar models, the Chevrolet Trax and the Honda HR-V. The Trax hasn’t received the best reviews, and U.S. News pointed out many places the Encore beats it.

Aside from a slightly lower price, the Encore outclasses the Trax in nearly every category. The HR-V scores slightly higher, with sharper steering and better fuel economy. But the pure reliability of the Encore and its more extensive feature set push it ahead of its competitors.

Buick’s place in the modern SUV market

For more than 60 years, Buick has been at the forefront of the auto industry. Sometimes it’s with futuristic concepts whose features end up standard across the board, and sometimes it’s with plain reliability.

The 2020 Encore falls into the latter group. The strong build of the car at a reasonable price point means it’s the best trade-off between value and reliability for many consumers. It doesn’t have the low price of the Chevrolet Trax or the fuel economy of the HR-V, but it’s better than average in nearly every category.

Even for a manufacturer that’s built a reputation on reliability, all of Buick’s 2020 models haven’t exactly been hits. The Enclave is an entry into the SUV market that fell remarkably flat.

Even in 2020, the Enclave suffers from low gas mileage, transmission issues, and a high price. Luckily, these issues don’t seem to persist with Buick’s other large offerings. The 2020 Encore is a great example of how you can’t judge one model from a manufacturer based on the failings of another.

The challenges of pursuing “reliability”

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In designing and manufacturing the 2020 Encore, Buick had to walk a fine line. It’s difficult to produce a vehicle that, by design, no one is really going to be excited about. But more than ever, driving a reliable vehicle is much more of a necessity than riding in style could ever be.

Buick embraced their position as the manufacturer of the unexciting Encore, and they’ve produced a vehicle that truly lives up to the non-existent hype. 

Generally, subcompact SUVs are designed from the ground up to be reliable and useful. Aside from some of the more high-end manufacturer’s offerings, new SUV designs are concerned with providing the most value for the consumer’s dollar and ensuring the vehicle lasts a long time. When reliability and value are the goal, the Encore does the impossible for something in its class: it stands out.


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