Top Buick Encore Years to Avoid & Better Alternatives

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When it comes to finding the perfect compact SUV, the Buick Encore often pops up on many shoppers’ lists. It’s known for its upscale interior, smooth ride, and compact size that makes city driving a breeze. However, like any vehicle, not all years of the Encore are created equal. Some years have proven to be more reliable than others, making them better choices for those looking to invest in a used model.

We’ve taken a closer look at the Buick Encore’s history to pinpoint which years might be best to avoid and why. It’s important to go into the buying process armed with the right information to ensure you’re making a wise investment. So, let’s dive into the details and help you navigate the waters of purchasing a used Buick Encore.

Understanding the Buick Encore

In our journey through the world of used Buick Encores, it’s crucial to grasp the essence of what makes this compact SUV a choice that’s both appealing and daunting for potential buyers. Known for its premium interior features, comfortable ride, and compact size perfect for urban environments, the Buick Encore stands out in the crowded SUV market. However, not all models are created equal, and understanding the variations across different years can significantly impact your buying decision.

First, let’s talk performance. The Encore’s engine lineup and fuel efficiency have seen changes over the years, with earlier models typically featuring less powerful engines and the newer ones improving in both power and efficiency. This evolution underscores the importance of looking at the specific year to match your performance expectations.

Next up, safety features. Advances in safety technology have been significant, with recent models boasting enhanced safety options like forward collision alert and lane departure warning. These innovations mean that newer models tend to offer better protection, a key aspect to consider for those prioritizing safety.

Lastly, reliability plays a vital role in the decision-making process. Certain years have been flagged for recurring issues, such as transmission problems or electrical system malfunctions, which can lead to costly repairs. Paying attention to reliability ratings and recall histories for different years can save you from unexpected headaches down the road.

In sum, understanding the Buick Encore involves looking at its performance, safety features, and reliability across different years. This comprehensive approach ensures that when you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll find a vehicle that not only meets your criteria for luxury and comfort but also aligns with your expectations for reliability and safety. By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be better equipped to choose an Encore that stands the test of time.

Common Issues with Buick Encore Models

Building on our exploration of the Buick Encore’s evolution across different model years, we encounter various issues that have emerged with specific models. Recognizing these common problems can guide buyers in sidestepping models that might require costly repairs or frequent maintenance. Here, we outline the key issues reported by Encore owners and mechanics.

Engine Problems: Owners of some Buick Encore years reported engine-related issues, such as decreased power and rough idling. Notably, the 2013 and 2014 models drew attention for engine misfires and oil consumption problems. These issues often necessitate visits to a mechanic for diagnosis and repair, potentially incurring significant costs.

Transmission Concerns: Another area of concern involves the transmission. The 2013 model year has been identified for having transmission glitches, including hard shifts and the transmission slipping. Such problems can diminish the driving experience and lead to hefty repair bills if components need replacing.

Electrical Issues: Electrical glitches have also surfaced, particularly in the 2015 and 2016 models. Reports include faulty sensors, issues with the infotainment system, and malfunctioning climate controls. Electrical problems can be particularly vexing to diagnose and rectify, adding to ownership frustrations.

Suspension Complaints: Some Buick Encore drivers have experienced suspension troubles, marked by noises and a less comfortable ride. The 2013 through 2015 models are most often cited for these suspension concerns, which can affect the vehicle’s overall comfort and handling capabilities.

Recognizing these patterns, buyers can more confidently navigate the market for a used Buick Encore. By avoiding years with notable issues, you can ensure a purchase that aligns closer with your expectations for luxury, comfort, and reliability. Ensuring you’re equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be better positioned to select a model year that offers a smoother, more dependable driving experience.

Buick Encore Years to Avoid

Building on the insights from prior discussions, we’ve identified specific Buick Encore model years that prospective buyers might want to steer clear of, primarily due to the prevalence of certain issues. Recognizing these concerns, such as engine troubles, transmission glitches, electrical problems, and suspension woes, allows us to narrow down our list.

The 2013 Buick Encore emerges as the top year to avoid. This model year is notorious for its engine and transmission issues, which could lead to costly repairs or reduced reliability on the road. Owners have reported engine stalls and hesitations, alongside transmission slippage, which significantly impair the vehicle’s performance and driving experience.

Following closely, the 2014 model year also presents concerns, especially with its engine problems. Despite being slightly better than its predecessor in terms of transmission complaints, it still shares a vulnerability to engine malfunctions that can disrupt a smooth driving experience.

Electrical issues primarily plague the 2015 and 2016 Buick Encore. These models have seen complaints regarding the car’s electrical system, affecting components like the infotainment, lighting, and sometimes even the vehicle’s starter system. These electrical glitches can not only be frustrating but may also contribute to safety concerns.

The 2013 through 2015 models draw attention for their suspension complaints as well. Affected vehicles may experience a less comfortable ride, which detracts from the Encore’s reputation for smooth handling and comfort.

In light of these insights, our recommendations suggest avoiding the Buick Encore models from 2013, 2014, especially due to their engine and transmission issues, and to a lesser extent, the 2015 and 2016 models, given their electrical problems. Opting for a model year outside this range could enhance your chances of enjoying the luxury, comfort, and reliability Buick aims to deliver with the Encore.

Safer Buick Encore Alternatives

Having explored the Buick Encore years to avoid, it’s crucial to highlight safer alternatives that maintain or exceed the luxury, comfort, and reliability standards expected of such vehicles. Our focus shifts to vehicles that have demonstrated fewer reliability concerns, better performance, and superior safety features.

  • Mazda CX-5: Recognized for its upscale interior and impressive safety scores, the CX-5 stands out as a strong competitor. It’s not just about good looks; its performance and reliability ratings consistently surpass expectations, making it a worthy alternative.
  • Honda CR-V: With its spacious cabin and robust reliability record, the CR-V secures its position as a leading option for those seeking an alternative. Its safety features and driver-assistance technologies offer peace of mind, complementing its reputation for durability.
  • Toyota RAV4: The RAV4’s commitment to safety is evident in its array of standard safety features and strong reliability scores. Its blend of efficiency, space, and off-road capability provides a versatile option for individuals and families alike.
  • Hyundai Tucson: Offering a balance of comfort, style, and technology, the Tucson impresses with its comprehensive warranty and high safety ratings. It’s an appealing choice for buyers prioritizing value without compromising on safety and reliability.
  • Subaru Forester: Known for its standard all-wheel drive and excellent visibility, the Forester is a prime pick for safety-conscious drivers. Its track record for safety and reliability, combined with spacious interiors, makes it a solid alternative to the Encore.

Selecting any of these alternatives ensures access to a vehicle that excels in safety, reliability, and overall driving experience. Through careful consideration of these options, buyers can enjoy the benefits of owning a compact SUV without the concerns highlighted in certain Buick Encore model years.

How to Check a Buick Encore Before Purchase

Following our discussion on the Buick Encore’s pitfalls and exploring safer alternatives, it’s crucial to know how to inspect a Buick Encore before making a purchase, especially if you’re considering years that generally fare better in reliability and performance. Let’s delve into key aspects to inspect closely.

Review Service Records

Firstly, examine the car’s service records meticulously. These documents offer invaluable insight into the vehicle’s maintenance history, indicating regular oil changes, part replacements, and any major repairs that have occurred. A well-documented service history typically signifies a well-maintained vehicle, which can alleviate concerns over lingering issues from problematic model years.

Conduct a Thorough Exterior and Interior Inspection

Checking the exterior involves looking for any signs of rust, damage to the bodywork, or inconsistencies in paint that might suggest accident repairs. Inside, assess the wear and tear on seats, functionality of all electronic components, and confirm that all safety features are operational. This step ensures you’re not overlooking potential costs associated with cosmetic or functional repairs.

Test Drive the Vehicle

A test drive isn’t just about seeing if you like the drive; it’s an opportunity to listen for unusual noises that might indicate underlying problems, such as suspension issues noted in the 2013 through 2015 models. Pay attention to how the Encore handles, brakes, and shifts to catch any performance red flags early on.

Request a Professional Inspection

Lastly, investing in a professional inspection can unearth hidden problems that untrained eyes may miss. Mechanics can check for common Encore issues like those engine and transmission concerns in the 2013 model year. They can also assess the overall health of the vehicle and provide a comprehensive report, giving you peace of mind or negotiating leverage.

By performing these checks, you increase your chances of finding a Buick Encore that avoids the typical pitfalls of certain model years, ensuring you enjoy the vehicle’s upscale interior and smooth ride without unwelcome surprises.


We’ve walked you through the ups and downs of the Buick Encore, pinpointing those years it’s best to steer clear of. It’s not all about caution, though. We’ve also shone a light on some stellar alternatives that promise reliability and satisfaction. Remember, if your heart’s set on the Encore, there’s a smart way to go about it. Inspecting the car thoroughly and getting those service records can save you a world of trouble down the road. So whether you’re opting for an Encore or considering our recommended alternatives, we’re here to ensure your journey to finding the perfect ride is smooth and informed. Happy car hunting!

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Warren A. Holden

Warren A. Holden, the visionary behind Drive Cruise, is a dynamic automotive enthusiast driven by an unwavering passion for cars and a profound desire to create a unique space for fellow enthusiasts.