Quietly efficient and enjoyably sporty.

2021 Buick Encore Review: Hero | CarMax

The 2021 Buick Encore has a firm hold on the features that elevate passenger comfort, as well as the dimensions and performance expected from a practical, subcompact SUV. A simplified trim selection for 2021, some eye-catching new paint options, and a pleasing set of interior features confirm for an enjoyable everyday drive. The turbocharged engine and spacious dimensions ensure its credentials as a road-responsive and capable utility vehicle. Buick has delivered, once again.

While we currently do not have many 2021 Buick Encores on our lots, we look forward to selling more in the future. If you love the 2021 model, you should also consider prior model years of the Buick Encore with similar features.

Here's what you'll learn in this 2021 Buick Encore review:

Key Specs & Features


2021 Buick Encore Review: Engine | CarMax
  • The 2021 Encore with 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and standard front-wheel drive delivers an EPA-estimated 27 mpg combined.1
  • The 2021 Encore with 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and optional all-wheel drive delivers an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined.1

Cargo Space:

  • 18.8 cu-ft of cargo volume behind rear seats
  • 48.4 cu-ft of cargo volume with rear seats folded down

Seating Capacity:

2021 Buick Encore Review: Front seats | CarMax
  • The 2021 Buick Encore seats five passengers.
2021 Buick Encore Review: Backseats | CarMax

Engine Options:

  • The 2021 Buick Encore is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with six-speed automatic transmission, generating 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.

Tech Features:

2021 Buick Encore Review: Cell | CarMax
  • Two USB ports, and auxiliary input jack
  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto compatibility
  • Seven-inch color touchscreen
  • Rear vision camera
  • Available 4G LTE Wi-Fi® hotspot2


The Buick Encore has a strong sales history at CarMax. It has been featured in these ranking lists:

5 Reasons to Buy

1. A Quiet Ride

2021 Buick Encore Review: Exterior | CarMax

Buick has taken on the challenge of creating a peaceful in-cabin experience, by applying their own QuietTuning technology. Reducing the intrusions that could disturb the Encore's peaceful interior are triple-edged door seals and acoustic laminated glass in the front windshield and side windows, which combine to block out, reduce or absorb unwanted audible intrusions. What can you do with that cool and calm atmosphere? Enjoy the Encore's standard six-speaker sound system of course.

2. Driver Assistance Package Options

2021 Buick Encore Review: Dashboard | CarMax

In addition to such standard features as daytime running lights, child seat anchors, and traction control, the 2021 Buick Encore's upper-level trim has two optional driver assistance packages, full of useful tools for any Encore driver. The Preferred trim's first driver-assistance package adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the second optional package adds forward collision alert, lane departure warning, parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers. For drivers stepping up to a larger vehicle for the first time, these could be a welcome option, and worth considering as you decide on the features you are looking for.

3. StabiliTrak® Technology

The 2021 Encore has plenty of behind-the-scenes technology. This includes StabiliTrak, a computer-controlled stability assistance system that comes into its own when your vehicle is faced with challenging driving conditions such as ice-covered, wet, or uneven roads. StabiliTrak intervenes when it detects a loss of traction, assisting with selective braking and torque adjustment to maintain your road position.

4. Impressive Infotainment Features

On longer trips or your daily commute, the Encore's available entertainment tech can make or break your journey. Once its service is activated, the available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is a passenger pleaser - simply sign in via the seven-inch infotainment touchscreen and allow your passengers to get online with their compatible devices.2 Want some company on a solo trip? Enjoy an audiobook, or listen to your favorite podcast via the standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration.

5. Subcompact Sizing with a Twist

2021 Buick Encore Review: Trunk | CarMax
If you've got a full set of passengers, the 2021 Encore can still provide 18.8 cu-ft of cargo storage, enough for everyone's weekend-away luggage. Trip for two? Flip the rear seats down for 48.4 cu-ft of storage that lets you pack for a cross-country adventure, including your golf clubs. There's one more twist to the 2021 Encore - the front passenger seat flips down to allow cargo up to eight-feet long.

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What You Need to Know

Available Trims

1SV: Comes with Summit white exterior paint, keyless entry and push-button ignition, seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, privacy glass, backup camera, cruise control, 10 airbags, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power mirrors, 60/40 split rear bench seat, electronic stability control, and more.

Preferred: Adds interior cargo cover, carpeted floor mats, five exterior paint choices, and more. It also opens up optional features and packages including remote start,4 Rainsense automatic wipers, all-wheel drive, park assist, lane departure warning, moonroof, 120-volt power outlet, road trip package, driver assistance packages, and more.

Available Colors

  • Cinnabar Metallic (Preferred trim only)
  • Dark Moon Blue Metallic (Preferred trim only)
  • Ebony Twilight Metallic (Preferred trim only)
  • Quicksilver Metallic (Preferred trim only)
  • Summit White
  • White Frost Tricoat (Preferred trim only)


  • 18.8 cu-ft of cargo space
  • Seating for five passengers
  • 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat
  • Flat-folding front passenger seatback
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted cruise control

Average CarMax Prices

The 2021 Buick Encore is a newer model year and we currently have a limited number in our inventory. See below for average CarMax prices for previous model years of the Buick Encore.3

  • 2013 — Average prices less than $14,5003
  • 2014 — Average prices less than $14,5003
  • 2015 — Average prices less than $15,0003
  • 2016 — Average prices less than $16,0003
  • 2017 — Average prices less than $17,0003
  • 2018 — Average prices less than $17,5003
  • 2019 — Average prices less than $19,5003
  • 2020 — Average prices less than $21,0003

Similar Model Years

If you like the 2021 Buick Encore, check out some previous model years of this vehicle with similar features.


The 2021 Buick Encore has received an overall 5/5 rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click Here to look up a specific vehicle.

Similar Vehicles

If you're interested in the 2021 Buick Encore you should also check out these similar vehicles from previous model years.

Hyundai Kona

Introduced to the Hyundai SUV lineup in 2018, the Kona is a stylish subcompact SUV with a choice of two engines and optional all-wheel drive. Seating five passengers comfortably, standard 2018–2019 models are powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Choose the 2018–2019 Limited or Ultimate trims for a power-packed drive, as both feature an upgraded 1.6L turbocharged engine. The 2018–2019 Hyundai Kona has four trim levels, with the base SE trim featuring as standard:

  • 19.2 cu-ft of cargo space
  • Rearview camera
  • Front bucket seats
  • Forward collision mitigation (2019 onwards)
  • Six-speaker sound system

Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax debuted in 2015 as a subcompact SUV with seating for five passengers, and quickly gained a reputation for responsive road handling. A 2017 refresh added more technology, a dynamic new front fascia, and improved headlight design. This transformed the practical Trax into a head-turning presence on any driveway.

2019 Chevrolet Trax models have a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive. The engine produces 138 horsepower, 148 pound-feet of torque and for

  • 18.7 cu-ft of fixed cargo space
  • Seven-inch touchscreen display
  • Rearview camera
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheel

Kia Soul

It's hard not to smile when you see a Kia Soul glide by. Since 2010 this boxy five-seat wagon has had a bright and colorful personality and a look all its own. The 2017–2019 Kia Soul offers potential owners a playful mix of three feature-filled trims and three engine choices. Base models are powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine, while the mid- and top-trim models have turbocharged engines as standard. The 2017–2019 Kia Soul is also a capable transporter for your larger hauls. It has 18.8 cu-ft of standard cargo storage, expanding to 49.5 cu-ft when rear seats are folded down. The 2017–2019 Kia Soul has three trim levels (Base, Plus, Exclaim) with the 2018–2019 mid-range Plus model featuring as standard:

  • 17-inch wheels
  • Front and rear center armrests
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration
  • Emergency braking assist
  • Rear privacy glass

The Bottom Line

The 2021 Buick Encore should definitely be on your one-to-watch list. It's a perfectly balanced subcompact SUV that delivers enjoyment, comfort, and confidence in equal measure. With plenty of standard entertainment and driver-assistance technology features, you can look forward to many pleasant driving days ahead.

Looking to learn more? Check out these related sources:

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
2Wi-Fi hotspots require a data plan to activate and may also require a compatible device. See the owner's manual or manufacturer website for more information
3Based on prices on carmax.com from May 1, 2019, to October 1, 2020. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
4Remote start functionality may require the purchase of a subscription plan and/or a compatible device like a smartphone. See the owner's manual or manufacturer website for more information.
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.