2022 Buick Encore Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.
Slotted right alongside the Encore GX (which is its own car and will have to be reviewed separately), the 2022 Buick Encore is an extra-small SUV that, over the last few years, has been dwindled down. And that trend carries over into this model year with the base 1SV trim level having been axed from lineup. That means you can only get the Buick Encore in just one trim level - the Preferred.
So, do you really get that many choices on the 2022 Encore? Not really. You do get a handful of optional packages that you can add on, such as the Safety Package and Safety Package II, but there are relatively few choices to help you customize your Encore. While that makes the decision of whether or not to buy the 2022 Encore way more simple, it means that you need to go into it knowing exactly what you will be purchasing or passing on.
Before we jump into what the Preferred trim now offers, let's talk about what is new for this model year. The engine does have a power upgrade, taking it from 138 horsepower to 155 hp. If you want extra storage, you get it now with some new front seatback pockets. Other than that, though, expect everything from 2021's Preferred trim to carry over.
The 2022 Buick Encore Preferred. The Only Trim Level
Since there is only one trim level in the 2022 Buick Encore line-up, we can devote quite a bit of time to talking about it. You can choose between either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) to suit your needs. If you live in a cooler climate where slick road surfaces often create driving hazards, then getting the all-wheel drive added on could provide you with more stability and traction control. Otherwise, front-wheel-drive should suffice. Just note that off-roading in one of these vehicles is not exactly thrilling. Ground clearance is high enough for many off-roading surfaces, but it might not be as durable as other vehicles. Also, it is not rated for towing, but the Encore GX can tow up to 1,000 pounds.
Time to turn our attention to some of the Encore's other mechanical specs. There are 4-wheel antilock disc brakes that help to reduce how much the wheels lock up and maintain steering control when you have to hard brake on a slippery surface. The 6-speed automatic transmission is electronically controlled and has overdrive on it. A 130-amp alternator is equipped, along with an ECOTEC 1.4-L turbocharged engine that now produces 155 hp. It comes with Spark Ignition Direct Injection and Variable Valve Timing. On-center precision comes via the electric power steering, and during slower speed maneuvers like parking, the steering assist is noticeably greater.
An engine block heater is available to make cold weather start-ups a lot smoother. It will heat both the engine fluids and the engine block itself, making it ideal for those who endure harsh winter months. Keyless Open and Start gives you a key fob that, when you have it on your person, will lock and unlock the doors automatically so that you don't even need to use the key fob. Also, when you put the Encore in Neutral or Park, you can press on the brake pedal followed by the engine start/stop button to start the engine up. When you do so, the green indicator will come on.
As far as the suspension and ride handling go, you get a good amount of compliance from the suspension. It is composed of a MacPherson strut coil spring front suspension that includes side-load-compensated front strut modules and a large sized stabilizer bar. In the rear, you get a torsion beam, double-walled suspension with a tubular V-shaped beam profile. This creates consistent control over the camber and low weight. And, as far as stability and traction go, StabiliTrak - an electronic stability control system with traction control included - automatically enhances the vehicle's control, which is especially true during any type of emergency maneuver. It accomplishes this by adjusting the engine torque and brakes to keep the Encore on its intended pathway.
Now, let's take a look at some of the Buick Encore's exterior features. If the standard wheels are not to your liking, you can opt up for 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels done in a 5-split-spoke design with a Midnight Silver finish to them. An accessory carrier hitch is also available, adding 1-1/4-inch receiver mounts and all necessary hardware. The Active Package will give you this hitch plus a cargo area tray for organization. A roof-mounted antenna is standard, and you can opt for Anthracite Lower Exterior Accent Color.
A chrome strip adorns the body-colored door handles. If you choose to equip the Buick Interior Protection Package, you will get all-weather floor mats for the front and rear seats done in premium carpet. A 16-inch compact wheel and tire get included as standard, as does deep-tinted glass. Up front are halogen headlamps, and there is also a LED center high-mounted stop/brake lamp. The side mirrors are power-operated and heated. The optional power moonroof opens above the first row and slides back into the roof. It can be tilted upward if you need some extra ventilation inside of the cabin.
Another option you can add to the exterior is the Road Trip Package. In addition to the all-weather floor mats, this gives the Encore roof rack cross rails. Roof-mounted side rails are standard issue.
Adding the Safety Package will give you a few helpful driver aids. These are rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, and a 120-volt power outlet. The Safety Package II gives you even more. This package has rain-sensing windshield wipers, front and rear parking assist, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning.
Other standard exterior features include signature LED daytime running lights (which light up when the headlamps are off but your vehicle is running), a solar-absorbing windshield, and front and rear intermittent windshield wipers.
Now, let's talk about the interior. It comes with quite a few standard features. A six-way power driver seat and 2-way manual front passenger seat are standard equipment. The 4.2-inch diagonal color driver information display shows you pertinent vehicle data. A six-speaker sound system, 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, single-zone manual air conditioning, a rear assist handle, cargo cover, compass display, cruise control, rear window defogger, and chrome door handles come equipped. You also get power door locks and power windows. There is also a door sill plate cover up front.
The standard floor mats are color-keyed and carpeted in the rear. The front passenger seat has under-seat storage, and there are dual gloveboxes. The headrests are two-way adjustable up/down. Heating comes via an electric heater and defroster. The manual rear view mirror is day/night. Keyless Open includes the extended range remote keyless entry. And, of course, the LATCH system is set up in the rear to accommodate child car safety seats. QuietTuning, a rear vision camera, a chrome and satin silver gear shift knob, an adjustable tilting and telescoping steering column, steering wheel-mounted controls, an outside temperature sensor, an anti-theft system, tire pressure monitoring, and dual illuminated vanity visors round out the list of creature comforts.
We cannot neglect to mention all of the technology that is included on the Encore Preferred trim level. Buick Connected Access is able to be set up, giving you use of OnStar's features for all your emergency needs. The 7-inch high-resolution digital touchscreen infotainment system includes two USB ports, an AM/FM radio, streaming via Bluetooth, and smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also utilize a complimentary three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Keep it or ditch it after your first three months are up - it is up to you. Also, take note that WiFi hotspot is standard.
So, what kinds of options can you add to the Encore's cabin? You will likely want to add the Safety and Safety II packages in order to get side blind zone alert, the rain sensing wipers, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and rear cross traffic alert. The inclusion of the 120-volt power outlet can also prove helpful. The Road Trip Package is most ideal for those who plan on doing a lot of outdoor activities and will need the roof rack cross rails. Remote Start is another option you might want to add since it will start and warm up your vehicle for you. Additionally, there is a footwell and cupholder lighting kit for the front. For the cargo area, you can opt to include a cargo net.
To wrap up what comes with the 2022 Buick Encore, we will talk about fuel economy and warranty coverage, since those might factor into your decision whether or not to buy. On the front-wheel drive model, there is an EPA estimated 27 miles per gallon combined (with 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway). The all-wheel drive model takes these numbers down only slightly. This variant gets 26 mpg combined from 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Holding the fuel is a 14 gallon fuel tank. This fuel economy is rather unimpressive for the segment, putting the Encore behind much of the competition.
Warranty coverage is nothing to marvel at either. The Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty goes for 3 Years/36,000 Miles. The Powertrain/Drivetrain limited warranty and the Roadside Assistance Program both extend for 5 Years/60,000 Miles. And, as far as the Rust Limited Warranty goes, that can go for 3 Years/36,000 Miles with Rust Through going up to 6 Years/100,000 Miles. Other competitors have set the bar high in terms of warranty, so Buick will need to do better if it still wants to compete.
Which Trim to Choose?
The 2022 Buick Encore shows that the Encore is being phased out despite being one of the oldest vehicles in the extra-small SUV segment. We expect for this model to be discontinued at the end of 2023. That means, if you have your heart absolutely set on a new Encore, the time to get one is now.
However, we would recommend looking at other options first, even including the Buick Encore GX. The Preferred trim on the regular Encore is actually the base trim on the GX, with two more trim levels sitting above it.
Unfortunately, the standard Encore has seen its better days. The minor jump in horsepower is about all that really sets the 2022 model year apart, and it is not enough to justify such a major purchase for many buyers. Although, if you want something that makes for a no-fuss, no-frills choice, the Encore might just be right for you.
• 2021 Buick Encore Trime Levels