GMC Terrain Vs. Buick Encore: Which SUV Reigns Supreme?

When it comes to luxury compact SUVs, the market is flooded with options, but two models that always stir up a debate are the GMC Terrain and Buick Encore. Both vehicles come from the same parent company, General Motors, and bring a plethora of features and capabilities to the table. 

If you’re caught in the Terrain vs. Encore dilemma, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details to help you make an informed decision.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureGMC TerrainBuick Encore
Size & DimensionsSmall to midsize crossover SUVCompact SUV
Engine PerformanceMore powerful engine optionsEfficient, suitable for daily commutes
InteriorSpacious with premium materialsCompact yet luxurious
Infotainment SystemRobust with many standard featuresIntuitive and user-friendly
PricingGenerally higherMore affordable entry point
Brand Identity“Professional Grade” toughnessEmblematic of affordable luxury
Fuel EfficiencySlightly less due to powerful enginesHigher due to smaller engine

GMC Terrain: The Pros

GMC Terrain
GMC Terrain
  1. Strong Performance:

The Terrain packs more of a punch when compared to the Encore. Its engine options offer powerful acceleration, ensuring you’re not left wanting more on the highway.

  1. Roomy Interior:

One of the standout features of the Terrain is its spacious interior. Whether you’re hauling groceries, camping gear, or a mix of both, the Terrain can handle it.

  1. Advanced Safety Features:

With the GMC Pro Safety Plus package, the Terrain offers a suite of safety features that aren’t standard in many competitors, including the Encore.

GMC Terrain: The Cons

  1. Pricey:

The Terrain’s price point is notably higher than the Encore’s, which may not sit well with budget-conscious buyers.

  1. Fuel Efficiency:

Compared to the Encore, the Terrain’s larger engine options can be a bit thirsty at the pump.

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Buick Encore: The Pros

Buick Encore
Buick Encore
  1. Affordable Luxury:

The Encore offers a slice of luxury without breaking the bank. It’s the perfect entry point for those new to the luxury SUV segment.

  1. Fuel Efficiency:

Compact and efficient, the Encore is ideal for city driving and longer highway jaunts alike.

  1. Maneuverability:

Being smaller than the Terrain, the Encore shines in tight spots and city streets, making parking and navigation a breeze.

Buick Encore: The Cons

  1. Limited Space:

While the Encore is cozy, it doesn’t offer as much cargo space as the Terrain, making it less ideal for heavy packers.

  1. Less Power:

For those who crave more horsepower under the hood, the Encore’s engine might feel a tad underwhelming.

Analytical Breakdown:

Given their shared lineage, the GMC Terrain and Buick Encore have a lot in common, from quality finishes to robust tech integration. However, the Terrain leans more towards the midsize SUV bracket while the Encore solidly sits in the compact SUV category. This difference translates into more space in the Terrain but at the cost of a higher price and less fuel efficiency.

On the flip side, the Encore offers an affordable luxury experience, perfect for city dwellers who value maneuverability and fuel efficiency. However, those looking for extra power and space might find it lacking.

Key Differences Between the GMC Terrain and Buick Encore

The compact SUV market is a fiercely contested space, with many brands vying for the attention of consumers. The GMC Terrain and the Buick Encore, both products of General Motors, are strong contenders in this segment. While they share some similarities due to their shared lineage, there are distinct differences that set them apart. Let’s dive deep into what distinguishes these two SUVs from each other.

  1. Size and Dimensions

One of the most obvious differences between the two is their size.

GMC Terrain:

The Terrain can be best described as a small to midsize crossover SUV. It boasts a more extensive body, making it an excellent choice for families who need that extra space. Its larger dimensions make it a better fit for carrying more luggage and offer increased legroom for backseat passengers.

Buick Encore:

On the other hand, the Encore is a compact SUV. It’s more suitable for city drives and tight parking spots due to its smaller size. While it may not provide as much space as the Terrain, it’s easier to maneuver and navigate, especially in urban settings.

  1. Engine Performance and Efficiency

Under the hood, both vehicles offer different engine options that cater to different needs.

GMC Terrain:

Terrain generally offers more powerful engine options. This translates into faster acceleration and a better towing capacity. However, this additional power might mean a slightly reduced fuel efficiency compared to the Encore.

Buick Encore:

The Encore, given its smaller frame and engine, focuses on fuel efficiency. While it may not deliver the same power as the Terrain, it provides a more economical drive, especially for daily commutes.

  1. Interior and Features

The inside of a car is where drivers and passengers spend most of their time, so it’s essential to note the differences in the interiors of these SUVs.

GMC Terrain:

The Terrain, with its larger size, provides a more spacious cabin. The infotainment system is robust, with many standard features even in base models. The comfort level is also elevated with plush seating and premium materials used in the interior.

Buick Encore:

Encore’s interior, while more compact, exudes a luxury feel. The seating is comfortable, and the infotainment system is intuitive. Buick has always been a symbol of affordable luxury, and the Encore’s interior design and features mirror this philosophy.

  1. Pricing

Budget plays a critical role when choosing between these two SUVs.

GMC Terrain:

With its larger size, more potent engines, and additional features, the Terrain generally comes with a heftier price tag compared to the Encore.

Buick Encore:

Being the smaller of the two, the Encore offers a more affordable entry point into the luxury SUV segment.

  1. Brand Identity

Both GMC and Buick have distinct identities, which are reflected in their vehicles.

GMC Terrain:

GMC markets itself with the tagline “Professional Grade.” This means their vehicles, including the Terrain, are built tough, are versatile, and can handle various terrains (no pun intended).

Buick Encore:

Buick, meanwhile, is seen as a luxury brand under the General Motors umbrella. The Encore, with its elegant design and premium features, embodies this luxurious identity.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a Terrain bigger than an Encore?

Yes, the GMC Terrain is larger and offers more cargo space than the Buick Encore.

What Buick is comparable to GMC Terrain?

The Buick Envision is a closer match to the GMC Terrain in terms of size and features.

What is the GMC version of the Buick Encore?

The GMC Terrain can be considered a cousin to the Buick Encore given their shared parent company. However, the Terrain is slightly larger.

What SUV is comparable to Buick Encore?

In terms of size and features, SUVs like the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Toyota C-HR are comparable to the Buick Encore.

Is Buick a luxury brand of GMC?

Yes, Buick is considered a luxury brand under the General Motors umbrella, whereas GMC focuses more on professional grade and utility vehicles.

Is Buick a luxury GMC?

Not exactly.

While both Buick and GMC are under the General Motors family, Buick emphasizes luxury, while GMC is known for its rugged and professional-grade vehicles.


In conclusion, both the GMC Terrain and Buick Encore offer exceptional value in their respective categories. Your decision might boil down to what you prioritize more: space and power or compact luxury and efficiency. Either way, you’re in for a treat with both options.

By understanding the distinctions between the GMC Terrain and the Buick Encore, potential buyers can make an informed decision that best suits their needs and preferences. Whether it’s the rugged versatility of the Terrain or the compact luxury of the Encore, both SUVs offer solid value in their respective categories.

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

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