In 2013, the Buick Encore enjoyed an IIHS “Top Safety Pick” designation. However, in 2014, the Encore lost the accolade due to more stringent testing. For that reason: the 2014 Encore scored poorly in the new small front overlap crash test.
Now, with the launch of the 2015 Chevrolet Trax, General Motors has fixed the issue, and the crash test ratings for the 2015 Encore and 2015 Trax both earned Top Safety Pick status.
The original crashworthiness evaluation for the 2013 and 2014 model-year Buick Encore crossovers revealed a few rather serious design faults. For one, the driver’s space “wasn’t maintained well,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the front airbags were not as effective as they should have been. There was also an issue with the dashboard, namely that it shifted towards the driver in the small front overlap crash test, providing plenty of potential for knee and thigh injuries.
For the 2015 model year, however, the Encore and Trax have recieved numerous improvements to the airbags, dashboard structure, and frontal reinforcements to help make the small, affordable crossovers fare better in a crash. The changes have had a substantial effect so far, with both models now earning Top Safety Pick ratings, thanks to better small front overlap test results (both have qualified for “good” evaluations).
The small crossover market has been heating up lately, and the Encore and Trax will soon be joined by rivals from Honda, Mazda, Fiat, and Jeep. We don’t know how well they’ll fare against the competition, but we do at least know that they’ll fare very well in an accident.