For more than a century, Buick has been doing one thing and doing it well. Established in 1903, Buick has had plenty of time to carve out a niche within the industry, producing a refined, understated lineup that hits all the marks of a luxury vehicle without some of the ostentatious designs so rampant within the sector. As innovation remains the watchword in the auto world, some brands have rushed headlong into every new trend to come down the pike. Buick hasn’t lagged behind by any means but has taken a more moderate approach, steadily adopting new features without edging into unproven territory that can often prove so costly down the road.
This measured approach has won over more than a few converts, who value the brand’s ability to meld the best of both worlds without overwhelming drivers. With industry analysts regularly citing models like the Enclave, Encore, and LaCrosse as some of the best deals on the market, there’s never been a better time to make a visit to your local Certified Pre-Owned Buick dealer and discover just what the market has to offer.
Luxury brands like Buick present a unique value proposition for those shopping in the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sector. By opting for a model that’s a few years older, drivers can enjoy some high-end features without the high-end price tag they might find among late-model offerings. They’re also cheaper to insure and repair, as used parts become more readily available with every year a model is on the market. While many used Buicks offer these benefits and more, we’re going to focus on three specific models, exploring some of their features and finding out which model years hit that all-important sweet spot between age and value.
Best Year for CPO: 2016
Manufactured since 2004, the LaCrosse is the brand’s flagship mid-size sedan. It’s also something of a throwback, at least on the design side. Drawing some visual cues from Buick’s long history, the second generation LaCrosse (2010 – 2016) featured a number of vintage design elements. The sedan eschews hard lines and 90-degree angles for softer, rounder curves, as well as Buick’s classic VentiPorts (small vents located behind the front fenders) and the distinctive Sweepspear trim line that runs the lengths of the vehicle. The interior strikes a similar balance, folding in a number of modern safety and tech features but still managing to give the cabin a little old-school charm with wood accents and bold, sweeping lines. The result is a modern sedan with some old-school charm, combining some of the best innovations from the sedan’s golden age into a sleek package designed to appeal to modern sensibilities.
The LaCrosse was discontinued on the North American market in 2019, but there are still plenty of second and third-generation models on offer at Certified Pre-Owned Buick dealers. Both Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book have identified LaCrosse sedans produced between 2013 and 2016 as a particularly good value, noting the mid-size sedan’s smooth ride, comfortable interior, and reliability as its main selling points.
A great example of the sedan’s ability to integrate modern amenities and tech, the 2016 LaCrosse is a real standout among CPO models. This model year saw an upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system with a new, larger 8-inch display. With the ability to mirror certain smartphone apps directly on the vehicle’s dash through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the LaCrosse allows drivers to create a seamless driving experience on par with almost anything released at the time.
The modern features extend beyond the interior, with a hybrid engine option truly bringing the sedan into the 21st century. The LaCrosse comes standard with a 3.6L LFX V6 with 303 horsepower, but an optional hybrid 2.4-liter four-cylinder improves gas mileage to an impressive 24 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway, some 6 MPG better than the V-6. Perhaps most importantly, the second-generation LaCrosse is still new enough to include many of the safety features which have now become standard such as electronic stability control, forward collision and lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert. These features earned the 2016 LaCrosse a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the sedan’s available all-wheel drive only increases its allure.
Best Year for CPO: 2018
The Enclave has proven to be a crossover hit for Buick, drawing many drivers to the brand for the first time with its bold mix of modern styling and Buick reliability. The mid-size SUV can seat 7 or 8 with an optional second-row bench seat which, combined with its impressive cargo room and modest starting price, proved to be a winning formula for those seeking a reliable family vehicle. Powered by a 3.6-liter V6 with 310 horsepower, the Enclave might not be the speediest or most powerful SUV in its class, but it more than makes up for it on the comfort side of things. Critics and drivers have cited the Enclave’s exceptionally smooth, quiet ride, which goes a long way in adding to the SUV’s luxury credentials. This interior tranquility is accomplished by upping the amount of sealing and insulations on the doors, the use of acoustic glass in the windshield and front doors, and most importantly, a Bose active noise cancellation system.
Seemingly designed with the whole family in mind, the 2018 Enclave is a particularly good example of everything there is to love about the SUV. The third row, often a cramped afterthought on many mid-size SUVs, is more than generous with enough space to accommodate passengers up to 6-feet tall. It’s also easier to access than some competitors, with tilt-and-slide second-row seats which allow easy access to the rear. Those sitting in the way back won’t lose out on the Enclave’s tech-heavy interior thanks to the generous inclusion of USB ports in both the second and third rows, as well as a 12-volt power outlet in the rear cargo area.
Cargo space is where the Enclave really has an edge, with class-leading volume that not only bests all other mid-size SUVs but some full-size options as well. The Enclave boasts 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which easily balloons up to 58 feet with the third row folded and a staggering 97.6 cubic feet with second and third-row stashed away. Combine this considerable space with a power liftgate, and you’ve got an everyday family vehicle that can transform into a receptacle cargo hauler in no time.
As the first in a new generation, the 2018 Enclave still includes much of the popular tech that draws consumers to newer vehicles. Rear parking sensors help address one of the most common complaints with the Enclave: a lack of visibility. Buick hasn’t stopped there, adding forward collision and lane departure warnings, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and blind spot monitoring. The premium feel is on full display with the Enclave, which manages to punch well above its price point when it comes to interior design and creature features. A number of features that might normally be considered extras are included with the Enclave at no cost because there’s nothing quite as luxurious as being able to remote start your vehicle from the kitchen table on a cold morning.
Best Year for CPO: 2017
Offering a slate of luxury features while remaining affordable, the Buick Encore is one of the best values on today’s CPO market and a great example of a legacy brand bringing its tried-and-true approach to the crossover sector. This can be a difficult trick to pull off, but by sticking to the approach that’s served it so well for over 100 years, Buick managed to find success right out the gate. The Encore is also notable for its smaller footprint, giving drivers all the ride height that makes SUVs such an alluring prospect without making them feel like they’re piloting a tank.
The brand’s commitment quality construction is on full display, with an exceedingly comfortable interior featuring premium materials, sophisticated design, and plenty of headroom. The Encore got a refresh for the 2017 model year, and the changes are evident as soon as one steps into the cabin. Buick took a second pass at designing the dashboard, moving the display into a more convenient location while upping the dimensions to make the 8-inch display a standard feature along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
While not cutting edge by today’s standards, the 2017 SUVs infotainment offerings serve as a prime example of the type of advanced features that budget-conscious drivers can afford on the CPO luxury market. These tech features extended to the safety side of things, where the Encore earned a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thanks to its standard rearview camera, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and front/rear park assist.
Offered in six trim levels (Base, Preferred, Sport Touring, Preferred II, Essence, and Premium), the Encore features a choice between two super-efficient turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four engines. The 138-horsepower setup might underwhelm some drivers, but the associated cost-savings should more than make up for it, with the Encore posting an impressive 25 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway on average. An optional upgrade introduced in 2016 sees the inclusion of a 153-horsepower engine that leverages stop-start technology as a means of improving the crossover’s fuel efficiency.
The Encore might lack the ample cargo room of mid-size SUVs like the Enclave with 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded, but again it’s a trade-off. In place of the generous cargo room of some mid or full-size SUVs, the Encore offers responsive, peppy handling thanks to its unibody design that makes the subcompact crossover a joy to drive. All-wheel drive is also available for those who regularly encounter challenging road conditions, adding to the Encore’s already considerable flexibility.
Buick is a case study in keeping up with the times without overreaching, seamlessly embracing new trends and responding to evolving consumer taste while never losing sight of the sophisticated approach and commitment to reliability that have kept the brand going for over 100 years. This reputation for reliability has been a boon for Buick and one that’s made Certified Pre-Owned Buicks a particularly alluring option for drivers seeking an exceptional value.
Shopping on the CPO market can open up a whole new world of possibilities, allowing drivers to experience some of the premium features that are typically reserved for upper trim levels or luxury vehicles. While the three Buick models mentioned above have been particularly successful on the CPO market, they’re far from the only options with a quick trip to your local Certified Pre-Owned Buick dealer yielding no shortage of reliable vehicles. These CPO Buicks don’t just offer exceptional value at the time of sale but often prove to be less expensive to own over the life of the vehicle: they’ve been on the road longer, allowing ample time for the type of vital consumer feedback necessary in avoiding lemons and gaining valuable peace of mind. For any driver looking to save some money without making any sacrifices when it comes to luxury, reliability, and tech features, the Certified Pre-Owned Buick market is the perfect place to start.