Are Buicks good cars? Are they reliable? You might be surprised.
Buck isn’t as popular as it was before the 1990s. Once a household name in North America, the brand is quite often overlooked by today’s cutting-edge car buyers. There are several reasons for its decline, and the stigma of being a brand for old people is certainly one.
But that’s not to say modern Buicks are bad cars. On the contrary, they are very good.
Buick is very popular in China and has experienced a resurgence in the style, quality, and sophistication of its vehicles. Those who quickly dismiss it as an old people’s brand are missing out.
This article looks at just how good and reliable Buicks are.
Founded in 1908, Buick is one of the oldest car brands. Many people know that it’s a brand of General Motors, but what hardly anyone knows is that it was the company that kicked-started General Motors.
Buick has been positioned as a luxury car brand for much of its existence, both in its home market of the United States and abroad. There was a short stint during World War 2 and the Korean War when it made lethal armored fighting vehicles, but that’s a story for another time.
More specifically, Buick competes in the entry-level luxury or “attainable luxury” segment, positioned above mainstream brands such as Toyota, Honda, and Chevrolet but below full-fledged premium marques like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Cadillac, GM’s top luxury brand.
The ‘Avenir’ sub-brand was introduced in 2018 to represent the best Buick has to offer — the best materials, the best tech, and the best performance.
The brand is not as small as you probably thought. It sells nearly one million vehicles every year, over 80 percent of which occur in China, its most important market.
In addition to the U.S. and China, Buicks are also sold in Canada and Mexico. Some iconic models include the 1961 Buick Special, 1963 and 1971 Buick Riviera, 1987 Buick GNX, and 2012 Buick Regal GS, while the most popular are the Encore, Envision, and Enclave crossovers.
Once known for its comfortable, well-appointed sedans, Buick has all but given up on the traditional passenger cars in North America, shifting its full attention to crossover SUVs. Buick sedans, hatchbacks, and minivans are still offered in China, however.
General Motors has the ambitious goal of selling only zero-emission vehicles by 2035, so Buick will soon be an all-electric brand. The aptly named Buick Electra electric SUV marked the beginning of a new era for the age-old American brand.
Are Buicks Good Cars?
Having given you a brief overview of Buick and where the brand is heading, let’s now look at the quality of its vehicles.
As with our analysis of other car brands, we are going to evaluate Buick on the basis of safety, reliability, performance, tech and convenience, affordability, cost of ownership, and styling.
Buick, like all car brands, wants to be seen by consumers as a safe vehicle and, therefore, strives to achieve the highest safety ratings. It delivers on that front.
On top of being designed to have excellent crashworthiness, Buicks are available with modern safety features that help prevent accidents and minimize harm to occupants. This includes multiple airbags, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and much more.
They perform very well in instrumented safety tests. In North America, all Buick models have earned the highest rating of 5 stars for overall safety from the NHTSA and perform just as well in tests conducted by the IIHS.
Judging by these standards, Buicks seem to be very safe bets, won’t you say?
So, are Buicks safe? Yes. Whether you’re talking about crashworthiness or collision-prevention safety features, Buicks do a very good job at keeping drivers and passengers safe on the road.
Are Buicks Reliable?
If Consumer Reports Reliability surveys are anything to go by, Buicks are reliable vehicles. Buick ranked 4th and 9th in the publication’s 2020 and 2021 surveys, respectively, and consistently places in the top 15.
It’s the same story with the annual JD Power Dependability Study, where the brand placed in the top five from 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Buick is not only the most reliable American brand according to these surveys but it’s also one of the dependable car brands, period.
RepairPal gave the brand a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0 in its 2021 assessment, placing it 13th out of 32 for all car brands.
Due to their decent, if not good, reliability, used Buicks also tend to be good cars. At the very least, they are better than comparable used cars from most European luxury brands.
So, are Buicks reliable? Yes. It might come as a surprise, but Buick — an American brand — is one of the best reliable car brands, according to Consumer Reports and JD Power.
Ask any car enthusiast and they will tell you that the last time Buick built a fun and engaging car was in the 1980s, when the now-iconic Grand National was putting smiles on faces.
Not only were its cars in the 1900s and 2000s among the most boring to drive, but they also lagged the competition in fuel economy and other performance metrics.
Things have improved for the better, fortunately. While not the most economical or athletic vehicles on the road (Mazdas strike a good balance), today’s Buicks deliver competitive fuel efficiency, ride and handling, and overall performance in the vehicle segments they compete in.
Their ride quality is top-notch (Buicks have some of the quietest interiors) and fuel economy is above average. They also have capable engines that provide enough power to drive confidently at speeds and overtake other vehicles when necessary.
The wobbly, sleep-inducing ride of yesteryear’s Buick is no more. What you get now are a smooth, comfortable, and compliant ride and confidence-inspiring handling.
So, do Buicks have good performance? Yes. Modern Buicks deliver very competitive ride, handling, power, and fuel economy. Their ride quality is one of the best in the automotive industry, for a luxury car or otherwise.
Buick is a luxury car brand, so its vehicles are available with a host of the latest tech, convenience, and driver-assistance features.
Whether you’re talking about a large touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity or luxurious touches such as leather upholstery, wood trim, and heated seats and steering wheel, Buick will give it to you.
While not up to par with higher-level luxury vehicles, the material quality in Buicks is also better than what you get in mainstream cars, boasting fancier, soft-touch trim elements. They feel more special than, say, a Kia but not quite as special as a Mercedes.
Finally, thanks to its affiliation with General Motors, the brand has access to one of the best self-driving systems in the industry, Super Cruise.
A problem with Buicks is that buyers have to upgrade to higher trims to obtain Buick’s best tech, safety, and convenience features. Brands such as Genesis and Acura make a lot of those features standard on all their models.
So, do Buicks have good tech features? Yes. Buick offers so many modern tech and convenience features that the average car buyer won’t be found wanting.
Despite competing in the luxury car segment, Buick is more of an “attainable luxury” brand like Acura and Lincoln, one positioned between mainstream and luxury brands. Buicks offer a more upscale experience than your average Toyota, Mazda, or Nissan car but not as upscale as BMWs, Jaguars, Audis, Mercedes-Benzes, etc.
As such, they are priced a little higher than mainstream vehicles but far lower than their more premium competition.
While some Buicks command a price that’s unattainable for most car buyers, particularly models with the top-of-the-line Avenir trim, they are a great alternative for well-off individuals who want a fancy, above-average vehicle that won’t break the bank.
Used Buicks can be quite affordable, however, at least when compared to vehicles from some Japanese and European luxury brands. The Encore small SUV, for instance, has earned praise for being a good used car for drivers on a budget.
Interested in buying a used Buick? Read our detailed guide on how to buy a used car.
So, are Buicks affordable? Yes and no. While more expensive than mainstream vehicles, Buick’s vehicles can be quite affordable for luxury vehicles.
Cost Of Ownership
Seeing as Buicks are reliable vehicles with good safety and fuel economy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are not expensive to own. Good reliability means fewer repairs and good fuel economy means less money spent at the gas station.
According to RepairPal, the average annual maintenance and repair cost for a Buick is $608, which is noticeably lower than the $652 across all models and much lower than the costs for a BMW ($968), Mercedes-Benz ($908), and many other makes of luxury cars.
A reason for this is because Buick is part of General Motors and shares parts with the company’s other brands, particularly Chevrolet, which makes the parts needed to make repairs affordable and easily attainable.
Finally, the good safety credentials of Buicks contribute to a lower than average insurance cost for the average Buick owner.
So, are Buicks cheap to own? Yes. While they don’t enjoy Toyota or Honda level reliability, these cars are far more reliable and cheap to maintain than many people realize. Did you know that Buicks are cheaper to own than Subarus?
Buick has come a long way in a very short time on the styling front. Known not long ago for dull designs that catered to older car buyers, modern Buicks have sleek, sophisticated exteriors that ooze class, with upscale interiors to boot.
Unlike a growing number of brands, you won’t find an obnoxiously oversized grille or outlandish angles that would make one question the sanity of the designers. Anyone looking for a bold, in-your-face design would be barking up the wrong tree since Buick has never been that kind of brand.
What you can expect, instead, are vehicles with classy, refined, and unpretentious styling inside and out that most people generally consider pleasant.
So, do Buicks look good? Yes. Modern Buicks have some of the most stylish and upscale designs on the market. They manage to be pleasant looking without trying too hard.
Buick Car FAQs
Want to know more about Buick, huh? Here are answers to some of the most popular questions about the brand.
Is Buick A Luxury Brand?
Yes. Buick is a luxury car brand that competes in the luxury vehicle segment. However, it’s classified as a “premium” or affordable luxury brand much like Acura, and Infiniti rather than a true, full-fledged luxury brand like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Think of Buick as attainable luxury — fancier and more luxurious than the average mainstream car but not quite on the same level as Cadillac or the European luxury brands.
Who Makes Buick?
Buick is a division of General Motors, the American automaker that also owns Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac. In fact, it was the first GM brand.
All Buicks are made by GM at various manufacturing plants around the world.
Where Are Buicks Made?
Buicks are built in several countries around the world, particularly the United States, Canada, China, and South Korea. Several past Buick models were also made in Germany.
China is Buick’s biggest market, so most of the Buick vehicles sold in that country are manufactured there. The Buick Envision crossover is made in China and imported to North America.
What Is Buick Avenir?
Introduced in 2018, Avenir is a sub-brand of Buick that serves as the brand’s highest and most luxurious trim level. Models with the Avenir trim typically have the best materials, tech, and convenience features that Buick has to offer.
What Is The Average Age Of A Buick Owner?
Buick’s reputation for being a brand for old people isn’t completely unfounded. The average Buick buyer is around 60 years old, which is older than the industry average of approximately 50 years old.
Buick has been around for over 100 years. While the brand isn’t as popular as it was in its hay days of the 1960s and 70s, all signs indicate that it will be around for many more years to come.
That’s because today’s Buicks are good cars that are safe, reliable, competitively priced, and cheap to own.
Despite not being full-fledged luxury vehicles like BMWs and Cadillacs, they offer stylish designs and plenty of modern tech and convenience features that we think many young car buyers who consider Buick to be an old people’s brand will find appealing.
The electric car revolution marks a new beginning for every automaker, so perhaps the best from the company is yet to come.
So, are Buicks good cars? Yes. You will likely be pleasantly surprised at how good they are.