The 2020 Buick Encore GX is the newest subcompact crossover from Buick, though if you were to get it confused with its smaller sibling, the Encore, you wouldn’t be alone. Despite being an entirely new vehicle, the Encore GX does share some design cues (and name) with Buick’s smallest crossover. That’s not to say the Encore GX is the lone vehicle derived from GM’s VSS-F platform. Rather, it shares this lineage with its cousin, the Chevrolet Trailblazer.
Outside, the Encore GX is attractive, stylish and proportional, though its sibling’s genetics can clearly be recognized. It’s as if the Encore hit the gym and got a new haircut, resulting in the more buff and refined Encore GX. What’s even more remarkable is that it seems less like a Buick than any Buick ever before. It’s a handsome crossover that is sure to turn heads and dispel any outdated misconceptions that Buick is a manufacturer for the early bird crowd.
Inside, the Encore GX has ample room for full-grown humans, with plenty of headroom even with the available sunroof. The cabin experience is a bit of a mixed bag, though, with high-quality materials in the front and lower-quality cheap plastic in the rear. That’s not to say the higher trim levels aren’t attractive — the Essence trim features leather-covered seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
What’s New for 2020?
The Buick Encore GX is an entirely new model, sized between the compact Encore and midsize Envision. See the 2020 Buick Encore GX models for sale near you
What We Like
- Bigger than the smaller but similarly-named Encore
- Tons of safety tech
- All-wheel drive model has a 9-speed automatic transmission
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard
What We Don’t
- Small 3-cylinder engines
- CVT transmission on front-wheel drive models
- Confusing model name (there is already a Buick Encore)
In Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy, the new Buick Encore GX has an edge over the standard Encore. The front-drive 2020 Encore GX, equipped with the 137-horsepower 1.2-liter, is rated at 26 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined. Somewhat surprisingly, the front-drive Encore GX with the 155-hp 1.3-liter does even better, with EPA figures of 30 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/31 mpg combined.
The AWD 1.3-liter Buick Encore GX achieves 26 mpg city/29 mpg highway/28 mpg combined. One thing to note: the AWD Encore GX includes a disable switch that allows the driver to switch to fuel-saving FWD mode when conditions allow.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Buick Encore GX comes in three trim levels: Preferred, Select and Essence.
The GX Preferred starts at $24,100 plus destination fee of $995 and includes the 1.2-liter engine with FWD as well as a standard safety suite that includes automatic emergency braking, pedestrian braking and lane-keeping assist. In addition, the Preferred also includes push-button ignition, an 8-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and 18-in alloy wheels.
The GX Select ($25,700) adds heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and a safety package that includes a blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist.
The GX Essence ($28,500) adds leather-covered seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an in-vehicle air ionizer.
Optional on all three trim levels is the 1.3-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine as well as AWD, a Sport Touring package and a black-painted roof.
Other options on the entry-level Encore GX Preferred model include a panoramic moonroof, a hands-free power lift gate, heated front seats, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system.
The Encore GX Select trim allows for an optional navigation system along with a head-up display (HUD), a rear camera mirror and Marketplace, an app that allows you to purchase fuel or make reservations at participating locations.
There are slightly less available options on the top-of-the-line Encore GX Essence trim, but they include a 7-speaker Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging and a parking-assist program.
Standard on all trim levels of the Encore GX is a suite of six safety and driver assistance features. This suite includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, following distance indicator and IntelliBeam headlamps with automatically-adjusting high/low beams.
Available safety features include rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, a rear camera mirror, adaptive cruise control and head-up display, automatic parking assist and a high-definition surround vision camera system.
Behind the Wheel
Buick’s new Encore GX is a little bigger than the non-GX Encore and that makes it a great fit for everyday life. The Encore GX has the option of a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine. Get it. The option adds $395 to the price and makes the Encore GX fun. It’s a 3-cylinder engine with 155 hp. That doesn’t sound like much but the Encore GX is actually fun and really feels quick. Combined with the 9-speed automatic transmission, there’s always plenty of power. It’s perfect for darting around town, running errands. Handling is decent, too. It’s no sports car but the subcompact Encore GX handles curves without much leaning. That, combined with quick steering, adds up to a car that’s rewarding to drive. It feels controlled and communicates a stable, confident feel overall. The interior is also nicely done in the Essence trim. The Essence version of the Encore GX starts at $29,000 so an attractive interior is expected. Still, this Buick looks and feels a little nicer inside than small SUVs like the Honda HR-V or Kia Seltos but the Encore GX isn’t quite on par with the Acura RDX.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Mazda CX-30 — Mazda‘s newest subcompact has an awkward naming convention as well, but then again, what’s in a name? No matter what you call it, the CX-30 is such an incredible value that it was named to Autotrader’s Best Cars For 2020.
Questions You May Ask
What’s the difference between the Buick Encore and the new Buick Encore GX?
The Buick Encore GX is a completely new vehicle and is larger than the smaller Buick Encore.
Where is the 2021 Buick Encore GX made?
The Buick Encore GX is built at a GM assembly plant in South Korea, the same as its Buick Encore sibling.
What’s the size difference between the standard Buick Encore and the new Buick Encore GX?
The Buick Encore GX is a 171.4-in vehicle with a 102.2-in wheelbase. The Buick Encore is slightly smaller: it’s a 168.4-in vehicle with a 100.6-in wheelbase. Behind the rear seat, the Encore has 18.8 cu ft. of cargo space as opposed to the new Encore GX’s 23.5.
The Buick Encore GX enters an extremely competitive segment but should put forth a strong showing given the existing strength of the Encore. The Essence trim has the most desirable features but the lower trim levels present the greatest value given the host of standard safety tech on the tiny Buick. If you’re OK with forgoing the leather, the amenities on the Select trim level offer the most bang for your buck. Find a Buick Encore GX for sale