- Buick Encore GX: Buick steps up their game in the subcompact SUV segment.
- Honda HR-V: Minor updates for 2021; Remains a well-mannered subcompact SUV.
2021 Buick Encore GX
Base Price: $25,195 / Read our 2021 Buick Encore GX Review
What we like: Much better than the standard Buick Encore; Roomy interior; AWD model dispenses with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in favor of 9-speed automatic
What we would change: Small 3-cylinder engine; CVT on FWD models; cheapish rear seat trim
Overview: Attractive, modern and upscale, the Buick Encore GX is designed to appeal to a new breed of Buick owner: one who appreciates the brand is an urban dweller, and more. In other words, a millennial. Much more stylish than its non-GX sibling, the vehicle is so different it should be renamed. It’s based on an all-new platform shared with the Chevrolet Trailblazer.
What’s new for 2021: The Buick Encore GX was entirely new for 2020, so little has changed in the 2021 model year. The Encore GX slots between the standard (smaller) Encore and the larger Buick Envision.
Features and Technology: The Encore GX comes in three trim levels: Preferred, Select and Essence. Base engine for the GX Preferred is a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged engine making 137 horsepower. A safety suite is standard, as are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, pedestrian braking, an eight-inch touchscreen display and 4G Wi-Fi.
GX Select adds heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. GX Essence includes all the above with leather-covered seats and LED headlights.
The AWD model ($2,000 additional) receives a 1.3-liter turbo inline-3 that provides 155 hp.
What does the future hold: Since the Buick Encore GX is so new, we don’t expect any major updates in the near future. We predict there will be minor refinements along the way.
2021 Honda HRV
Base Price: $22,140 / Read our 2021 Honda HR-V Review
What we like: Honda’s least expensive crossover; flexible interior and cargo space; auto-emergency braking
What we would change: Make the HR-V engine more powerful; improve it to properly compete with rivals; make Honda Sensing available to all trim levels
Overview: The Honda HR-V continues with few changes from a year ago, with excellent reliability and resale value, as seen in most Honda vehicles. The “Magic Seat” aids in interior flexibility and cargo space, along with generous passenger room. Continuously variable transmission (CVT) is just ok. All-wheel drive is standard on top-shelf Touring trim level, while lesser trims must pony up $1,500 for the feature.
What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Honda HR-V returns relatively unchanged this year, with minor trim updates. All trim levels except base LX receive new wheel designs, while the Sport model gets new rear privacy glass.
Features and Technology: The HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter inline-4 that is good for 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. Combined with the CVT, it results in tepid power and acceleration. Sadly, you must step up to the EX trim for the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assists including forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and the Honda LaneWatch blind-spot camera.
What does the future hold: Still a first-generation vehicle in the United States, the 2021 Honda HR-V follows the same pattern set forth at its introduction in 2016. Expect a new design sometime late this year as a 2022 model. Find 2021 Honda HR-V models for sale near you
Encore GX vs HR-V: Strengths Comparison
Buick Encore GX: Engine choice gives more options; well built; standard safety tech; great value.
Honda HR-V: Honda reliability and resale value; Good passenger layout and cargo-hauling capability.
2021 Buick Encore GX vs. 2021 Honda HR-V: Which is better?
Honda has a bulletproof reputation for reliability and resale but Buick impresses with more power and capabilities. For that reason we say the Buick Encore GX is better. Find a 2021 Buick Encore GX for sale or Find a 2021 Honda HR-V for sale
|2021 Buick Encore GX||2021 HONDA HR-V|
|Engine||1.2-liter turbo inline-3||1.8-liter I4|
|Horsepower||137 hp @ 5,000 rpm||141 @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||162 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm||127 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm|
|Transmission||CVT||CVT with overdrive|
|Fuel Economy||28 mpg (26 city/30 hwy)||30 mpg (28 city/34 hwy)|
|Also Available||1.3-liter turbo inline-3, AWD, 9-spd auto||AWD|
|Warranty||3 years/36,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA Safety Rating||5-star||5-star|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||102.2 inches||102.8 inches|
|Overall Length||171.4 inches||170.4 inches|
|Width||71.4 inches||69.8 inches|
|Height||61.1 inches||63.2 inches|
|Turning Diameter||36.8 feet||37.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||39.7 inches||37.6 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.1 inches||38.3 inches|
|Legroom, Front||40.9 inches||41.2 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||36.0 inches||39.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||55.4 inches||56.8 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||53.6 inches||54.5 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||92.8 cubic feet||96.1 cubic feet|
|Cargo Volume||23.5/50.2 cubic feet||24.3/58.8 cubic feet|