The Buick Encore was the original subcompact crossover utility vehicle, and it remains one of the best-selling small crossovers on the market. So how could GM's affordable luxury brand improve on a good thing? Maybe by making a little more of it. The new Encore GX is about three inches longer and two inches wider than the basic Encore, giving buyers a little more interior space. But that's just part of what's new with the Encore GX.
The Encore GX offers new standard safety and driver assistance features including Front Pedestrian Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. The new model also offers an optional innovative Rear Camera Mirror, which provides a wide, less obstructed rear view while parking and driving, and High Definition Surround Vision camera system. If you have never driven with a camera mirror, it's literally an eye-opening experience, especially at night. Further safety features are available as options, including Rear Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Surround Vision Camera System, and a Head-Up Display for driver information.
The Encore GX is powered by a standard 1.2-liter turbocharged engine rated at 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, paired with a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel-drive. Buyers who opt for all-wheel-drive receive the optional 1.3-liter turbo engine at 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque and a 9-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful engine is also available with a CVT and front-wheel-drive as an optional upgrade with the Select or Essence trim levels. One unique feature of the AWD system in the Encore GX is a console-mounted disable switch, which allows drivers to choose AWD when traction is required, or FWD for improved fuel economy.
Inside, the Encore GX offers Buick's advanced QuietTuning system, muting much of the road noise that often makes a small SUV less relaxing than a larger one. Available luxury interior options include heated leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and an ionizing air filter. The Encore GX provides 25.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second row seats, or you can flip those down to open up 50.2 cubic feet of space, with the ability to carry items up to 8 feet long when placed diagonally.
For infotainment and connectivity, the Encore GX comes with an 8-inch touchscreen display. The Buick system has the ability to connect up to two smart phones at once, with USB type A and C ports for both the front and back seats. The system supports Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto. Wireless charging is optional, but available.
On the road, the Encore GX is a dramatic improvement over the smaller Encore. Larger passengers may find Buick's smallest SUV a little tight, but the Encore GX is enough larger that you'll feel more relaxed. The 1.3-liter turbo engine provides plenty of power for the Encore GX to move, and the AWD system just works without any intervention from the driver's seat. Visibility is excellent in all directions.
The bottom line is that the Encore GX is an upgrade from the base Encore in every way. If you've been one of the thousands of customers who have enjoyed the Buick Encore, you're in for a real treat when you experience the 2020 Buick Encore GX.
2020 Buick Encore GX Essence - AWD
Base price: $30,500
Price as tested: $36,570
Type: Subcompact Crossover SUV
Engine: 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (155 hp, 174 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9-speed automatic; Continuously Variable Transmission
EPA estimated mileage: 26/29
Overall length: 171.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,273 pounds
Final assembly: Bupyeong, Korea
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