2020 Buick Encore GX is a whole new beast: larger, more tech-centric and designed to slot-in below the Envision.
Not to be confused with the standard subcompact Encore crossover, the 2020 Buick Encore GX is a whole new beast: larger, more tech-centric and designed to slot-in below the Envision. Here’s what we thought after spending a week in the all-new vehicle.
Unlike its smaller sibling, the GX doesn’t feel entry level at all. Possessing smooth and powerful contours and an athletic stance, the only thing I really didn’t love about the exterior was the Burnished Bronze Metallic (orange) paint.
“Premium SUV buyers are looking for features that fit their lifestyle priorities, and Buick is giving customers more segment choices with our new Encore GX,” says Duncan Aldred, Global Buick and GMC vice president in a news release.
“As we look to the future of Buick, and customer demand trends, our four-SUV portfolio puts us in a strong competitive position across the most popular SUV segments.” Our tester was the top-of-the-line Essence trim packing all the bells and whistles including chrome-accented bumpers, 18-inch machined and dark high gloss alloy wheels, roof rails, LED head, fog and tail lamps and a power lift gate. A Sport Touring package is offered that swaps the chrome for body colour, grill slats for mesh and features a different wheel design.
One of the highlights about the interior that really impressed me was the roominess. Testing a pickup truck immediately prior I became used to being able to carry a ton of stuff, but the bigger Encore could still fit a baby seat in the middle of the second row, and two inflatable stand up paddleboards behind where the cargo space is rated at 2,670 litres.
Also worth mentioning is the quiet ride due in large part to the brand’s QuietTuning hardware — comprised of several elements working together to mitigate unwanted noise. For example acoustic laminated glass, steel dash panel, and an isolated engine cradle reducing under-hood vibrations. The optional Bose stereo even plays a part, producing counteracting sound waves to cancel out outside auditory disturbances.
Recently, General Motors began rolling out Amazon Alexa functionality throughout its lineup. Like the home-based Echo smart speakers, once set up she can perform some pretty nifty tasks like start or cut the ignition and control the door locks. Occupants can also make the usual assortment of requests from asking current weather conditions to adding a calendar entry.
Infotainment systems have improved by leaps and bounds the last couple of years in terms of responsiveness and ease of use. Buick’s is no exception, accepting touch button presses and menu swipes quickly and accurately. Icing on the cake would be a physical tuning knob for radio stations.
Two turbocharged three-cylinder engines are available: a 137-horespower 1.2-litre on front-wheel drive models or the 155-horse 1.3-litre on our all-wheel drive tester. While not fast, the engine is punchy and doesn’t feel underpowered considering the tiny size.
What’s neat is a switch sitting above the shifter to turn off AWD when not needed to save fuel. In mixed city and highway conditions, I achieved approximately 11.0 L/100 km fuel economy. Not bad at all.
Motor: 1.3-litre turbocharged four cylinder
Horsepower: 155 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 174 @ 1,600 rpm
Gearbox: Nine-speed automatic
Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 11.0 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)
Photos: Buick Press-room