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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

2020 Buick Encore GX

The Buick Encore GX AWD Essence is a new entry in the compact SUV segment; it has been on sale for two years. Our test vehicle has an MSRP of $37,683.00 and was manufactured at the Incheon plant in South Korea that also produces the Chevrolet Trailblazer click here to read the review.

Let's find out how the Buick Encore GX differentiates from its Chevy counterpart.

Although the Encore GX shares the name with the Buick Encore, they are not the same vehicle. The Buick Encore is a subcompact crossover sold for almost a decade, while our test model, the Encore GX, is a more practical size for families. In our opinion, Buick should have used a completely different name to differentiate between the entry-level Buick Encore and the more refined Buick Encore GX.

Anyway, onto the styling, the Encore GX is classier than its Chevrolet counterpart, which focuses more on the outdoors, especially in the Activ trim like the one we tried here. Its lines are less pronounced, and overall, the vehicle feels more upscale from the outside, and that's what Buick emphasizes with the GX. Onboard, the black and ebony interior has a nice premium feel. This combination of colors brings out the best of the interior, and at under 40 thousand dollars, there aren't many vehicles that feel this luxurious.

Now to the technology, this Buick comes with a lot of features that you can expect from a premium brand, such as adaptive cruise control, heads-up display (HUD), automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, to name a few. The gauge cluster is only partially digital; as a personal preference, we find it practical to have the speedometer and tachometer physical, and the rest can surely be digital. The only annoyance we found is that when Apple Car Play/Android Auto is connected (Carplay is wireless), the directions do not appear on the HUD or the small screen between the gauges. Besides that, nothing out of the ordinary is present on the Encore GX. Our test model comes with heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate controls: once again, features expected in a full-equipped Buick. The 8-inch touchscreen is good too and easy to use; it's the same screen you'll find in other GM products.

Now continuing on the interior, the seats aren't that different from the Chevy Trailblazer, but they feel a bit cushier; if you remember, this was a complaint about the latter. The two-tone look makes them stand out, and they are more than adequate for long road trips. In the back, taller adults may feel a bit cramped; overall, it's pretty roomy in the back of the Encore GX. The ISOFIX latches are hidden in the seats, so that's a bit of a challenge to hook and unhook car seats. Trunk space is decent for a vehicle this size, and, like the Trailblazer, you can easily open the trunk with the hands-free power liftgate. You place your feet over the Buick logo projected on the ground, and voila, the liftgate slowly opens.

Getting to the performance side of things, the Buick Encore GX is equipped with the 1.3L 3-cylinder turbo ECOTEC with an output of 155hp and 174 lb-ft of torque coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is geared for comfort; switching gears is done smoothly and quickly upshift to avoid revving the engine too close to the red line. The GX is aimed at buyers looking for a smooth ride, and it provides just that. The suspension is tuned for comfort, and it does a great job at keeping the car stable even when the road is bumpy. The steering is quite vague, but once again, that's no surprise for a Buick aimed at comfort.

At the end of the day, the Encore GX is worthy of the Buick badge because it allies luxury and comfort at a discounted price compared to the German brands. At $37683, this vehicle is great for small families that live in the suburbs with parents going to work downtown and, the compact size makes it pretty easy to park.

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