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Most of the time, you have to pick two of three when it comes to SUVs: good, cheap, or fast. Fast is something drivers can live without as long as the excellent and affordable attributes remain an option. One of the cheapest SUV models available this year is the 2023 Buick Encore GX, and here are three reasons it is actually a good pick. You don’t even need the fully loaded Encore GX to get a good vehicle; Buick has all of the trims pretty well equipped.

What is the cheapest SUV that’s actually good?

The cheapest SUV is this 2023 Buick Encore GX
Passenger front view of 2023 Buick Encore GX | Buick

If you are looking for the cheapest SUV that is still a suitable vehicle, the 2023 Buick Encore GX is a surprisingly good option. When U.S. News evaluated the Buick SUV, it returned positive results across the board. Buick offers the 2023 Encore GX in three trim levels: Preferred, Select, and Essence. All trim levels come with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available for an additional $2,000 or so.

2023 Buick Encore GX TrimsMSRP
The cheapest SUV offers good value

While the fully loaded Essence trim has many features, most budget-conscious shoppers will be happy with the base Preferred trim. Starting at $25,900, the Buick SUV has an eight-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Buick offers two engine options for the Encore GX. The standard engine is a turbo 1.2L three-cylinder with 137 horsepower, while a turbo 1.3L three-cylinder with 155 horsepower is available. That base engine paired with front-wheel drive gets 29 mpg in the city. Those who opt for the upgraded engine with FWD can expect 29 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

Is the cheapest SUV of 2023 reliable?

Inside cheapest SUV that is the 2023 Buick Encore GX
Inside the 2023 Buick Encore GX | Buick

Don’t underestimate the 2023 Buick Encore GX because it is one of the cheapest SUVs; it has a predicted reliability score of 90 out of 100. That is considered a great score and pretty above average for the segment. On top of the reliability factor, Buick loaded the Encore GX with standard driver-assistance features. That makes the 2023 Buick an affordable and safe SUV choice.

Systems like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning are all standard. Lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and pedestrian detection are also standard. A few available driver-assistance features can be added with packages or higher trim levels, but the base model comes with plenty.

Those safety systems helped the Buick SUV earn a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It earned high marks in the frontal, side, and rollover tests. The 2023 Buick Encore GX also earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick award when equipped with LED projector headlights. These come standard on the Essence trim, but the other two trims earned a score of “moderate.”

Is 2023 the last year for the Buick Encore SUV?

Though it will no longer be the cheapest SUV on the market, the 2024 Buick Encore GX is back and has some significant improvements. Buick gave the small SUV another major refresh to capture some market interest, hopefully. The base model with front-wheel drive will start at around $25,600.

That may disappoint some folks interested in the cheap SUV, but it could benefit shoppers in the long run. With a significant refresh rolling out, dealerships might be happy to unload old inventory of the 2023 Buick Encore GX. If that means finding a higher trim level at a better price, then so be it! This overlooked gem might be the answer to your questions.


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