There are plenty of vehicles that share platforms and other parts across different brands. The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer and 2020 Buick Encore GX, which are both General Motors vehicles, are two of these siblings. The two have different exterior and interior designs, but they share their platform components. With so many substantial similarities, what are the differences, and who should buy each SUV? Cars.com reviewed the Chevy Trailblazer and the Encore GX to help buyers decide.
The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer has a lower price than the 2020 Buick Encore GX
The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer has a starting price of $19,000. It has five trim levels, and the starting price of its top RS trim with all-wheel drive is $27,995. Cars.com tested the fourth-highest trim, the Activ trim, with all-wheel drive, which came in at $30,580.
The 2020 Buick Encore GX that was tested was the top Essence Sport Touring trim with all-wheel drive. It was also fully loaded and cost $5,000 more than the Trailblazer at $35,720. The Encore GX starts at $24,100. The highest of the three trims starts at $31,495 when equipped with all-wheel drive.
For buyers most interested in the driving experience, it turns out that it’s probably better to save a few thousand dollars when comparing these similar SUVs and go with the Trailblazer.
The Trailblazer and Encore GX have nearly the same powertrains
Cars.com found the Chevy Trailblazer to be “fun to drive” and the Buick Encore GX to be “surprisingly quick given its meager power rating.” The Trailblazer comes with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option on four of its five trim levels. Both SUVs have two engine options and two transmission options.
Cars.com tested a Trailblazer and an Encore GX that both had the turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. These engines generate 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. Both were paired with all-wheel drive. Cars.com found that both SUVs were “sprightly in around-town driving” but not so much at higher speeds or on highways.
Both SUVs come standard with a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, producing 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. The standard version also has front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The Chevy Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX have similar driving experiences
While the rides in both the Chevy Trailblazer and the Buick Encore GX are nearly the same, there are tiny differences. The Trailblazer was more fun to drive since it offers a Sport mode, which the Encore GX doesn’t have.
The suspensions of the two SUVs are a little bit different, plus the Encore GX also has a shorter wheelbase and different tires. All these factors affect the ride and handling of the SUVs. The Activ trim of the Trailblazer is designed to be a bit more off-road-ready as well.
The two do have different designs
Both the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer and the 2020 Buick Encore GX are small SUVs, and the biggest differences between the two SUVs are in their designs. Cars.com described the Trailblazer as “funky” and the Encore GX as “stylish.” The Trailblazer has a Chevy feel and a more “rugged” look, especially in the Activ trim level. The Encore GX has a “sleeker, carlike look” in keeping with the Buick brand.
The Encore GX has a slightly more luxury look in the interior than the Trailblazer, and it offers three interior colors while the Trailblazer has two. However, the two SUVs aren’t that different in the interior and the materials are similar as well. Active noise cancellation is standard on the Encore GX and Trailblazers that have all-wheel drive, but the Encore GX also has different door seals and different tires that make it a little quieter.
The Encore GX does have more optional features than the Trailblazer. Cars.com lists these extra features as “an auto-dimming rear camera mirror with washer, dual-zone climate control, real leather seats instead of leatherette, a standard 8-inch multimedia screen and 4.2-inch color gauge cluster versus the Chevy Trailblazer’s standard 7-inch screen and 3.5-inch cluster, a head-up display, surround-vision camera and more.” The Encore GX also offers automatic parking assist, lane-change alert, and rain-detecting automatic windshield wipers.
Which one should you buy?
According to Cars.com, the driving experience is so similar in the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer and the 2020 Buick Encore GX that most buyers should save their money and go with the Trailblazer. However, buyers shopping based on design or looking for extra features may be willing to spend more to have the Encore GX.