The 2020 Buick Encore GX Is a Snoozefest

The Buick Encore GX is a slightly bigger version of the regular Encore, first released for the 2020 model year. Many critics have applauded the Encore GX for its updated exterior and all-around better value. However, Car and Driver argues that there’s nothing too special about the Encore GX.

The standard Buick Encore has never received stunning reviews either, mostly due to a sluggish engine and few standard features. While its sales have gone up in the past decade, it still gets underwhelming scores from critics. Unfortunately, it seems that the Buick Encore GX is doomed to the same level of mediocrity.

The new Buick Encore GX

We’d still classify the Buick Encore GX as a small crossover, but it doesn’t skimp on the basic amenities. The seats are made from cloth and imitation leather and the driver’s seat is highly adjustable. It also comes with heated mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A Cold Weather Comfort package adds on heated and power-adjustable front seats.

The Encore GX also has a good amount of technology, including smartphone integration, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Amazon Alexa compatibility is also standard. It only has three safety features on the base trim: lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and forward-collision warning. Drivers can also get rear-cross traffic alert and blind-spot monitors through an available safety package.

The Buick Encore GX has three trim levels and two engine options. The standard Preferred model has a turbo 1.2 three-cylinder engine capable of 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with front-wheel drive and a CVT.

The two upper trims, Select and Essence, can be purchased with all-wheel-drive. These models come with a 1.3-liter three-cylinder that can make 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Test-driving the Buick Encore GX

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Car and Driver’s staff found that the Encore GX’s interior is very spacious and comfortable. Testers also appreciated the functionality of the cargo area. It’s bigger than the standard Encore’s and it has a low loading floor. If you need to pack away any long items, the front passenger’s seat also folds flat.

However, staff also reported that the interior quality isn’t the best overall. It’s definitely more upscale than the regular Encore, with premium upholstery and far fewer plastic components. However, C&D didn’t feel it had a better fit and finish than any of its rivals.

Testers also felt that actually driving the Buick Encore GX is a fairly unexciting experience. Even the upgraded engine is pitifully slow, with a 0-60 mph time of only 9.3 seconds. It also returned lower gas mileage numbers for city driving than what was reported by the EPA. C&D testers only managed to get 22 mpg in the city, but it’s estimated for 26 mpg.

At least the Buick Encore GX gives drivers a smooth ride over rough terrain. However, it also suffers from lackluster handling and strains to pass cars on the highway. 

Good points of the Buick Encore GX

The Buick Encore GX has an incredibly comfortable interior and comes with a lot of great features in the standard version. Its roomy dimensions also make it a great option for road trips or families who need a lot of cargo space. If you’re only using the car for city driving, the engines provide a sufficient amount of power.

However, it’s a fairly average SUV overall. It doesn’t have the most distinguishable exterior design and its handling lacks any engagement. The Buick Encore GX might have one of the lowest price tags, but there are plenty of better luxury alternatives available.