The Car Connection Buick Encore Overview
The Buick Encore is the smallest crossover SUV available from the automaker. It's actually two vehicles: the older Encore introduced in 2013, and the new Encore GX, a slightly larger and more refined car new in 2020.
The Encore and Encore GX tackle rivals from the Audi Q3, to vehicles such as the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, and the Kia Seltos.
MORE: Read our 2021 Buick Encore GX review
The newer Encore GX takes the same tack as the original Encore, but fluffs and refines it in nearly every direction. The body wears more crests and curves, better details, and slim LED headlights. Inside, it's a far richer experience, with some top-end versions dressed in metallic trim and upholstered dash panels.
The Encore GX adopts a pair of turbo-3 engines. A 137-hp 1.2-liter turbo-3 comes standard, while all Encore GXs can be upgraded to a 155-hp 1.3-liter turbo-3. A CVT connects power to the front wheels in most versions; with all-wheel drive, Buick switches to a 9-speed automatic.
With a more controlled ride and stronger acceleration, the Encore GX makes for a better all-around vehicle, but interior space is where it's more useful in daily commuting. With room for four adults and up to 50.2 cubic feet of cargo space, it can flex interior room to suit the need.
The Encore GX outpoints the older Encore with standard automatic emergency braking, and options for blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system.
Priced from the mid-$20,000s, the Encore GX has standard power features, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and options for Bose audio and a panoramic roof.
The Buick Encore
Back in 2013, Buick aimed the original Encore at urban families.
At just 168.4 inches long, with a wheelbase of 100.6 inches, the Encore has a footprint a little larger than those of subcompact cars like the Chevy Sonic and Honda Fit, but it is considerably taller.
The Encore seats four adults comfortably, while the back seat can accommodate three across if those folks are all smaller or willing to get cozy. It has 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats, or 18.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
The Encore is powered by the same 1.4-liter turbo-4 that's available in Chevy's Cruze and Sonic, as well as the Trax crossover. It puts out 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. With a 6-speed automatic directing power, the Encore gets up to 30 mpg on the highway. With its cushy suspension, the Encore crossover is not terribly sporty, instead focusing on decent fuel economy.
The Encore netted top "Good" ratings in all of the IIHS tests. In federal testing, the small Buick earned a five-star overall rating for both front- and all-wheel drive versions.
The Encore was mostly unchanged through 2015, with the exception of OnStar's new 4G LTE data connection being made available. For 2016, Buick added an Encore Sport Touring with an uprated engine, a rear spoiler, its own 18-inch wheels, and engine stop/start.
A 2017 update added a new winglike grille flanked by available LED headlights. A new dash pared down on its button count, as the Encore adopted a new infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
After that modest update in 2017, the 2018 Encore was essentially left alone aside from a newly optional air ionizer and a capless fuel filling system. Buick cut trim levels and left only the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder in the lineup through 2020.