Don’t let their names fool you — the 2021 Buick Encore GX and Buick Encore are actually two very different crossovers. Our comparison guide is here to help you choose the extra-small crossover that best fits your lifestyle.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BUICK ENCORE GX AND ENCORE?
Both the 2021 Buick Encore GX and the Encore are both classified as extra-small crossovers. However, the Encore GX is slightly larger, which translates into more passenger and cargo space for you.
Behind the rear seats, the Encore GX offers 23.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold those seats down to create 50.2 cubes of maximum cargo space. The slightly smaller Encore has 18.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 48.4 cubes total.
In addition to being roomier, the Encore GX also offers more in the way of trim models, powertrain options, and modern features. Compared to the regular Encore, the Encore GX is a newer model from Buick, introduced for the 2020 model year, and its newness certainly shows.
HOW DO THE ENCORE GX AND ENCORE DRIVE?
The Encore GX is a smooth operator, balancing a surprisingly sporty performance with modern ride comfort. Front-wheel-drive models use a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine to crank out 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This engine powers the front wheels via continuously variable transmission that’s tuned for efficiency. And this engine helps the Encore GX earn up to 29 mpg combined (28 city/31 highway mpg).
All-wheel-drive models are extra sporty, with a turbocharged 1.3-liter engine that supplies a stronger burst of speed with 155 horses and 174 pound-feet of torque. This engine is also optional for front-wheel-drive models, helping the Encore GX earn up to 31 mpg combined (30/32 mpg). If you choose this upgraded engine, it comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission that balances a sporty performance with impressive efficiency.
The Buick Encore only offers one powertrain: a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The Encore is about as powerful as the base Encore GX, with 138 horses and 148 pound-feet of torque. However, the Encore isn’t quite as thrifty, with max EPA ratings of 27 mpg combined (25/30 mpg). All-wheel drive is also optional.
WHAT FEATURES ARE AVAILABLE?
The 2021 Buick Encore GX and Encore offer just about all of the same features, but the Encore GX actually gives you more for your money.
Both crossovers come standard with an impressive range of infotainment gear, including an 8-inch central touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and a Wi-Fi modem.
However, the Encore GX comes standard with a wealth of high-tech safety aids. For example, you don’t have to pay extra for the benefits of forward collision mitigation and lane departure mitigation. These systems can intervene on your behalf, actively applying the brakes are steering you back into the proper lane.
The Encore doesn’t come standard with high-tech safety aids, but you can add a couple of packages, the Safety Package and Safety Package II. The former adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The latter helps you avoid damages with forward collision alert and lane departure warning. With these optional features, the Encore can notify you of potential danger. However, unlike the Encore GX, the Encore’s safety aids can’t actually intervene.
WHICH MODEL IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Because these models feature similar price tags, choosing between the 2021 Buick Encore GX and Encore comes down to what you want in a daily driver. Since it’s newer to the Buick lineup, the Encore GX offers more in the way of standard safety gear. And it’s also bigger, with more rear-seat legroom and cargo space.