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  • 2020 Buick Encore GX Essense Review

    2020 Buick Encore GX Essense Review

    This week we take a look at the all-new Buick Encore GX, a small premium crossover that is a little larger than the original Encore, but not as large as the Buick Envision. Encore GX shares a platform with the popular Chevrolet Blazer.

    For now, the Encore GX is an addition to the Buick lineup. The smaller Encore sold well for Buick but many people, including me, did not like the shape of it, and Buick gave the GX better lines and less of an egg-shape. It is also 3-inches longer and I find the appearance pleasing. I would not be surprised if the Encore GX eventually replaces the Encore.

    Performance

    Under the hood, you have the choice of two different turbocharged 3-cylinder engines. Yes, I said 3-cylinder. There is a 1.2-liter and also the one I have, which is a 1.3-liter turbo putting out 155-horses. This one is mated to a continually variable transmission, but if you get all-wheel drive it comes with a conventional 9-speed. If memory serves, this is the first 3-cylinder engine I have reviewed.

    Encore GX comes in three trim levels, the Preferred, the Select, and the top-of-the-line Essence which is what you see here.

    Interior

    Moving to the inside, you see attractive and inviting seats that are heated and quite comfortable. As you look at the dash, there is a 4-inch configurable driver information center. On top of the dash is a pop-up head-up display that is just a little too cheesy for me. It looks like an aftermarket add-on, I would prefer the traditional kind that displays on the windshield.

    The infotainment system has an 8-inch screen that works well and features audio controls for Bluetooth, navigation, your Wi-Fi Hotspot, settings, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but no HD radio much to my displeasure.

    Swipe left to the next screen and you can add your own apps, operate Onstar, climate, the rear camera, and activate Alexa, which has an interface with Whole Foods so you can shop from your vehicle. Marketplace also allows you to pre-order food and drinks from certain chain restaurants.

    The center console is laid out well with a wireless phone charger and buttons to turn off the start/stop, turn on the parking sensors and parking assist. The Encore GX will parallel park itself, which is a nice feature.

    The interior of the Encore GX is well done with minimal stitching and a mix of soft-touch materials and plastic. Back seat head and leg room are good, and back occupants get USB ports and a power outlet, but no rear air vents, which is a problem.

    Utility

    Cargo area is actually good. You get 23.5 cubic feet of cargo area, and put down the back seat and that grows to 50.2. One cool feature is the passenger front seat folds flat if you need to haul something really long.

    Standard Equipment and Options

    The Essence package comes well equipped with keyless entry and remote start, driver and passenger power seat, heated steering wheel, and LED front and rear lights.

    Options total $5200 and you get the Advanced Technology package which is adaptive cruise control, surround view camera, the head-up display and navigation. Other options include Sport Touring package, power liftgate, 18” wheels, and the White Frost paint will set you back $1,095, the most I’ve ever seen charged for a small SUV.

    Safety

    Safety-wise, you get automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane keeping assistance and lane departure warning. It also has the back seat reminder and teen driver features. The back seat reminder can be a true lifesaver.

    Ride and Drive

    It is a Buick so handling is good, the ride is soft, the turning radius is fantastic and it is super quiet inside, but let’s be honest, the 3-cylinder is anemic at best, especially for those of us with a heavy foot. I can’t imagine what the 1.2-liter feels like, nor do I want to know.

    Fuel Economy and What You’ll Pay

    Gas mileage is good at 30 in town, but only 32 on the highway. Pricewise, it’s a good value at $34,715 before discounts and rebates.

    Verdict

    The Encore GX is a good addition to the lineup, especially since I’ve never been a fan of the Encore.

    2020 Buick Encore GX Essense

    • What I liked most: The interior quality and value proposition.
    • What I would change: Drop the 1.2-liter and add a 4-cylinder turbo option.
    • MSRP: Base price $28,500 as equipped $34,715.
    • Fuel Economy: Rated at 30 in town, 32 highway, 31 combined.
    • Official Color: White Frost Tricoat.
    • Odometer reading when tested: 4100 miles.
    • Weight: 3,094 pounds.
    • Spare Tire: Compact spare.
    • Length-Width-Height: 171.4” long/71.4” wide/64.1” high.
    • Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
    • Towing Capacity: 1000 pounds.
    • 2020 Encore GX in a few words: A really nice SUV if you aren’t into performance, but want luxury and good fuel economy.
    • Final Assembly Location: Gu, Korea.
    • Manufacturers website: www.BUICK.com
    • Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/50,000 mile power train warranty, free first maintenance visit, and courtesy transportation.
    • Next up: 2020 Infiniti QX50 Autograph.

    Credit: Buick