Something that drives the industry forward and constantly pushes companies throughout the globe to better themselves, and their products is competition. Competition is a healthy thing to have in the marketplace, and it only benefits you and other drivers, giving you more choices than you previously would have. The simple idea of getting a vehicle rather similar to its competition at an exuberantly cheaper cost is what piques the interest of drivers everywhere. This ideology is what we experienced when we looked at comparing the 2020 Chevy Trax vs 2020 Buick Encore.
These two SUVs are commonly pitted against each other due to their wide range of similarities. The real catch of the entire situation is that the 2020 Chevy Trax, which features much of the same specs, costs $1,900 less than the 2020 Buick Encore when gazing at the MSRP of these two vehicles. Going with the base trims, the 2020 Buick Encore starts at $23,200, while the 2020 Chevy Trax starts at $21,300, making the Chevy Trax already look like the appealing option before you even consider the specs within the vehicle. The similarities are strikingly similar from the engine they possess, all the way down to the measurements of the vehicles itself.
Let’s Talk Specs
Both the 2020 Trax and the 2020 Encore feature the same engine with similar performance. The engine is a 1.4-liter I4 engine that can produce 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque on a 6-speed automatic transmission. In terms of fuel-efficiency, both the Trax and the Encore put out 24 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. Both vehicles come standard with FWD, but both do retain the option to upgrade to AWD depending on your trim level, which is certainly a nice feature to have.
With either the Trax or the Encore, both are 5-seaters and offer extremely similar measurements within their interiors, as well as their exteriors. The height and width are also similar between the two, with the Trax having a height and width of 64.9” and 69.9” and the Encore’s being 65.3” and 70.1” respectively. Length is also a similar story with the 2020 Buick Encore measuring out at 168.4” while the Trax retains an ever slightly smaller 167.6” measurement. The front-seats within the interior share the same 39.6” of headroom and 40.8” of legroom, meaning you won’t have to worry about sacrificing size for the price difference. Both have the same 38.8” of rear headroom while rear legroom on the Trax measures out at 35.7” opposed to the 35.8” of rear legroom on the Encore, but this fraction of an inch is so minute we don’t expect you’ll notice the difference. As far as maximum luggage volume between the two vehicles, again, you won’t have to worry about sacrificing size for cost as both vehicles offer up 48.4 cu.ft. of space. When you’ve got a full house, and the seats can’t be folded down for extra storage space, we come across a similar measurement of cargo volume for the Encore and Trax, those being 18.8 cu.ft. and 18.7 cu.ft., respectively.
Both vehicles come equipped with ten airbags and are both linked with OnStar services so you can be sure safety is at the forefront at all times. Both the Encore and the Trax come standard with a rear vision camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, and Stabilitrak technology, which is essentially an electronic stability control system with built-in traction control.
Although some features are only included in the higher tier trims, you can assure the base model Trax and Encore will include a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for accessing internet on you or your family’s wireless devices, a driver information center which displays information such as your average fuel economy, tire pressure, trip odometer, oil life, fuel range, vehicle speed, as well as displaying warning messages should they arise. Both vehicles feature Bluetooth, so you’ll be able to answer phone calls or access your music library with no extra cables required. Another piece of the interior we are glad is mutually shared is an infotainment system displayed on a 7-inch diagonal touch screen on the Chevy Trax and an 8-inch variant on the Buick Encore. We honestly feel for the price you’re saving by going with the Chevy Trax, we happily prefer the infotainment on the Trax since a one-inch difference is minimal. The base model Chevy Trax does, however, include a 12-volt power outlet. In contrast, if you want a power outlet on the Buick Encore, you’ll have no choice but to shell out more money for the 120-volt power outlet, so because of that, we’re glad the Chevy Trax has our backs for a power outlet right out of the gate.
Higher-Tier Trim Options
Even though the base models share a lot of similarities, it doesn’t stop there. If you were to go with the highest trim option available for both the Chevy Trax and the Buick Encore, much of the upgraded features you receive by upgrading your trim level are also shared across the board. The top of the line trims includes the Encore Essence and the Chevy Trax Premier, both starting at $29,300 and $27,600, respectively.
When it comes to the Premier, and the Essence, things do get a little interesting, however. Each Trax Premier comes standard with a Bose premium 7-speaker audio system immersing your entire interior with some of the best speakers on the market, while it merely remains as an available option on the Buick Essence, coming standard with a basic 6-speaker system. Impressively in terms of safety features, the Trax has a wider range of safety features, much of which remains optional on the Encore Essence, whereas they come standard with the Trax Premier. Both vehicles come standard with features such as a rear-cross traffic alert, which will alert you to any cross traffic that has been detected behind you while you are reversing out of a parking space, let’s say. Also, standard on both vehicles is a side blind zone alert system that will display an alert on your side mirror when an approaching vehicle is nearing the side blind zone of your vehicle.
The Encore Essence includes the aforementioned 120-volt power outlet thanks to the trim’s implementation of Buick’s safety package while the Chevy Trax offers two power outlets so you can have multiple devices plugged in, one of these is a 110-volt power outlet which still provides an ample power output compared to the Encore’s 120-volt outlet while the second power outlet included is a 12-volt which is perfect for charging those smaller devices.
Things get interesting when you consider the number of safety features that come standard with the Trax Premier that only remain optional on the Encore Essence if you upgrade to the Safety Package II, which just adds to the already higher price tag than the Trax. Coming standard on the Trax Premier while remaining optional on the Encore Essence is front and rear park assist, a forward collision alert, and lane-departure warnings. All of these features we consider to be more of a necessity these days and to have it built-in to the Trax Premier at no extra cost is certainly appreciated.
Considering Our Options
It’s no question that both the 2020 Chevy Trax and 2020 Buick Encore are very similar vehicles when you put them side by side, and we believe that the best bang for your buck has got to be the Chevy Trax.
The Chevy Trax simply becomes the more appealing option when we start seeing standard features that we just didn’t see on the Encore unless we put out extra money for an assortment of packages. The Trax becomes the clear winner for this showdown, and we are excited to see what innovations the years to follow will bring.