The name might be confusing, but one glance at the two vehicles reveals the obvious differences between them. The 2020 Buick Encore and 2020 Buick Encore GX may share similar nomenclature, but there are quite a few differences between the two smaller SUVs. The internet is rife with conflicting rumors as to the appearance of the Encore GX. Will the Encore see a limited market in the future? Is it being phased out? While Buick is keeping the answers to these questions close to the pocket for the time being, American drivers are interested in what differentiates the Encore from the Encore GX.
Buick has stacked its 2020 vehicle lineup with SUVs, with the Encore representing the subcompact segment. The Encore GX is considered a “subcompact-plus” crossover SUV, with larger overall measurements. The GX adds 1.6 inches to the wheelbase, with 2.7 extra inches in length and 1.3 additional inches in width. While that might not feel like a significant amount when driving, the passenger and cargo room increases. More room inside is always appreciated by passengers, as are the engine and interior features that also differentiate the two models.
The Buick brand is built on luxury and a higher level of performance, so it stands to reason that both the Encore and Encore GX include smooth, quiet turbocharged engines.
Only one engine is offered for the 2020 Buick Encore, a 1.4L four-cylinder with variable valve timing and multi-port fuel injection. This engine offers 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can expect a fuel economy of 27 MPG combined for front-wheel drive models, and 26 MPG combined for all-wheel drive models. All Encores include a six-speed automatic transmission, as well.
The 2020 Buick Encore GX, on the other hand, has a choice between two engines. A 1.2L turbocharged three-cylinder engine is standard on all front-wheel drive models and offers 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive models feature a standard 1.3L turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which offers 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. This engine is optional on the front-wheel drive Essence and Select trims, as well. Front-wheel drive Encore GX models include a continuously variable automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive engines are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Encore GX engines are slightly more economical when it comes to fuel consumption. Front-wheel drive models with the 1.2L engine can anticipate 28 MPG combined, while front-wheel drive models with the 1.3L engine average around 31 MPG. All-wheel drive models have a combined fuel economy of 28 MPG.
Exploring Trim Levels
If “the clothes make the man,” then the trim makes the vehicle. While Buick opulence is expected regardless of trim level, drivers can choose which level of luxury best matches their lifestyle.
The 2020 Buick Encore with front-wheel drive is offered in two trims, the 1SV and Preferred, while the all-wheel drive model is offered as Preferred only.
Many features that would be highly coveted on other makes and models are standard across the Encore lineup, including heated power-adjustable exterior mirrors, LED daytime running lights, and a solar-absorbing windshield that helps maintain the temperature within the cabin. Inside the cabin, drivers can enjoy a 4.2-inch driver display screen, a power adjustable driver’s seat, and an eight-inch color touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, USB and auxiliary ports, and voice recognition service.
The Preferred models offer a few additional luxuries, such as color-keyed floor mats and front and rear carpeting and a cargo cover. Many of the optional packages and features are only available on the Preferred models, however.
All Buick Encore models include ten standard airbags and a rear vision camera. The Preferred models offer optional safety features, such as a rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone alert, as well.
The 2020 Buick Encore GX is offered in three trim levels, the Preferred, Select, and Essence. All three trims can be found with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The base-level Preferred model is rich with comforts, including an 8” touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, a cargo cover, additional USB ports for charging only, a compass display, keyless open and start, a six speaker audio system, and a deluxe cloth/leatherette upholstery.
The Select models add roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, power seat adjustment for the driver with two-way lumbar support, SiriusXM radio, and heated driver and passenger seats. The Essence trim includes LED headlights, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery with power adjustable passenger and driver’s seat, driver’s seat memory settings, air ionizer, and automatic dimming rearview mirror.
The standard Buick Driver Confidence Package is standard on all trims, and includes lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and following distance indicator with automatic emergency braking and front pedestrian braking, as well as IntelliBeam® headlamps with auto high beam. An automated airbag package is also standard.
Stepping up to the Select trim adds additional safety features, such as lane change alert with side blind zone and rear cross traffic alert. The Essence trim combines all of this safety technology and adds a few optional features, such as automatic parking assist with braking and a high-definition rearview or surround-view camera.
Loads of Options
Like many SUV manufacturers, Buick gives drivers the ability to custom-tailor their vehicles to match their needs. Both the Encore and Encore GX offer a plethora of optional packages to accentuate the luxury of their vehicle.
For Encore drivers, most optional packages are only available on the Preferred trim. This includes a variety of specialized features. The Active Package, for example, adds a cargo tray and an accessory hitch for carrying bicycles or ski gear. The Interior Protection Package provides a carpeted floor mat to the cargo area, while the passenger and driver areas receive all-weather floor mats. A Safety Package adds rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, and a 120-volt power outlet, while the Road Trip Package adds cross rails to the roof for stowing additional cargo above, and all-weather floor mats to the cabin. A moonroof and additional ambient lighting can be added, as well.
The Encore GX also offers a variety of specialty packages. The Sport Touring Package is available on all trim levels and provides body-color moldings, a custom grill with sporty red accents, specialized 18” high gloss wheels, red-accented front and rear sport bumpers, and a Sport Touring badge. The Black Roof Package is also available across the line, and includes a black roof, mirrors, and roof rails.
Select and Essence drivers can choose the Advanced Technology Package, which adds navigational features to the infotainment system, along with adaptive cruise control, rear park assist, HD surround vision, and a head-up display. A Convenience Package is offered to Essence drivers, which upgrades the experience to include automatic parking assist, front and rear park assist, rear camera mirror with built-in washer, wireless device charging, and Rainsense™ wipers.
Though the 2020 Buick Encore and Encore GX may share a name, the two vehicles are very distinct in appearance and capability. The GX “subcompact plus” crossover SUV is larger in size, offers two turbocharged engine options, and a total of three trim levels. Both the Encore and Encore GX include a variety of available packages, each of which will ultimately enhance the driving experience. However, Buick’s legendary standard luxury radiates through both vehicles, making them a pleasure to drive anywhere.