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Buick might be a subdivision of General Motors, but it sometimes struggles to gain as much popularity as other rivals.
For starters, it needs to up its game for safety features, which are woefully outdated by today's standards. Fortunately, vehicles like the Buick Encore still get five-star safety ratings and the GX comes with plentiful tech features.
Do you need help deciding between the Buick Encore and Encore GX? Auto Influence helps us break down the differences between the two Encore options.
2021 Buick Encore interior and specs
The Buick Encore is a compact SUV that's perfectly suited for city dwellers or small families. However, it falls victim to many common pitfalls of the class, including a sluggish powertrain. It's powered by a turbocharged engine that makes 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Even though it's a turbo, it struggles to accelerate on the highway and even city roads in certain circumstances. You'll know you're pushing it when you hear reverberating engine noise throughout the interior. Fortunately, it's peppy enough at low speeds and the suspension keeps riders comfortable throughout the drive.
It gets 27 mpg combined, which isn't as impressive as some of the more fuel-efficient compact SUVs. Tacking on AWD will make the Encore slightly thirstier, but the option is available for frequent winter drivers. Despite its compact dimensions, the Buick Encore still has ample space for its passengers.
The legroom is great thanks to its 101.2-inch wheelbase, but the cargo room is slightly less impressive. You’ll only get 19 cubic feet of space if you leave the seats up. With the seats folded flat, you get about 30 extra cubic feet.
Fortunately, the Buick Encore is also one of the first Buicks to receive some upgraded driver's aids. However, they're only available if you upgrade to the higher Preferred trim. The standard Safety Package includes rear cross-traffic alert and side blind zone alert systems.
The Safety Package II adds parking sensors, forward-collision warning, rain-sensing wipers, and lane departure alert. While some of these features were featured on the 2020 model, many drivers found them too confusing and difficult to use.
Buick Encore vs. Encore GX
MORE: Buick Car Buying Guide
The Buick Encore GX's performance is far superior to the regular Encore. Its standard engine is virtually the same, except it's paired with a CVT. However, the real prize is the optional 155-horsepower turbo-three engine.
This makes the Encore GX faster and more fun to drive, though some acceleration noise is still present. When paired with FWD, the optional engine is also surprisingly the most efficient at 30/32 mpg city/highway. Adding AWD to either engine gives you a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The Buick Encore GX is slightly longer compared to its twin, freeing up even more interior space. Clason Buick GMC also points out that the Encore GX actually has some standard advanced safety features besides a rearview camera. In addition to available safety packages, you can also outfit the Encore GX with extra convenience tech.
However, all these features make the Encore GX quite pricey. A fully-loaded 2021 Buick Encore GX costs around $31,000. In contrast, the Buick Encore tops out at around $26,000.
Which Buick Encore model is right for you?
The Buick Encore GX definitely surpasses the regular Encore in terms of available power, gas mileage, and safety features. For budget-minded shoppers without the need for too many bells or whistles, the Buick Encore is still a good car.
Whether you choose the Buick Encore or Encore GX, you’ll still need proper car insurance. Jerry is the easiest and quickest way to compare rates from 50 name-brand providers. Use Jerry to find the best price for the coverage you need without the hassle.