The market for compact SUVs is one of the most competitive in the car industry as consumers look for the spaciousness of a full-size SUV and the fuel efficiency and performance of a luxury sedan with an affordable price tag. Two of the most popular SUVs in this class are the 2021 Buick Encore and 2021 Chevy Trax. With both models offering seating for five and starting prices between $21,400 and $23,200, it’s easy to see why drivers are excited to get behind the wheel. But what other features do these SUVs offer?
Pricing and Trim Packages
Both the 2021 Encore and the 2021 Trax are affordably priced, with the Encore starting at $23,200 and the Trax starting at $21,400. Buick and Chevrolet have limited trim options for the models to keep the prices low without sacrificing performance and comfort. What does this mean for consumers?
The Encore comes in only two trim packages—Encore and Preferred with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The Encore Preferred with front-wheel drive starts at $24,600, and the Encore Preferred with all-wheel drive starts at $25,220. The models come standard with keyless open and push-button start as well as LED daytime running lamps, QuietTuning interior engineering, and flat-folding front passenger seats.
The 2021 Chevrolet Trax also comes in two trim packages—the LS and the LT. The Trax LS starts at $21,400, while the Trax LT starts at $23,200. The modest price difference between the two models reflects additional amenities on the LT like roof rack side rails, LED daytime running lamps, and cruise control. The LS offers the basics along with a standard rear vision camera, the Chevrolet Infotainment System, and a flat-folding front passenger seat.
Powertrain and Performance
The Encore and the Trax are noticeably similar across the board, even when looking at powertrain and performance. The Encore is praised for its responsiveness and efficiency thanks to its 1.4-liter turbo engine that delivers 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque when paired with the six-speed automatic transmission. This yields an impressive fuel economy of 25 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway for front-wheel drive models. Upgrading to the available all-wheel drive reduces fuel efficiency to 24 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway but improves traction and handling.
Like the Encore, the Trax comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged EcoTec engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination delivers 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, the same as the Encore. Surprisingly, the Trax’s fuel efficiency is slightly better than the Encore and averages 26 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive reduces that efficiency to 24 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway.
Interior and Exterior Dimensions
Once again, the 2021 Buick Encore and the 2021 Chevrolet Trax have something else in common—their interior and exterior dimensions. Both models vary only slightly in size from the length and height of the bodies to their interior space for passengers and cargo. This puts the models in the same class as they both offer seating for five and ample cargo space.
The 2021 Buick Encore measures 65.26-in tall and 168.41-in long, while the 2021 Chevrolet Trax measures slightly shorter at 65-in tall and 167.7-in long. The wheelbase for both models measures the same at 100.6-in with a slight variation in width, with the Encore measuring 70.1-in and the Trax measuring 69.9-in. Additional similarities are found in the interior measurements, with both models offering 40.8-in of front legroom and 35.7-in of back legroom. Cargo volume for both models is 48.4 cu.ft. when the seats are folded down.
Both Buick and Chevrolet are committed to offering the latest in safety technology to give drivers even more confidence when they get behind the wheel. The 2021 Buick Encore comes standard with a rear vision camera as well as an optional Safety Package and Safety Package II, both of which offer additional driver assistance and safety features. The rear vision camera gives drivers a clear view of the area directly behind the Encore when the vehicle is in reverse by displaying the image on the vehicle’s infotainment display. This is a significant benefit when backing out of a parking space, driveway, etc.
The Encore offers additional safety and driver assist features like Side Blind Zone Alert, which provides side-mirror alerts when moving vehicles are detected in the blind zone. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers of cross-traffic behind the vehicle and, like the Side Blind Zone Alert, is standard with the Encore Safety Package. The Safety Package II is available on the Preferred model and includes Front and Rear Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, and Rainsense windshield wipers.
Like the Encore, the Chevrolet Trax offers a variety of standard and available safety features. The Trax comes standard with a rear vision camera displayed on the Chevrolet Infotainment System’s touch screen. The available upgraded safety features for the Trax are plentiful and include a Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Park Assist. These features are designed to give drivers more control and confidence in avoiding and, alternatively, navigating potentially hazardous situations.
Technology and Connectivity
Just as Chevrolet and Buick enhance the driver’s experience in terms of safety, the two leading manufacturers also ensure that drivers are connected the moment they put the key in the ignition. The 2021 Buick Encore houses the latest technology on an 8-in color touchscreen that comes standard on both the Encore and Preferred models. Additional connectivity includes a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The Chevy Trax offers similar connectivity with a smaller 7-in touchscreen that’s home to the Chevrolet Infotainment System. While the screen looks fairly basic, it provides everything needed for drivers to sync and integrate their smartphones with the vehicle. Every Trax model comes standard with a Wi-Fi hotspot as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, making the Trax comparable to the Encore.
Making the Choice: The 2021 Buick Encore vs The 2021 Chevy Trax
When looking at a breakdown of the 2021 Buick Encore and the 2021 Chevrolet Trax, there are only a few minor differences between the models. Both the Encore and Trax base models are in the same price range and offer seating for five and plenty of cargo space. The Encore and Trax boast only minimal size differences and offer the same technology and connectivity features. So, is one really better than the other?
While the Encore and Trax offer the same powertrains and similar performance, one of the most notable differences between the two compact SUVs is the safety features. Both models offer a rear vision camera on every model; however, the Encore boasts more in terms of safety, giving it an advantage over the Trax. This significant difference could be a dealbreaker for consumers looking for advanced safety and confidence behind the wheel. So, when you are looking for your next compact SUV, test drive a Buick Encore and see how this model is the best choice for you.