Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

One of the most popular Buick SUVs for sale, a red 2024 Buick Encore GX ST, is shown parked on a brick path.

Which Buick Vehicle Is Best for Practical Drivers?

Practicality is the unsung hero of the automotive industry. Not everyone is looking for a supercar, nor the most cutting-edge features, if it comes at too high a cost. Being a practical driver is commendable, and practical cars breed the most innovation. Manufacturers have always turned up the complexity of their automobiles, and nowadays, you have entry-level automobiles with safety suites, infotainment centers, and more. These features are regularly not practical, but the current flow of the market means that even practical drivers can take part in some of the technology that comes with the more non-practical vehicles. However, there’s nothing non-practical about safety, and that’s something manufacturers like Buick excel at.

Buick SUVs for sale are a great option to consider if you want a practical car to get from point A to point B because there are some great options. There’s a noticeable difference between Buick vehicles and other manufacturers: Buick commonly combines luxury with the mainstream, so it’s always likely your Buick vehicle will have more to show than a similarly priced vehicle from a competing manufacturer. Because of this, Buick vehicles are great for practical drivers because they have all the necessities, while the rest of the additions are features that are better to have and not need than to need and not have.

The Encore GX Defines Practical

The first Buick vehicle I find to be the best choice for practical drivers is the Encore GX. The Encore GX is the most cost-effective Buick vehicle, which is a great first impression for drivers looking for a brand-new vehicle for practicality. Buick has almost half a dozen SUVs for sale on the new market, and the Encore GX is a compelling offer, with the 2024 model being offered at an MSRP of $25,600. This price places it well below other Buick SUVs, many of which are more so for the premium crowd – like the Enclave ST, Enclave Avenir, and others, and is far more suited for practical drivers with a budget.

Part of what makes a vehicle practical is giving the driver enough performance to get them to and from wherever they need to go. A practical vehicle must also supply enough versatility for the average daily life, an experience where you aren’t left bothered by the lack of one feature disrupting your daily flow. The Encore GX is an ideal practical vehicle because the affordable price is complimented by two powertrains, both of which are perfect for daily traversal in cities and on the freeway.

The base Encore GX engine is a turbocharged 1.2L engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. This type of transmission lends an unreplicable smoothness to its acceleration, meaning driving from home to work is always smooth, but most importantly, it’s fuel-efficient. Practical drivers should at least always seek fuel efficiency because there’s nothing impractical about saving money on gas. The base Encore GX has EPA-estimated ratings of 30 MPG in the city, and 31 MPG on the highway, with 30 MPG combined.

Those who consider themselves in the practical driver crowd but would like a performance boost for their Encore GX can opt for the turbocharged 1.3L engine instead. The differences with this powertrain include more horsepower and torque, an available 9-speed automatic transmission, and available all-wheel drive. If your area experiences rough weather in specific months of the year, having AWD can greatly assist any driver, even those with a more practical vehicle.

The 2024 Encore GX also has enough space to never be a problem for you, so long as you have sensible expectations of what a practical SUV can provide. There’s a minimum of 23.5 cu.ft. of space behind the rear seat, which is phenomenal for a subcompact SUV, and folding down the seats more than doubles this number to 50.2 cu.ft. of space. The Buick Encore GX is one of the most practical Buick vehicles, and it’s a bonus that it comes with an exceptional 11-inch infotainment center and a modern-day safety suite. If you can have your cake and eat it too, at no extra cost, wouldn’t you indulge?

A white 2022 Buick Encore GX is shown driving past a shop.

A Quick Word on the Buick Encore

The Buick Encore GX is a practical vehicle, but what about the Buick Encore? The Buick Encore was discontinued after the 2022 model year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a practical vehicle. If you can find a Buick Encore on the used market, you’ll get an experience similar to the more powerful variant of the Encore GX regarding power thanks to a turbocharged 1.4L engine. However, the Buick Encore is slightly less fuel-efficient than the Encore GX, along with a small reduction in cargo space.

In some ways, the Encore is more practical than the Encore GX, as it lacks some of the more extreme features found in the Encore GX. For example, the Encore comes with a 7-inch infotainment center instead of the 8-inch infotainment center in the 2022 Encore GX, and of course, the 11-inch screen in the latest model. The Encore is a great purchase on the used market and remains one of the most practical Buick vehicles because it’s a no-nonsense ride that gets you from point A to Point B in a simple yet stylish fashion.

The Buick Envision Is Worth a Look

Further down the list of Buick SUVs reveals the Buick Envision. The Envision doesn’t have the help of the lower price tag the Encore GX has, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic practical car. The Envision is a compact SUV for practical drivers, and its price tag of $33,400 for the base model may not be for everyone, but it’s a great alternative for the practical driver who wants a Buick vehicle that offers some extras over the most affordable SUVs of the bunch.

Those who need a larger vehicle than a subcompact SUV, like the Encore GX, should consider the Envision for several reasons. Not only does the Envision have more cargo space than the Encore GX, but since it only comes with one powertrain choice, a turbocharged 2.0L engine, buying any Envision gets you all the performance you’ll need as a practical driver. Because it’s a turbocharged engine, this helps the Envision become a fitting ride for practical drivers because you’ll be making fewer trips to the gas station and saving time thanks to EPA-estimated ratings of 23 MPG in the city, 31 MPG on the highway, and 26 MPG combined with front-wheel drive. When equipped with all-wheel drive, you can get 22 MPG in the city, and 29 MPG on the highway, resulting in an overall combined 25 MPG.

A red  2023 Buick Envision is shown parked on a driveway.

It’s Practically Practical

Buick vehicles make for some of the best practical vehicles on the market. You’ve heard the phrase: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This phrase resonates with those with a practical mindset, and part of that is to find reliable vehicles that will last you years. Buick vehicles are some of the most well-built vehicles on the market. With well-documented reliability and millions of devout fans on a global scale, many people rely on their Buick to get from one place to another.

That’s what we buy cars for, right; to get us places? If that sounds right to you, then strongly consider a Buick for your next vehicle. I don’t think you’ll be sorry if you purchase any of the practical Buick vehicles I mentioned, but you should also consider some of Buick’s other offerings in case something catches your eye that I didn’t cover here with you today. Whichever model you choose, it will surely exude the practicality you crave in a reliable vehicle.