Loyal Buick drivers already know what it means to sit inside a Buick with the hushed interior, the seats that feel as comfortable as your favorite chair, those satisfying clicks of the knobs and turn signal that says they are made well and made to last. When Buick first produced the Encore, it came as a surprise; an SUV so small it seemed impossible that it could be part of the Buick lineup. Famous for its luxury sedans, Buick always fashioned itself as one of the roomiest of rides. The Encore has been well received since 2013, and now it has a slightly bigger brother in the Encore GX. If you happen to be in the market for a used compact SUV, you might want to consider a used Buick Encore GX to save a little cash and gain a very comfy ride.
Because the Encore GX only arrived on the scene in 2020, it’s still essentially a new vehicle. Finding one used would mean a vehicle only a year old, and it might still have that new car smell. Like the Encore, the GX is still a compact package that can park in small spaces, but it’s slightly bigger, and it has a few extra options the Encore doesn’t have. We’ll get to those features, but first, it’s worth mentioning that the Encore GX is dialed in as a luxury SUV, not the kind you take out on backwoods trails. It does have the option to add all-wheel drive, but it’s meant for riding pavement in comfortable style with a little extra handling for bad weather. If you want an SUV with classy details, lavish features, and a smooth ride quality, then look no further: the Encore GX is for you.
The Main Feature
Buick has donned the Encore GX with a smorgasbord of features that are both fun and convenient. A fun feature is the logo that appears below the tailgate on the ground to show you where to kick your foot to open the automatic tailgate. To make life even simpler, an innovative and fun feature is the new Buick Marketplace app available through the infotainment system, which allows you to order takeout, find and pay for gas remotely, make a reservation for a restaurant through Yelp, or even find a parking space. Vehicle technology is becoming almost like living in a science fiction movie with the ease of so many conveniences.
While in the vein of automated technology, Buick installs the Driver Confidence Package into all trims of the GX. These safety features include the automatic headlights, which sense lighting conditions to regulate the high and low beams, a following distance indicator, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and front pedestrian braking. Few other manufacturers include such a long list of safety features as standard equipment, and in the upper trims, it will add even more. To make parking safer and easier, an HD Surround Vision camera is available. It shows a view of the vehicle from above, so you get a full view of what is around you on all sides while also showing other views on a split-screen. Parking accidents should be a thing of the past.
Ever fancy an in-vehicle air ionizer? You may not even know what it is, but it’s becoming more common for car manufacturers to incorporate air filtration into their climate control systems. Buick is upping the ante with an ionizer, which traps bacteria and pollen to improve air quality. A filtration system will do a similar job, but the ionizer uses electricity instead of a fan to move the air and trap the particles with an electrical charge. For trims that include dual-zone climate control, the ionizer is also included. The atmosphere in the cabin is a Buick standard, so aside from air quality, the sound quality will also be extra-hushed with the laminated windshield and front windows, triple insulation, and active noise cancellation.
Quality Materials Inside and Out
From choosing the two-tone interior to the option of adding a black roof and exterior detailing, the Encore GX has style. This is classy rather than athletic, even if you add the red accents in the grille with the Sport Touring package or the optional roof rails. A Buick will haul your stuff just like any other SUV, but it has a way of doing it that’s a little more elegant and high-end. LED daytime running lights and fog lights are standard, and they look sharp as well as being useful. The tidy, sleek exterior shape is an attractive design that is less about dominating the road and more about leaning into it.
Interior materials are tasteful and pleasing, with standard cloth and leatherette trim upholstery in entry-level trims and available leather for upper trims. Stitched details in the dash, easy-to-navigate controls in the center stack, and intuitive layout for the driver’s seat are all part of the Buick brand to provide a comfortable, quiet cabin with as many amenities as can be offered. Technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, and an eight-inch infotainment screen are all standard. In upper trims, wireless phone charging and Amazon Alexa connectivity are available to make life even more fluid between home and the road.
Size Does Matter
Buick has gone almost completely SUV at this point, and the SUVs in the lineup come in many different shapes and sizes. The Encore holds space as the smallest subcompact Buick makes, and the Encore GX is next in line. At a length of 171.4 inches, it’s only three inches longer than the Encore, but it adds that extra sense of roominess to the interior that makes a difference. Cargo space in the GX is quite generous, with 23.5 cubic feet in the trunk area and 50.2 cubic feet when the back seat is folded down. An average sedan has only 15 cubic feet, so the GX actually has plenty of room for luggage and groceries in the back.
An extra couple of inches of space can be added by dropping the floor of the cargo area in the trunk, which can be handy when you have taller items, or the front passenger seat can fold flat to accommodate even longer items. The more important question is whether or not the legroom is comfortable for passengers. In the front, it’s expected that even a tall driver can comfortably fit into the driver’s seat. An allowance of 40.9 inches in the front is able to accommodate even tall adults just shy of six and a half feet. In the rear, 36 inches of legroom may be a slight squeeze for tall folks, but the average adult will fit comfortably.
Go Big or Go Home
If you discover an Encore GX on a used lot, grab it before it’s gone, especially if it’s loaded with the intelligent all-wheel drive and the turbocharged 1.3-liter engine. That pairing will offer the most power for accelerating in traffic and will provide better traction in bad weather conditions. Even if you find the entry-level Preferred trim with front-wheel drive, you will still have a luxurious ride on your hands. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and discover a GX with a panoramic moonroof and all the other extras added so you can live it large in a compact SUV. While these newer models are just starting to find their way to dealerships, you might just find a 2020 Encore GX on the lot of your neighborhood Buick dealer.