2020 Buick Encore GX Essence FWD
The smaller, five-seater Encore GX fits quite nicely with the larger Envision and Enclave to form a complete Buick SUV portfolio. The Essence model sits at the top of the model line, followed by Select and Preferred.
This FWD crossover is powered by a transverse mounted ECOTEC 1.3L turbocharged inline 3-cylinder engine with direct injection. It produces up to 155 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 174 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. The power is carried by a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with overdrive.
Fuel economy for the FWD powertrain is rated at 30 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, for a 31-mpg combined average. My driving experience netted me closer to 35 mpg. This good mileage provides a smooth ride, comfortable experience, and less expensive adventure. The AWD models take a bit of a hit in fuel efficiency, coming in at 26/29/28 mpg city/highway/combined.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, the Encore GX is a quiet and easy-handling vehicle. Leather upholstery and heated seats add to the comfort. The front passenger seat folds down flat to aid in loading long items. The interior is roomy with a treasure trove of helpful features.
The infotainment system comes with a nicely integrated touchscreen and provides modern connectivity technologies like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The head-up display is an available option as is a high definition 360-degree camera system.
Word has it that in future models, the aforementioned features will be standard.
The Encore GX has a rich set of standard safety and driver assistance features like Front Pedestrian Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning.
My favorite feature was the innovative rear camera which provides a wide, less obstructed rear view and the high definition surround vision camera system.
The list price for the Encore GX starts at $24,100 for the base Preferred model. The well-appointed Essence is priced at $28,500. The Select model is sandwiched in-between, with a list price of $25,700. Opting for AWD adds $2,500 to the bottom line.
NHTSA has evaluated the Encore GX and gave it a four-star Overall Rating. This SUV earned four stars in the Frontal Crash and Rollover categories, while earning five stars in Side Crash.
3-year/36,000-mile Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Roadside Assistance Program
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or [email protected]