Buick Encore GX Is An Energetic Car

Buick Encore GX Is An Energetic Car

The Buick Encore GX is an outstanding subcompact SUV. It has plenty of space inside for passengers and cargo. It has composed handling on the road as well as a peppy turbocharged three-cylinder engine option. Some competitors, however, offer gentler rides and more opulent cabins.

It now has a more modern interior, improved performance, and advanced safety features. It’s also one of the more upscale options in the extra-small SUV segment. As a result, it is slightly more expensive than its competitors, but high-quality materials and unique technology — such as a head-up display and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration — help to justify the premium. Other advantages include a spacious interior, a comfortable ride, and relatively well-sorted handling characteristics. The Encore GX doesn’t have many flaws aside from narrow, stiff seats.

Major Changes Over The Years

The following are the most significant changes to the Buick Encore GX over the last few years:

  • 2022: The Essence trim now comes standard with a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine.
  • 2021: A satellite radio and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard.
  • 2020: a completely new model.


Buick offers two engine choices for the Encore GX. The standard 137-horsepower turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine provides adequate power for daily driving. If you do a lot of highway driving, the optional 155-horsepower turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder (standard in the top-of-the-line Essence trim) provides more power. Surprisingly, models equipped with the upgraded engine have better gas mileage than models equipped with the base engine.

Front-wheel-drive models have a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while all-wheel-drive models have a nine-speed automatic transmission. Both transmissions are commendable, but most reviewers prefer the traditional automatic.

The Encore GX feels sportier on the road than its acceleration results indicate, especially around town, where the small turbo engine produces good low-end grunt. The Buick’s ride is also smooth and controlled, but it doesn’t provide any thrills in terms of handling. It’s a surprisingly lively little SUV. When driving around turns, there is very little body roll and a satisfying amount of grip. The steering is tight for easy maneuvering around town, but it’s accurate and straightforward.

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Ride and Handling

The Encore GX is easy to maneuver thanks to its gentle, accurate steering, and there is little body roll. The suspension system is tuned to provide a comfortable ride over most road surfaces, but larger bumps in the road will most likely be felt. The brakes are a little sensitive, making it difficult to stop smoothly.

There are only a few notable quibbles. Because the brake pedal is fairly sensitive, it can be difficult to consistently stop smoothly. Also, when you want more power, the nine-speed transmission takes a few ticks longer than we’d like to select the right gear. Finally, when the engine restarts at a stoplight, the engine stop-start system starts the car. Fortunately, you can turn it off.

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The front row of the Encore has high-quality cabin materials, but the back row has some hard plastic surfaces that don’t look or feel as nice. The interior of the Encore GX is well-thought-out and uncomplicated. It’s a nice blend of digital and analog, with physical buttons for controls that other cars might bury in a screen menu. The infotainment interface is simple to use and provides quick responses.

The Encore GX is well-suited to comfort in general. The ride is well-controlled, with few road imperfections transmitted to the cabin. If you drive over square-edged bumps, you will feel a jolt in the cabin. The climate control system is powerful, and the seat heaters heat up quickly.

The comfort of the front seats is disappointing. The padding is firm, and some drivers may desire more lateral support. At highway speeds, tire noise is audible, and the three-cylinder engine is especially vocal. Even if you’re not pressing the accelerator, you’ll hear the engine rumble and roar as you accelerate away from a stop. Engine vibrations can also be felt through the steering wheel; however, most modern cars have filtered such vibrations out.

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The infotainment system in the Encore GX receives different reactions. Most critics agree that the system is simple and that the touch screen is responsive. Others complain that the climate controls are difficult to use and that the touch screen lags. There are numerous safety features, including some that are uncommon, such as a 360-degree camera system and a digital rearview mirror. All of the safety features work well, though the forward collision warning is a little too sensitive. Despite its low volume, the base audio system is one of the best in its class in terms of sound quality. The navigation system is also excellent.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, wireless device charging, HD Radio, and a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system
  • Additional standard features: automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a moonroof, a hands-free power liftgate, remote start, and dual-zone automatic climate control

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Fuel Economy

Models with the base engine get 29 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which is respectable for a subcompact SUV. Surprisingly, models with the more powerful engine have slightly higher ratings: 29 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive (available only with the upgraded engine) gets you 26 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Safety Features

Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Available adaptive cruise control


The Encore GX is unassumingly styled, but the Sport Touring package allows buyers to make their GX stand out from the crowd. The interior of the Encore GX is also appealing, as are the numerous safety and technology features. The turbocharged three-cylinder engine gives it some personality, especially with the ample low-end torque that makes it feel faster than it is. It has more available technology and safety features, as well as a more upscale interior than most rival SUVs. Its larger-than-average size for the class benefits both the interior and cargo space. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Buick Encore GX reliable?

The predicted reliability score for the 2022 Buick Encore GX is 82 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the best, 81-90 is considered great, 70-80 is considered average, and 0-69 is considered fair and below average. 

Is Encore or Encore GX better?

When comparing the Buick Encore and the Encore GX, the Encore GX has more trim model options, engine options, and a greater number of luxury features, such as wireless audio integration. The Encore GX has more cargo space and is slightly larger than the Encore. 

Does the Buick Encore have a lot of problems?

Common problems in the Buick Encore include engine problems, defective airbags, brake problems, and faulty batteries.

How long does the Buick Encore GX last?

Buick Encore GX has an average lifespan of up to 200,000 miles, with many Buick owners claiming that their cars have a longevity of 150,000 to 200,000 miles.