The 2023 Buick Encore meets all of our expectations for a modern Buick SUV: it’s detailed, and affordably priced. But because it falls somewhere between the mainstream and luxury SUV markets, it lacks the qualities necessary to thrive in either one.
The Encore GX, like other vehicles in the Buick lineup, places comfort above driving enjoyment. Even the cheapest model has a decent amount of standard driver aid technology and enticing entertainment amenities.
The Encore GX is lacking a sense of luxury. We can recommend the BMW X1 or the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class if you require something more upmarket.
Engine and Performance
Two three-cylinder turbocharged engines power the Encore GX. The 1.2-liter base model produces 137 horsepower. The 1.3-liter optional engine has 155 horsepower. The former is paired with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The more powerful engine is standard on all Encore vehicles with all-wheel drive, even the pricier front-drive variants. Similar to the smaller engine, the slightly larger engine only works with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The larger 1.3-liter four-cylinder Encore GX with all-wheel drive, the nine-speed automatic, and the slow 9.3-second time to 60 mph. Luxury-brand competitors to the Encore GX offer more potent engines and significantly quicker acceleration times.
The Encore performs better on the road than its acceleration statistics would indicate, especially in crowded urban areas where the tiny turbo engine makes the most of its respectable low-end horsepower. Although the Buick’s handling doesn’t provide any thrills, the ride is nonetheless agreeably controlled and smooth.
Strangely, the EPA rates the larger of the two three-cylinder engines as having the best fuel efficiency. The CVT and front-wheel drive allow the turbocharged 1.3-liter engine to reach up to 32 mpg on the highway. If you choose the 1.2-liter engine, your mileage drops to 30 mpg.
For a highway rating of 29 mpg, choose the 1.3-liter with all-wheel drive and the nine-speed automatic transmission. However, the Encore GX with the bigger engine, all-wheel drive, and nine-speed automatic can achieve 30 mpg on a 200-mile highway fuel-economy test route, surpassing the EPA’s estimate by 1 mpg.
Buick’s market stance crosses the line between luxury and mainstream, so it comes with more features than entry-level versions of competitors like the Nissan Kicks and Subaru Crosstrek, but not as many as an Audi, BMW, or Volvo.
The front passenger seat of the Encore GX may be folded flat to make carrying longer things easier. With the back seats folding, the GX can accommodate 16 carry-on bags, which is only a few less than the slightly bigger Cadillac XT4.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Encore GX comes with several basic driver-assistance functions; a 360-degree video system and rearview camera mirror are available. The 2023 Buick Encore’s main features include lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance as standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
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