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2021 Buick Encore GX

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$24,200 - 30,600 MSRP

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2021 Buick Encore GX Review

A spacious cabin and a high predicted reliability rating are just two strengths of the 2021 Buick Encore GX. However, it also has a firmer ride than rivals and some cheap plastics in its cabin. This vehicle does not have an overall score or ranking because it hasn’t been fully crash tested.

Pros & Cons

  • Large cargo capacity
  • Spacious rear seats
  • Composed handling
  • Stellar predicted reliability rating
  • Ride can be unsettled on uneven pavement
  • Cheap plastics in the back of the cabin
  • Some unintuitive infotainment controls

New for 2021

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, and satellite radio now standard

Research & Ratings

The 2021 Buick Encore GX is unranked in Subcompact SUVs due to missing safety data. Currently, the Buick Encore GX's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 11 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.5
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other subcompact suvs.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Buick Encore GX?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Buick Encore GX a Good SUV?

Yes, the Buick Encore GX is a very good subcompact SUV. Inside, it has an abundance of space for passengers and cargo. On the road, it has composed handling, as well as a peppy turbocharged three-cylinder engine option. Rounding out its appeal is a great predicted reliability rating. However, some rivals have gentler rides and more opulent cabins.

Why You Can Trust Us: 11 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 11 professional reviews.

This 2021 Encore GX review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2020.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Buick Encore GX?

This is where value comes into play, and this is also where the Encore GX’s classmates enter the picture. The Mazda CX-30 has more engaging handling than the Buick, and the Kia Seltos has nicer cabin materials and an even larger cargo hold. The Chevy Trailblazer is nearly identical to the Encore GX and costs a bit less. You might also be interested in Buick’s other small SUV, the similarly named Encore.

Find a 2021 Buick Encore GX for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Buick Encore GX: What's the Difference?

Buick released the Encore GX as an all-new vehicle for the 2020 model year. For 2021, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, and satellite radio are now standard in the Encore GX. Otherwise, this vehicle sees no major changes.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Encore GX »

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2020 Encore GX review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Buick Encore GX Cost?

Buick has not released pricing for the 2021 Encore GX as of this writing. Using the similar 2020 model as a guide, we estimate that the entry-level GX will have a starting MSRP around $24,100.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

Buick Encore GX Versus the Competition

Buick Encore GX vs. Buick Encore

Similarities between the Buick Encore and its GX sibling go deeper than just the name. Both subcompact SUVs have the same infotainment system and similar features. Pricing between the two is similar too, though the Encore is slightly more affordable. However, the Encore lacks a stronger engine option, and its cargo hold is marginally smaller. These two Encore shortcomings give the Encore GX a slight edge.

Compare the Encore GX and Encore »

Buick Encore GX vs. Cadillac XT4

The Cadillac XT4 is a luxury subcompact SUV. As such, it’s a lot more expensive than the Buick – its starting price is around $11,700 more. Its four-cylinder engine is stronger than anything you’ll find in the Buick, and the XT4 has a higher towing capacity. Otherwise, there’s not much to justify that higher price tag. The GX has a better predicted reliability rating, a larger cargo area, and more composed handling.

Compare the Encore GX and XT4 »

Compare the Encore GX, Encore, and XT4 »

Encore GX Interior: Very Roomy for the Class

Encore GX Cargo Space

With 23.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 50.2 cubic feet behind the front seats, the Encore GX eclipses the cargo capacity of most of its classmates. A hands-free power liftgate is available in every trim level.

How Many People Does the Encore GX Seat?

Up to five people can sit in this two-row SUV. Cloth upholstery is standard, and leather upholstery is available. You can also find models with power-adjustable and heated front seats, as well as a heated steering wheel.

For a subcompact, the Encore GX has plenty of space. Head- and legroom are generous in both rows, and even average-sized adults can sit comfortably in the rear. Buick’s QuietTuning helps keep the cabin insulated from harsh wind noise.

Encore GX and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

Encore GX Interior Quality

Up front, the cabin looks nice, and there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces, including on the door panels and armrest. The rear looks cheaper, and there are more hard plastics.

Encore GX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Some critics say that the infotainment system’s touch screen has rapid response times, but others claim that it lags a bit before recognizing input. There are lots of well-placed physical controls, but you have to scroll through several screens and menus to find some functions.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, four USB ports, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, wireless device charging, HD Radio, and a seven-speaker Bose stereo
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a moonroof, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control and an air purifier

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Encore GX Performance: Who Needs a Four-Cylinder?

Encore GX Engine

Standard in this Buick is a 137-horsepower 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. A 155-horsepower 1.3-liter three-cylinder is available throughout the lineup. Both engines are turbocharged. The smaller one is well-suited for city driving, but it’s best to get the upgrade. It only costs about $500 more, and it boosts power and fuel economy. It’s plenty peppy in regular driving.

Your transmission depends on drivetrain. Regardless of engine, models with front-wheel drive have a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and those with all-wheel drive sport a nine-speed automatic.

Encore GX Gas Mileage

With its base engine, the Encore GX earns an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Those are good ratings for the class. Unusually, the stronger engine helps with fuel economy, returning 30 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. Adding AWD, which is only offered with the larger engine, lowers those figures to 26/29 mpg city/highway.

Encore GX Ride and Handling

This Buick’s suspension soaks up smaller flaws in the pavement, although a few larger ones may be felt in the cabin. While the Encore GX is not the pinnacle of sportiness, its light and responsive steering helps it feel planted around corners. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Encore GX Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this vehicle can tow up to 1,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Encore GX Reliability

Is the Buick Encore GX Reliable?

The 2021 Buick Encore has an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five.

Buick Encore GX Warranty

Buick covers the Encore GX with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Encore GX Safety

Encore GX Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not fully crash tested the 2021 Encore GX, but it did give this crossover four out of five stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 Encore GX.

Encore GX Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (monitors performance and lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane change alert
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Head-up display
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Front parking sensors
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Surround-view parking camera system

Read more about safety »

Encore GX Dimensions and Weight

The Encore GX is 14.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,025 to 3,273 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is between 4,211 and 4,409 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Buick Encore GX Built?

Buick builds the 2021 Encore GX in South Korea.

Which Buick Encore GX Model Is Right for Me?

Buick makes the 2021 Encore GX in three trim levels: Preferred, Select, and Essence. The Preferred has lots of features, and it’s available with plenty of comfort and safety add-ons.

A 1.3-liter engine and all-wheel drive are available in every trim. Together, they cost $2,000. Adding AWD also switches out the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for a nine-speed automatic. Note that while you can get the stronger engine with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the base engine is front-wheel drive only. A hands-free power liftgate is available in every trim for just over $500.

Buick Encore GX Preferred

With a starting MSRP around $24,100, the base GX comes with an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, four USB ports, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and automatic climate control. Standard safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, a following distance indicator, GM’s Teen Driver, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The Cold Weather Comfort package costs around $950 and adds heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and remote start. For around $350, you can add the Safety package with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, adaptive cruise control, and rear parking sensors.

You can get a moonroof for about $1,250 or sporty styling elements as part of the roughly $1,100 Sport Touring package. The Preferred is the only trim where getting the stronger engine also requires you to get AWD.

Buick Encore GX Select

The Select has a starting price of roughly $25,700. It adds dual-zone automatic climate control and the contents of the Safety and Cold Weather Comfort packages.

For close to $2,000, you can get a navigation system and a moonroof as part of the Experience Buick package. The similarly priced Advanced Technology package also includes navigation but it switches out the moonroof for rear parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera system, and a head-up display.

Buick Encore GX Essence

Retailing for around $28,500, the range-topping Essence gains leather-appointed upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat that can also fold flat, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an air purifier.

The Select’s packages remain available, but you can also get the Convenience package. It costs a bit less than $800 and comes with front parking sensors, parallel park assist, a rear camera mirror, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and wireless device charging. For another $600 or so, you can add HD Radio and a seven-speaker Bose sound system on top of this package.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

See 2021 Buick Encore GX specs and trims »

The Final Call

There’s a lot to like about the Buick Encore GX. It’s one of the roomiest subcompact SUVs, both with regard to its rear seats and its cargo volume. This crossover also has composed handling, lots of standard features, and one of the best predicted reliability ratings in the class. However, you can find some cheap plastics inside the vehicle, and some of its rivals have smoother rides. Using its infotainment system can be tedious as well.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Buick, with its Encore GX, is bringing elevated luxury and modern safety to the compact crossover SUV category. The previous Encore (still on sale) brought a lot of younger buyers to the brand, but we think the better-looking and better-equipped Encore GX is poised to do more in this regard." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As the newest subcompact crossover from Buick, the 2021 Encore GX is easy to get confused with its smaller sibling, the Encore. But don’t, please. The 2021 Buick Encore GX is a much better vehicle based on an all-new platform shared with the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The Buick Encore GX is more stylish and proportional than the standard Encore. It’s also a handsome and refined modern crossover SUV that shatters any misconceptions that Buick caters to a senior demographic." -- Autotrader
  • "Although it's meant to challenge premium-branded small SUVs, the Encore GX is most appealing when cross-shopped with mainstream models." -- Car and Driver
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