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2020 Buick Encore GX Performance

U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Buick Encore GX Performance Review


Performance: 7.8

The 2020 Buick Encore GX isn't the most athletic vehicle on the road, but neither is it dull to drive. Its turbocharged engines provide a fair amount of zip, and this Buick has decent handling. It also offers a smooth ride over quality pavement.

  • "Handling is responsive on curvy roads, and remains secure even when pushed on the track in simulated emergency maneuvers. The suspension is fine on smooth roads, but lets bumpy pavement punch through to the cabin." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The Encore GX's available 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine is surprisingly peppy. Though ultimate acceleration won't blow your hair back, there's enough grunt under the hood to keep you moving with traffic without much issue." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Encore GX comes standard with a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that puts out 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). One other engine is available: a turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder that produces 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine gets the job done, but the available engine is the one you want. It feels more energetic and delivers quick acceleration in most driving situations. It doesn't exactly turn this Buick into a burner, but it makes it more enjoyable to drive.

According to EPA estimates, the Encore GX gets 26 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway when equipped with its base engine and front-wheel drive. Those are midpack ratings for the class. With the 1.3-liter engine, ratings jump to 30 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. All-wheel-drive models (which only feature the 1.3-liter engine) get 26/29 mpg city/highway.

  • "The Encore GX has the option of a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine. Get it. The option adds $395 to the price and makes the Encore GX fun. It's a 3-cylinder engine with 155 hp. That doesn't sound like much but the Encore GX is actually fun and really feels quick. Combined with the 9-speed automatic transmission, there's always plenty of power. It's perfect for darting around town, running errands." -- Autotrader
  • "GM did a great job maximizing power delivery from the Encore GX's tiny three-cylinder turbo engine and nine-speed automatic. Put the pedal down to pass another vehicle and the little Buick feels sprightly as if it were spring-loaded – especially between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, and even at highway speeds. Competing SUVs with larger engines don't feel like they pack as much punch as the Encore GX. The nine-speed automatic shifts smoothly, and it's quick to find the right gear, so there are no awkward delays when the driver calls for more power." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The optional engine, the one we tested, is the 1.3-liter with the more ample 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. Though also small, this engine punches above its weight. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was a small 4-cylinder. It's not blindingly quick, but it does have verve and presents acceptable acceleration." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The Encore GX feels geared more toward a comfortable ride than sporty performance. It's highly maneuverable, and there's not too much body roll on winding roads, but some rivals are more fun to drive. The ride quality is terrific over smooth pavement, though you will notice bigger bumps in the road when you drive over them. Front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is available.

  • "The Encore GX isn't a sports car, but it does give the driver a good sense of control. We found it easy to squeeze into tight parking spaces and fit down narrow streets. Most vehicles that are this pleasant to drive on the highway are less adept in more crowded areas, and vice versa." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Handling is decent, too. It's no sports car but the subcompact Encore GX handles curves without much leaning. That, combined with quick steering, adds up to a car that's rewarding to drive. It feels controlled and communicates a stable, confident feel overall." -- Autotrader
  • "Ride quality is in line with what you'd probably expect from a Buick – more on the comfort end than sporty. The Encore GX's forte is highway cruising and in-town errands, not backwoods burning. Steering effort is very easy, but there isn't much in the way of communicative feedback. The lane-keeping assist can feel a little aggressive, but it can also be defeated, as can the engine start/stop." -- Kelley Blue Book
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2020 Buick Encore GX

MSRP: $24,100 - $30,500

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