2020 Buick Encore GX Essenence FWD new car reviews

[Editor's Note: Photography features a 2020 Encore GX ST]

What you are looking at is not an Encore, but its slightly bigger sibling, the Encore GX. What does that matter? Probably not a lot to most consumers, but the big difference is the Encore GX is based on the GM VSS-F platform (which underpins the new Chevrolet Trailblazer), while the smaller Encore based on the GM GEM platform (which is the basis for the Chinese market-only Chevrolet tracker).

Two choices of turbocharged, three-cylinder engines are available, either a 1.2-liter good for 137 horsepower or a 1.3-liter good for 155 horsepower. That power can be sent to the front wheels through a CVT transmission (how ours was equipped) or all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Does all that translate to a competent luxury car, or is it nothing more than a new Trailblazer with leather seats? You'll have to read the review below to find out.

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Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

For $34k, I want a vehicle that isn’t wheezy, doesn’t torque steer, and won’t greet me with the odd interior buzz. I also want a transmission that doesn’t often seem confused. And more: I also want steering that’s not over-boosted, vague and also heavy on-center.

Other than all that, Mrs. Lincoln, yeah, totally enjoyed my time with this one.

In today’s reality, seriously, if looking for a smaller SUV, why this instead of the usual suspects? It’s a cramped marketplace and, other than the Buick badge, not a lot of value proposition here: Nearly $35,000 out the door for a smaller, front-drive SUV just seems a bit spendy. Even the $28k starting price for our vehicle seems a bit high.

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