General Motors has completely revamped its small SUV lineup over the last few years. What once were some of the worst vehicles on the road are now affable, excellent little crossovers. The Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX were the first to get successful glow-ups, followed by the also-good Trax and the new Envista.
Technically the 2024 Encore GX just gets a facelift, but the exterior design might fool you into thinking it's a more comprehensive redo. It looks great, with a pointy nose, slim headlights, and a wider grille giving the small SUV some personality – as opposed to the previously anonymous design. This is also the first production Buick with the sleek tri-shield crest on the hood.
|2024 Buick Encore GX
|Turbocharged 1.3-Liter Three-Cylinder
|155 Horsepower / 174 Pound-Feet
|29 City / 31 Highway / 30 Combined
|$26,095 + $1,295 Destination
|Price As Tested
Technically the 2024 Encore GX just gets a facelift, but the exterior design might fool you into thinking it's a more comprehensive redo.
The top-of-the-line Avenir trim is new for 2024 and looks especially good with chrome exterior accents and 19-inch wheels, with nicer leather and softer plastics inside. All the materials feel premium for the segment, but not necessarily premium for a luxury car, let alone an Avenir model.
Buick’s new Virtual Cockpit System, though, gives the Encore GX the biggest screens in its class. It combines an 11.0-inch touchscreen with an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster – shared with the Trailblazer – which both come standard on the Buick. The home screen is cleanly laid out and every menu is easy to access. Touch responsiveness is smartphone-quick, and if you don’t want to interact with Buick’s built-in infotainment system at all, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both come standard.
On the road, the Encore GX has the same peppy personality as the Trailblazer. Its turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine doesn’t exactly offer thrilling performance, but with 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet, it has solid low-end torque and good mid-range power for unexpected quickness when darting around town.
All the materials feel premium for the segment, but not necessarily premium for a luxury car, let alone an Avenir model.
The powertrain starts to fall apart – thankfully not literally – when you get on the highway. The Encore GX loses steam at higher speeds with the 1.3-liter engine struggling above 60 miles per hour. The standard continuously variable transmission, too, drones louder as you press the gas harder. A long road trip in the CVT-equipped Encore GX would not be pleasant. Option all-wheel drive and you get a conventional nine-speed auto that has nicer manners.
Modern Buicks aren’t known for their sportiness either, and the Encore GX is no exception. There’s a ton of body roll when you chuck it hard into a corner, but that’s to be expected with a ride so plush.
Keep it at city speeds, though, and the Encore is a compliant driving partner. The suspension is soft, soaking up imperfections like a genuine luxury car, and the cabin is quiet at moderate speeds. The sound deadening is definitely better here than it is on the Trailblazer, as you’d expect in something that’s considered a near-luxury product.
The Verdict: There’s a lot to like about the 2024 Buick Encore GX. What was once a sub-par subcompact is now a genuine class leader thanks to its revamped and stylish redesign, premium cabin, and lovely drive experience. You will still have economy car drawbacks in a “luxury” vehicle – material quality, powertrain woes, etc. – and Encore GX is pricier than some of the alternatives. It starts at $27,390 with destination included, and the top-trim Avenir is $33,195. But that’s the price you’ll pay for one of the most premium subcompact SUVs out there.
Gallery: 2024 Buick Encore GX Review
2024 Buick Encore GX