2020 Buick Encore GX Essence FWD Test Drive

“2020 Buick Encore GX Essence FWD”
All-New Model Expands Brand’s SUV Family


Buick’s all-new GX model lineup’s purpose is to bolster Buick’s position in what is possibly the most popular SUV vehicle segment in today’s marketplace.

Buick offers four premium SUVs across the three segments most shopped in by consumers: small, compact and midsize. The 2020 4-door, 5-passenger, Buick Encore GX is positioned between the smaller Encore and the larger Envision and Enclave models. It offers new standard safety technologies, and its style and functionality are indicative of Buick’s direction in the industry. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. Buick sales come from SUVs. Trim levels include: the base Preferred Encore; the mid-range Select: and the top of the line Essence.

The Encore GX’s new standard safety and driver assistance features include Front Pedestrian Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. It also offers the Enclave’s innovative Rear Camera Mirror, which provides a wide, less obstructed rear view while parking and driving, and High Definition Surround Vision camera system.

The efficient performance of this extra small crossover SUV is paired with a purposefully designed cargo space that’s almost 5 cubic feet larger than the Encore and roughly 3 cubic feet smaller than the Envision.


Two different three-cylinder turbocharged powertrains are offered. A 1.2-liter is standard with a 1.3-liter optionally available. Gears are changed by a CVT in the FWD models, while the AWD versions come with a 9-speed automatic, and add $2000 to the price.


My press test vehicle was the 2020 Buick Encore in GX Essence trim in the FWD configuration, powered by the transversely front mounted 1.3-liter, turbocharged inline three-cylinder engine with Direct injection. It produced 155 horsepower at 5,600 rpm along with 174 pound feet of torque at 1,600 rpm. Motive force was delivered to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with overdrive. It wore an exterior finish of White Frost Tricioat metallic, with the interior was done in Ebony tones. The base price was set at $28,500., while the final sticker totaled $34,065. After adding: the Tricoat paint; Convenience Package; Liiftgate Package; Ecotec 1.3 turbo engine and destination charge.


The cabin of the Encore GX is quiet and features leather upholstery, heated seats, and more passenger space than the smaller Encore. The Encore GX’s front-passenger seat folds flat to aid in loading longer items. adequate interior room, and pleasant cabin surroundings. It is actually positioned between mainstream and luxury market vehicles.

The infotainment system comes with a nicely integrated touchscreen that comes standard with features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The Encore GX employs GM’s latest infotainment software interface, which is quick to respond and intuitive to operate. A head-up display is an available option as is a high-definition 360-degree camera system.

For the coming year SiriusXM satellite radio and wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto become standard features across the lineup, and adaptive cruise control will be available on the Preferred model as part of the optional Safety package.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded the Encore GX a four-star safety rating. The Encore GX offers a rearview camera mirror and 360-degree camera system as optional fare, and key safety features include: Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection; Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist; and available adaptive cruise control.


There’s no Launch Control or Line Lock for the Encore with either engine or drive configuration, which is somewhat sluggish off the line, but then it’s not intended for racing or doing donuts in intersections. According to EPA mileage estimates, it is capable of getting 30 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. It provides a smooth ride and well-balanced and controlled body motions.


The 2020 Buick GX Essence FWD as tested serves up an attractive and affordable package overall and will prove to be just the right size for many consumers with enough efficiency and versatility to fill the bill. In any case, it provides yet another choice in the compact crossover SUV marketplace.
The Encore GX offers more warranty coverage than many rivals, with a Limited warranty that covers 4 years or 50,000 miles; a Powertrain warranty covering 6 years or 70,000 miles; and complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Buick Encore GX Essence FWD

Base Price: $28,500.
Price as Tested: $34,065.

Engine Type and Size: 1.3-liter, DOHC, 16-Valve turbocharged and intercooled inline three-cylinder with Direct injection.

Horsepower (bhp): 155 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 174 @ 1,600 rpm

Transmission: Continuously Variable (CVT) with overdrive.

Drive Train: Transversely front mounted engine / FWD

Suspension: Front -MacPherson strut.
Rear – Compound crank.

Brakes: Electric power assisted four wheel Duralife discs with brake drying, ABS and brake life monitoring.

Tires: Hankook Kinergy GT 225/55 R18 98Y mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels – Machine Face with painted inners.

Wheelbase: 102.2 inches
Length Overall: 171.4 inches
Width: 71.4 inches
Height: 64.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,094 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 30 mpg city /32-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

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