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2021 Buick Encore vs 2021 Buick Encore GX

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  • 2021 Buick Encore

    A silver 2021 Buick Encore is angled left.

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    2021 Buick Encore GX

    A grey 2021 Buick Encore GX is angled right.

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    25/30Fuel Economy (city/highway)(MPG)30/32
    48.4Max Cargo Capacity(cu ft)50.2
    138Horsepower (HP)137-155

    If you’re looking for a small SUV that delivers plenty of power and capability, seating for five, and loads of sophistication, then there’s no question that you’ll love everything Buick has to offer. Buick is known for offering affordable luxury and capability across its SUV-exclusive lineup, which is exactly what you’ll find when you compare two of the automaker’s most popular models - the 2021 Buick Encore vs 2021 Buick Encore GX. How do these models differ, and which one comes out ahead?

    There’s no clear winner between the 2021 Encore and the 2021 Encore GX. Both SUVs offer similar standards of luxury and innovation with only slight differences in capability, technology, and style. Where one is more modern and athletic, the other is more elegant and refined. You’ll also find that both SUVs are priced in the same range, with the Encore starting at $24,600 and the Encore GX at $24,200. This levels out the playing field even further, which is why it’s important to take a closer look at performance and capability, technology, and styling to determine which SUV suits you better.

  • Design

    A blue 2021 Buick Encore is shown from the side parked at a lookout point during a 2021 Buick Encore vs 2021 Buick Encore GX comparison.

    When you park the Encore and the Encore GX side by side, there’s a notable difference in styling that you might not otherwise recognize. Both models are elegant, but the Encore keeps with Buick’s classic exterior courtesy of its subdued front grille, LED lighting, and refined details that add to its appeal as a family-friendly SUV. In contrast, the Encore GX is bolder and more athletic, with distinct body lines and a black mesh grille that instantly distinguishes it from the Encore.

    Differences in Sizing

    Aside from these differences in style, the Encore and Encore GX are slightly different in size. The Encore is 168.4 inches long and 65.2 inches tall, which translates to a spacious cabin that offers seating for five. In the front seat, you’ll have plenty of room with 39.6 inches of headroom and 40.8 inches of legroom. In the rear, you can easily accommodate passengers and their cargo with a maximum cargo volume of 48.4 cubic feet. How does this compare to the Encore GX?

    Buick stretches the Encore GX a few inches to give the SUV an overall length of 171.4 inches and a height of 64.1 inches, which is slightly shorter than the Encore. However, this doesn’t negatively affect the size of the cabin. In the front, you’ll have 39.7 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom, which is on par with the Encore. The biggest difference is in the rear, where the 60-40 split-folding rear seats expand the cargo area to 50.2 cubic feet. You also have 8 feet of diagonal space with the flat-folding front passenger seat. This means you can haul more gear in the Encore GX than you can in the Encore.

    Other Details

    Aside from the slight difference in size and exterior details, the Encore and Encore GX both offer Buick’s premium interior. This includes Buick’s QuietTuning technology that delivers a quiet ride as well as the Buick infotainment system and available upgrades like heated front seats, remote start, keyless entry, and automatic dual-zone climate control. On the top-tier trims, you’ll find leather seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as an air ionizer that purifies the air in the cabin to minimize odors.

  • Performance

    A black 2021 Buick Encore is shown from the back driving down a dirt and grass driveway.

    The Power of the Encore

    When you’re comparing the 2021 Encore with the 2021 Encore GX, you’ll discover that Buick gives the Encore GX more power and better efficiency than its smaller sibling. The Encore has one powertrain option, and that’s a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission to deliver 155 horsepower. This power makes the Encore responsive and easy to handle, whether you’re navigating city traffic or cruising at highway speeds.

    Buick gives you even more confidence when you’re behind the wheel of the Encore by adding StabiliTrak, which automatically engages when it senses the Encore is losing traction. This is especially helpful in icy and wet conditions or on uneven roads. Of course, opting for the Encore with all-wheel drive maximizes the SUV’s capability since it actively monitors all four wheels and transfers power to the wheel or wheels that need it most. This slightly reduces the Encore’s fuel economy, with front-wheel drive models averaging 25 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway and all-wheel drive models averaging 24 MPG city and 29 MPG highway.

    The Power of the Encore GX

    The Encore GX lives up to its sporty exterior with a second powertrain option that delivers more power than the Encore. The GX comes standard with a 1.2-liter turbocharged engine that’s paired with a continuously variable transmission to deliver 137 horsepower. This combination is incredibly efficient and pushes the GX’s EPA-estimated fuel economy to 28 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway.

    If you’re looking for more power, you don’t have to look far, thanks to the available 1.3-liter turbocharged engine that’s paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission on all-wheel drive models or a continuously variable transmission on front-wheel drive models. This upgrade delivers 155 horsepower and improves the GX’s fuel economy across the board. Front-wheel drive models average 30 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway, while all-wheel drive models average 26 MPG city and 29 MPG highway. This means more power and better handling with fewer stops at the gas pump!

  • Technology

    The interior of a 2021 Buick Encore shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

    Interior Tech

    When it comes to technology, neither the 2021 Encore nor the 2021 Encore GX disappoints by offering the most innovative features available, from connectivity and entertainment to safety and driver-assist. Both models come standard with an 8-inch color touchscreen display that’s home to the Buick infotainment system. Through the system, you can effortlessly sync your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You’ll also have access to a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that keeps you and your passengers connected wherever the road leads.

    The Encore GX adds a few tech upgrades to the system, including an available navigation system that helps you get from Point A to Point B with ease. You’ll also have easier hands-free driving with the available built-in Amazon Alexa, which allows you to add items to your Amazon shopping list, play your favorite music, make calls, and respond to messages with simple voice commands. With tools like this, as well as the Encore GX’s available Head-Up Display, you can confidently keep your eyes on the road.

    Safety and Driver-Assist Tech

    Buick wants every driver to have the confidence they need when they’re behind the wheel. This means offering the latest in safety and driver-assist technology. The Encore comes standard with a rear vision camera, which gives you a clear view behind the vehicle and is helpful when backing out of a parking space. You can enhance the Encore’s safety features on the Preferred trim by adding the Safety Package or the Safety Package II.

    The Encore’s Safety Package includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert, both of which work to minimize the potential for collisions by monitoring the side and rear of the SUV. The Safety Package II includes rainsense windshield wipers, Forward Collision Alert, Front and Rear Park Assist, and Lane Departure Warning. While the rainsense windshield wipers ensure you have a clear view of the road ahead, Forward Collision Alert monitors the front of the SUV and alerts you to potential collisions. The Lane Departure Warning helps you keep the Encore centered in its lane, and the Front and Rear Park Assist feature makes it easy to park the SUV in any space.

    The Encore GX’s suite of safety and driver-assist features is even more impressive because every trim comes with the Buick Driver Confidence package. This package includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, a Following Distance Indicator, IntelliBeam headlamps, and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. The addition of advanced tools like Automatic Emergency Braking enhances your safety in the Encore GX and can mean the difference between a fender-bender and an accident-free day on the road.

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