Expert Reviews

2024 Buick Encore GX Review

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Safety

After a few years of aesthetic anonymity, the 2024 Buick Encore GX benefits from a much-needed refresh.

What’s now the smallest model in the brand’s lineup has a presence that’s nothing if not unique, making it more appealing to buyers who want a premium look and a more luxurious feel, but at a less-than-premium price.

Styling: 9/10

Buick’s design team has done a great job upgrading the looks of the Encore GX. A new and stylish grille, along with new LED headlights, gives this small SUV a big presence. Sport Touring and Avenir trims get fancy new LED tail lights, while new 18- and 19-inch wheel options are available. The Encore GX is also Buick’s first model in North America to show off the brand’s new logo, which sets its shields in a row rather than clustered together like before.

Safety: 6/10

Every Encore GX comes with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection that automatically applies the brakes in the event of an impending impact, a follow-distance indicator, lane-keep assist with lane departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights. Unfortunately, some desirable driver-assist systems are optional. That means stuff like adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors cost extra, even on the most expensive trim.

Features: 7/10

All trims feature an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a front passenger flat-folding seat back, and a remote starter. Also standard is a single-zone climate control system, an 11-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections. Meanwhile, the Sport Touring and Avenir trims also get a power tailgate, while the latter also gets dual-zone automatic climate control. Wireless charging is optional across the lineup, while both top trims can be had with upgraded stereos.

User-Friendliness: 8/10

Buick’s designers did a great job with the interior. All the knobs, buttons, and switches are well-placed, easy to read, and intuitive to use. Connecting to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is simple and quick, and the graphics on the 11-inch touchscreen are crisp and easy to decipher. That big display combines with an eight-inch one in front of the driver to make a 19-inch digital dashboard that looks upscale and thoroughly modern.

Of the few marks against this little Buick, there’s no telescoping feature on the tilt steering wheel, which can make it more difficult to find the ideal seating position.

Practicality: 8/10

The Encore GX is reasonably sized for a family of three or four, while the 665 L of cargo volume (1,421 L with the rear seats folded), plus the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat when not in use, gives this small SUV big cargo carrying potential. Looking at similarly sized rivals, the Mazda CX-30 boasts 572 L of space (1,280 L with the seats folded), the Subaru Crosstrek offers 564 L (1,549 L with the seats folded), and the Honda HR-V has 691 L (1,559 L with the seats folded).

Comfort: 8/10

Soft-touch materials and a tranquil cabin make for a very inviting and relaxed atmosphere. Buick’s unique mix of sound-deadening materials and engineering, dubbed “QuietTuning,” helps prevent road noise from making its way inside, sounds from under the hood are almost undetectable. Although the Encore GX is a subcompact SUV, its long wheelbase allows for a more refined and an almost bump-free ride.

Power: 8/10

The only engine available is a 1.3L turbocharged three-cylinder that produces 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. While that might not seem like much on paper, it makes this sport utility surprisingly fun to drive, especially in the city, where the low-end torque offers enough kick to outmanoeuvre many other motorists.

The bae front-wheel-drive version uses an automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT), while the addition of all-wheel drive comes with a nine-speed automatic, which shifts flawlessly and offers a smooth ride.

Driving Feel: 8/10

It’s easy to appreciate the civilized ride, finger-light steering, and overall refined ride quality the Encore GX delivers. However, those who prefer a more connected-to-the-road feel may be a bit disappointed. Even so, the turbo engine offers enough oomph for most city and highway manoeuvres without sounding overworked, while braking is solid.

Fuel Economy: 8/10

The 2024 Buick Encore GX hadn’t been rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at the time of this writing. However, last year’s front-wheel-drive version was rated at 8.2 L/100 km in the city, 7.4 on the highway, and 7.9 combined, while the addition of all-wheel drive pushed those numbers to 9.0, 8.3, and 8.6, respectively.

Value: 8/10

The base front-wheel-drive Encore GX Preferred starts at $29,649, while the all-wheel drive version starts at $31,649. (Freight adds $2,000 across the lineup.) It’s a well equipped offering, with cloth seats and leatherette trim, as well as those wireless smartphone connections and heat for the front seats and steering wheel, among others.

Move up to the $33,299 Sport Touring and it includes notable extras like leatherette seating, a fancier grille, an extra speaker, and a power tailgate. The top-of-the-line Avenir model starts at $36,579 and includes real leather upholstery, lumbar support for both front seats, and a hands-free power tailgate.

In comparison, the Mazda CX-30 starts at $27,050 and offers similar output (155 hp), while the Subaru Crosstrek starts at $28,995, and the Honda HR-V starts at $28,960 (all prices before freight and taxes).

The Verdict

The 2024 Buick Encore GX is appealing to the eyes inside and out, and frankly looks more expensive than it actually is. The new 19-inch digital dashboard, which includes an 11-inch infotainment touchscreen and an eight-inch gauge display, makes a big difference as it gives the Encore GX a refreshing modern look and feel. The tiny turbo engine is surprisingly peppy, and the ride is refined and quiet. Updated and upgraded, the 2024 Buick Encore GX definitely stands apart from previous versions of this small SUV, as well as other entries in the segment.

Engine Displacement 1.3L
Engine Cylinders Turbo I3
Peak Horsepower 155 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Peak Torque 174 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Fuel Economy 9.0 / 8.3 / 8.6 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 665 / 1,421 L seats up/down
Model Tested 2024 Buick Encore GX Avenir
Base Price $36,579
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,000
Price as Tested $38,679
Optional Equipment