The new Buick Encore GX is a companion to—not a replacement for—the existing Encore SUV, and the two cars largely fill the same niche: tiny, easy-to-park SUVs that splash a few bits of luxury throughout. Although the GX is sleeker and more polished than the original Encore, we still think it’s less refined than competitors from other brands.
When equipped with optional all-wheel drive, the Encore GX is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. Together with a nine-speed automatic transmission, the pint-sized powerplant is surprisingly sprightly.
However, the engine sounds gravelly and rough at low speeds when driving around town or stuck in city traffic, and sends unpleasant vibrations through the entire car at low revs. In fact, it’s one of the few cars we’ve driven where we’ve looked forward to the engine shutting itself off during stops. This lack of refinement is enough to overshadow the Encore GX’s many bright spots, such as its easy-to-use infotainment system, airy interior, straightforward controls, competent handling, and standard forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection.