A silver 2021 Buick Encore GX is parked in front of a tan brick building.

The 2021 Buick Encore GX: It’s Not an Encore

We’re excited about what’s happening at Buick. The company’s already standout lineup of crossovers just keeps getting better with recent additions like the 2021 Buick Encore GX. Hang on a minute, you think – didn’t Buick release the Encore nearly a decade ago? Well, yes. This is the Encore GX. It’s different. Completely different, in fact. While Buick won’t be earning any naming creativity points for its latest release, we understand why they named it this way.

The Encore GX isn’t an Encore at all, but because Buick has seen tremendous sales success with the subcompact Encore, it wisely borrowed the name for the newest subcompact crossover in its stable, and they added “GX” for good measure. Make no mistake: the Encore and the Encore GX are two completely different vehicles down to the platform they’re built on. But because they share a name and some similarities in design and profile, we thought we’d help the Encore GX establish its own identity by pointing out the ways it differs from its fraternal twin, the Encore (note: no GX).

Are you confused yet? Don’t be. The good news for crossover buyers is this Buick model offers more cabin and cargo space, better fuel economy, and a little more pep. You’ll still be able to opt for all-wheel drive or choose a trim that’s full of luxury features and tech, but the Encore GX is longer and wider than the original Encore, so buyers needing just a little more space will appreciate this slightly larger option. Follow along as we take a closer look at the Encore GX here, paying attention to how it distinguishes itself from the original Encore.

Price and Trims

The 2021 Buick Encore GX starts at a sticker price of $24,200, just a little bit lower than the Encore, which starts at $24,600. Because of its larger size, though, Buick has slated it between the Encore and the larger Envision. Size is the headline with the Encore GX, but it also offers a diverse range of trims and packages designed for buyers to dial in some customization.

The base Encore GX Preferred sits at the low end of the range, starting at $24,200. Buick has equipped the Preferred trim with plenty of in-demand features, though, so buyers can feel comfortable driving home the entry model. The Encore GX comes standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and the Buick Driver Confidence suite of driver-assist safety systems.

Next up is the mid-range Encore GX Select. The Select will set buyers back $25,800, but Buick justifies the price jump with even more standard driver-assist technology, including Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Heated driver and front passenger seats up the luxury ante, as does the included dual-zone automatic climate control. A remote starter is also standard.

The top-end Encore GX Essence tips the luxury scales, with leather-appointed seats, LED headlights and taillights, a decadent heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a cabin air ionizer that keeps the interior fresh and odor-free. Rear seat passengers will also love the extra 120-volt outlet located in the back of the center console.

For the 2021 model year, Buick offers a special Sport Touring Package. This performance-oriented package dresses up the Encore GX’s exterior with a special touring grille with black and red accents. It also offers an available black roof package for contrasting colors that looks especially dramatic with White Frost Tricoat exterior paint. The roof gets finished with roof rails for bikes, kayaks, skis, or anything else you need to transport.

The two black rows of seats in a 2021 Buick Encore GX are shown from a high angle.

Interior

The 2021 Buick Encore GX excels at moving people and cargo, thanks to a versatile seating configuration that accommodates up to five and converts to provide up to 50.2 cubic feet of hauling space. Lower just one side of the 60/40 split rear bench, and you’ll have room for a passenger and that longer cargo. Are you dealing with a kayak, some skis, or a bulky antique store find? The front passenger seat folds flat, too, providing room for extra long gear without having to stow it on the roof rack. Cargo space gets another boost with the reconfigurable cargo floor area, freeing up an extra bit of room that helps accommodate larger cargo.

Buick’s QuietTuning active noise cancellation technology insulates travelers from nuisance noise, like road humming and wind, with triple door seals and acoustic laminated windshield and front side window glass. These components are designed to absorb the noise, leaving passengers with a quieter cabin. We think the Encore GX works best with the available panoramic moonroof. It’s surprisingly large and transforms the interior into a light, bright, and convertible-like environment. Opt for the available 7-speaker Bose premium audio system and navigation, and your Encore GX is ready for long road trips, complete with dialed-in entertainment.

A blue 2021 Buick Encore GX with a kayak on the roof is parked in front of a lake.

Technology

If staying connected and entertained when you’re on the move is important, you’ll love the tech-rich features in the 2021 Encore GX. To begin with, the vehicle is equipped with a standard 8-inch full-color infotainment touchscreen, and an HD version of the screen is also available. The infotainment is powered by Buick’s operating system, a system characterized by lightning-fast responsiveness and a crisp user display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, but the wireless smartphone charger is optional.

For 2021, Buick Marketplace debuts on the Encore GX. The system partners with Yelp to help drivers find waypoints along their routes, like gas stations and restaurants. Drivers can easily reserve a table, order takeout, and even locate and pre-pay for a vacant parking spot, thanks to ParkWhiz.

Buick Connected Services is a subscription-based plan that uses your smartphone to stay connected with your vehicle. There are three available plans: Connected Access, Remote Access Plan, and Unlimited Access Plan. Connected Access is complimentary for the first ten years of ownership and includes vehicle diagnostics and Buick Marketplace. Upgrade to the Remote Access Plan, and your smartphone becomes a remote key fob and provides vehicle locating support. The Unlimited Access plan provides unlimited 4G LTE data, navigation, and in-vehicle app access.

When it comes to non-infotainment features, we appreciate Buick’s innovative available rear camera mirror, which displays a wide, unobstructed view of the area behind the vehicle, making backing out of parking spots easy work. However, possibly our favorite tech feature is the standard Teen Driver Mode. Parents can program the vehicle with a speed limiter, an audio volume limit, and adjust other settings to more closely monitor teen driving habits and help young drivers stay focused on the road. The in-vehicle report card lets mom and dad know how their children did.

The Encore GX Is a New Type of Encore

There are a lot of reasons to like the 2021 Buick Encore GX. These include its extended size and cabin space, along with its sporty, angular exterior lines. Two powerful yet fuel-efficient engine options infuse the Encore GX with a nimble, responsive ride. The 1.2-liter turbo delivers 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, while the available 1.3-liter turbo ups the game to 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. Whichever trim you choose, you’re getting a well-rounded crossover with bold styling and plenty of spirited performance.

Even better, the Encore GX has a more-than-reasonable price and is backed by Buick’s 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, along with complimentary roadside assistance for added peace-of-mind. If you haven’t been to a Buick dealer lately, we can confidently report that you’re missing out. Their current lineup of SUVs delivers on all the most important must-haves buyers want, and with the 2021 Buick Encore GX, there’s yet another size and price option that will make it hard to choose anything else.