A white 2023 Ford Bronco Outer Banks Edition is shown parked off-road after competing in a 2023 Buick Encore GX vs 2023 Ford Bronco Sport comparison.

The 2023 Buick Encore GX or the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport: Which SUV Is Best for You?

Some people try to be all things to all people. They believe they can win folks over by being someone that they really aren’t. Usually, these kinds of people end up falling flat on their faces as they prove themselves to be no one in particular. This is often the case with automotive vehicles. It is one thing to be versatile, but it ends up being impossible to give everyone what they want. The result is often a vehicle that is so compromised that it doesn’t serve any purpose particularly well. These vehicles are classically known as “Jack of all trades, master of none” automobiles. This is where the comparison between the 2023 Buick Encore GX vs 2023 Ford Bronco Sport comes into play.

These are two of the newest subcompact SUV models on the market today. Buick introduced the Encore GX in 2020, eventually supplanting the smaller Encore model. The Ford Bronco Sport followed a year later as a smaller version of the re-introduced Ford Bronco. These are two impressive subcompact SUV models, each designed for specific needs. The 2023 Buick Encore GX has style to spare and gets superior fuel economy. Meanwhile, the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport has a boxier and more rugged appearance, with a standard 4X4 drivetrain. Let’s take a look at these two models in the context of different driver profiles.

A white 2023 Buick Encore GX is shown on a showroom floor.

A Closer Look at Engine Options

Both Buick and Ford offer a choice of engines on their respective subcompact SUV models. The 2023 Buick Encore GX has a turbocharged 1.2-liter I-3 base engine with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This features a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) design with direct fuel injection and can deliver up to 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. The Encore GX models with this engine are front-wheel drive only.

A larger engine option on the 2023 Encore GX also features a turbocharged 1.3-liter I-3. Front-wheel drive models with this engine have a CVT, while the available all-wheel drive models have a 9-speed automatic transmission. This engine has a DOHC configuration, also with direct fuel injection. Whichever transmission and drivetrain you choose, this engine delivers 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque.

Ford also offers two engines on the 2023 Bronco Sport. This model comes with standard all-wheel drive, and each engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is a 1.5-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-3 gas engine. It has a DOHC configuration with variable valve timing and auto stop-start technology to improve engine efficiency. The Ford engine uses a combination of port and direct fuel injection, providing up to 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque.

The largest of the four engines is available on the Bronco Sport. This is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4 gas engine with a DOHC configuration and uses variable valve timing and auto stop-start technology. However, it relies solely on direct fuel injection. As a result, this engine delivers 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque.

A black 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands Edition is shown driving off-road.

The Driver Who Is Looking for Adventure

Some drivers buy a subcompact SUV when looking for an adventure vehicle. These are the folks who love to go off-roading, do some camping, and push their vehicles to the limit. For them, a 2023 Ford Bronco Sport may make more sense than a 2023 Buick Encore GX.

The Bronco Sport has standard four-wheel drive, whereas the Encore GX is primarily a front-wheel drive vehicle. There is available all-wheel drive on the Encore GX, but that kind of traction is better for on-road conditions than for off-roading. Moreover, many of the Bronco Sport trims have things like automatic locking front and rear differentials to reduce wheel slippage and skid plates to shield the undercarriage of the vehicle that you just won’t find on the Buick Encore GX.

There is also a slight difference in acceleration that favors the Bronco Sport. The Buick Encore GX can go from 0 to 60 mph in an acceptable 9.3 seconds. This is fine for getting onto busy highways, but it can’t match the performance of either engine on the Bronco Sport. The models with 1.5-liter Turbo I-3 can propel the Bronco Sport from 0 to 60 mph in a solid 8.2 seconds, while the 2.0-liter Turbo I-4 gets up to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds.

A blue 2023 Buick Encore GX is shown with two kayaks on the roof rack.

The Daily Commuter Who Is Looking To Save a Few Dollars

The 2023 Buick Encore GX excels when a daily commuter is behind the wheel. While the Bronco Sport has better acceleration, the Buick Encore GX has just enough, with the added benefit of exceptional fuel economy. The Buick Encore GX with the 1.2-liter Turbo I-3 may be the best bet for someone looking for a sporty and economic model for their daily commute to work, getting a combined 30 MPG in combined fuel economy.

This is the same as the front-wheel drive Encore GX with the 1.3-liter Turbo I-3. In fact, while both also get 29 MPG in city driving, the larger engine is slightly more fuel-efficient on the highway, with 32 MPG in this kind of condition. However, the larger engine on the Encore GX also comes with a slightly higher price tag.

Neither of the engines on the Ford Bronco Sport can compare to the Encore GX. For example, the Bronco Sport with the 1.5-liter Turbo I-3 gets 26 MPG in combined fuel economy, while the 2.0-liter Turbo I-4 only provides 23 MPG. This is even less than the 27 MPG in combined fuel economy with the all-wheel drive Encore GX. All of that better fuel economy translates into savings for a commuter who needs to use their car on a daily basis.

The Suburban Family Driver Looking To Safely Get the Kids Around Town

The 2023 Buick Encore GX and the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport have great features perfectly designed for suburban driving. For example, the Bronco Sport is slightly roomier than the Encore GX, with 105.7 cu.ft. of passenger space compared to 94.3 cu.ft. on the Buick. Meanwhile, the Encore GX is more economical, providing much better fuel economy, which is always an issue with a suburban driver on a budget.

In addition, these models feature standard safety equipment. The Encore GX has the Buck Driver Confidence package with automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, and a following distance indicator to help reduce accidents. Similarly, the Bronco Sport has the Ford Co-Pilot360 technology with innovative tools like pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, the blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, and intelligent adaptive cruise control. This is something to impress even the most demanding family driver.e

When it comes down to these two models, it is really all about creature comforts. The average suburban driver will probably appreciate the standard and available luxury features like a hands-free power liftgate and a leather-wrapped steering wheel on the 2023 Buick Encore GX. While the Ford Bronco Sport has a great complement of features for off-roading, these are not likely necessities for someone looking for a family vehicle. As a result, the family driver will find more to use and appreciate in a Buick Encore GX than in a Ford Bronco Sport.

A blue 2023 Buick Encore GX is shown driving on a road.

Which One Are You?

Deciding on what you want the most out of a vehicle can be challenging. It could be great fuel economy, the latest technology, exceptional acceleration, or a top safety rating. Whatever you decide on as your priorities, the key is to find a vehicle that fits these needs perfectly. With the 2023 Buick Encore GX and the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport, you have two subcompact SUVs that serve some very different needs.

If you are looking for an adventurous off-road model, the Bronco Sport is probably the right choice if you’re looking to venture off the pavement. But if you are like most people and need a subcompact SUV for your daily commute or to use as a family vehicle, then there really is no contest. The 2023 Buick Encore GX gets exceptional gas mileage while delivering on those creature comforts and finishes that make riding in a Buick, unlike most other brands. Whichever type of driver category you fall into, both of these vehicles are sure to enhance your daily travels, whether you’re taking the kids to school or heading out into the wilderness for a weekend of camping.