2020 Buick Encore GX EssenceMatthew DeBord/Insider

I drove a $34,115 Buick Encore GX, an all-new subcompact crossover SUV.
The new Encore GX is larger than the previous-generation vehicle, but it has a smaller motor. If that’s not confusing enough, the three-cylinder engine is actually more powerful then the old four-cylinder unit.
The Encore GX combines appealing styling with premium options and a fun driving experience, as well as surprising versatility.
The Encore GX also rises above mass-market competitors from Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan to challenge some smaller, entry-level luxury vehicles.
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The Buick Encore is a young-person’s car that wears a badge long associated with more mature individuals. It shouldn’t work, but it does, yielding impressive sales for the brand and cementing Buick’s crossover-driven comeback from near-death during the financial crisis.

As a one-time Buick owner — my parents gave me their Regal in the 1980s — I’ve approached the Encore with skepticism since the “cute ute’s” debut over half a decade ago. I’ll never forget the first time I drove one, in 2014. Man, is this thing small, I thought.

But over the years, the Encore has stood out because it’s part of a brand that’s thought of as “near luxury” and is supposed to rise above the mass market and prepare buyers, in the General Motors’ logic, to graduate to a Cadillac someday. 

That old brand ladder doesn’t apply anymore, but for the Encore to make good on its brand promise, it needs to be comparable to a small BMW utes, even though one might want to match it up against Mazda and Kia.

For 2020, Buick has rolled out the all-new GX level of the Encore, and I spent a week testing it in New Jersey and New York. Here’s how it went.

Behold! The 2020 Buick Encore GX Essence. My $34,115 tester wore a “Chili Red Metallic” paint job. Before extras, the vehicle started at $28,500, and the base GX is about $24,000.
Matthew DeBord/Insider
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo with Buick’s popular “cute ute.” Back in 2017, I put the first-generation of the crossover up against the …
Matthew DeBord/BI
… BMW X1 — and the Buick triumphed in the comparison!
Matthew DeBord/BI

Read about the Buick Encore’s upset win.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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