2021 Buick Encore GX vs. Competition for Sale in Johnston, RI


Buick recently introduced its Encore GX subcompact crossover, following the success of the Encore, which was released in 2013. The Encore GX is certainly distinct from its sibling; it’s larger and offers a bit more all around. It has an upgraded interior, more spirited performance specs, a longer list of standard equipment, and – you might say – a tad more personality. The Encore GX is a special vehicle, not just in Buick’s lineup but in its automotive segment as well. Some of its rivals are the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue Sport. Here, we take a look at how the 2021 Buick Encore GX matches up against those competitors.

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High-End Amenities

The Encore GX is one of the best-stocked models mentioned on this page. Its base trim, the Preferred, has a few standard features worth mentioning, starting with heated side mirrors and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and wireless smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). The Equinox LS, Terrain SL, and Rogue Sport SV – which are each a little more expensive than the Encore GX Preferred – may have heated side mirrors, but their infotainment systems are smaller and they forgo wireless smartphone integration in favor of the less-convenient, conventional plug-in variety.

The RAV4 LE (which carries a higher base MSRP than the Encore GX Preferred) doesn’t have standard heated side mirrors, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, or wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Escape SE and CR-V LX both lack heated side mirrors and wireless smartphone integration. The CR-V LX’s infotainment system has a considerably smaller (5 in.) screen that is not touch-enabled: it’s merely a display. The Encore GX even offers a head-up display, which is not available in the Equinox, Terrain, CR-V, RAV4, or Rogue Sport.

Fuel Economy and Transmission

When the ’21 Encore GX is configured with the 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drivetrain, it returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The Equinox (26 city/31 highway), Terrain (25 city/30 highway), Escape (28 city/34 highway), CR-V (28 city/34 highway), RAV4 (28 city/35 highway) and Rogue Sport (25 city/32 highway) at their most efficient don’t quite match up. What’s more, even though the ’21 Encore GX has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT), it’s eligible for an upgrade to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Since CVTs don’t have gears, they lack the engaging feel of a conventional automatic, which plenty of drivers prefer. So, if you like to feel your vehicle go through gear shifts, then you’ll likely prefer a traditional automatic. And, if you plan on keeping your vehicle for a long time, it’s worth noting that CVTs tend to be more expensive to repair than traditional automatics. The CR-V and Rogue Sport only come with a CVT. The Equinox has a six-speed automatic, but because it has fewer gears, it won’t feel as seamless or be as fuel-efficient. Like the Encore GX, the Terrain also has a nine-speed automatic, but as we outlined just above, its mpg ratings are not as good as the Buick’s.

Safety and Technology Features

Technology is at the forefront of the ’21 Encore GX. All trims have an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, satellite radio, and a six-speaker audio system. The Essence is eligible for a premium seven-speaker Bose audio system.

Buick has put state-of-the-art driver-assist technology on all Encore GX versions. The Preferred has forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist; the optional Safety Package will add adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Select receives standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, but not adaptive cruise control. That feature is returned in the Advanced Technology Package, which also includes integrated navigation, a head-up display, and a surround-view camera system. The Essence is eligible for the Advanced Technology Package as well.

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