Is it better than the four-banger?
The 2020 Buick Encore GX was recently revealed as a new crossover model sitting between the smaller Encore and the larger Envision. Pricing starts at $25,095, making the GX about $2,000 more expensive than the standard Encore model. Even though the GX shares the Encore name, it is a completely new crossover with revised styling, a new interior, and new engines under the hood.
Buick will offer the Encore GX with a choice of two turbocharged three-cylinder engines. The base engine is a 1.2-liter unit while the more powerful engine displaces 1.3-liters. Previously, we've known how much power both engines produce, but to paint a more clear picture, the EPA has now published official fuel economy figures.
The base 1.2-liter mill produces 137 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque going out to front-wheel-drive-only through a continuously variable transmission. This combination yields 26/30/28 mpg city/highway/combined. For comparison, four-cylinder Encore achieves 25/30/27 city/highway/combined in FWD guise using an older six-speed automatic.
Opting for the 1.3-liter three-cylinder improves output to 155 hp and 174 lb-ft going out through a CVT to FWD or through an optional nine-speed automatic to AWD. The FWD model achieves 30/32/31 mpg city/highway/combined and these numbers drop to 26/29/28 with AWD. Upgrading to the 1.3-liter only costs $395 and offers the best fuel economy, so it clearly seems like the best engine of the bunch. AWD is a $2,000 option, so we wouldn't select it unless you live in a snowy climate.
So even though the GX is larger than the Encore and has one less cylinder, it is still more efficient and more powerful than its smaller sibling. But the Buick is not the most efficient sub-compact crossover. The Lexus UX 200 averages 33-mpg combined as does the non-luxury Nissan Kicks. The Lexus UX 250h is even better with a 40-mpg average, though it makes use of a hybrid system. The Buick Encore GX will hit dealer showrooms in the spring of 2020.