Some higher-end trims are being scrapped.
The Buick Encore is, for all intents and purposes, a Chevrolet Trax in fancy get-up. But despite packing the same powertrains and features, it's a fair bit more expensive, which has caused trouble for Buick. The Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona offer more value for similar money, but the recent arrival of the Encore GX has made things worse for the little crossover. Despite sharing a similar name, the Encore GX is more modern underneath and is arguably a better vehicle in every way. The regular Encore is also unlikely to be replaced, as it's one of the few remaining vehicles born from GM's former European brand Opel before it was offloaded to the PSA Groupe. But instead of canning the Encore altogether, for 2021, Buick is paring back the available options, doing away with some of the more expensive trims. This is according to a 2021 order guide acquired by CarsDirect.
At the moment, the Encore is available in Base, Preferred, Sport, Touring, and Essence trim levels, each with progressively more features. For 2021, the three highest trims in the range are being dropped, which means that features like leather seats, LED headlights, and dual-zone climate control will be absent from the lineup. The 2021 model will see its base price unchanged at $24,195 with the most expensive AWD model asking for $26,215. This will make the Encore more affordable overall but will also push buyers looking for a little more luxury towards the Encore GX, if they haven't already decided that the regular Encore isn't what they're looking for.
The 2021 Encore GX will start at $25,195 with the most expensive model starting at $31,595. This means that those who opt for the GX will get more value for their money than if they were to spend the same on a regular Encore. Based on how good we think the GX is, along with waning interest in the regular Encore, we wouldn't be surprised to see the cheaper crossover axed altogether in the next couple of years. This wouldn't surprise us as the Opel Mokka on which he Encore is based has already been replaced in Europe with an all-electric variant.
Hopefully, Buick will take the lessons learned in the GX and apply some much-needed updates to the Encore. It's the only way to save the dreary little SUV.