Buick's hottest model is back and better than ever. The Encore GX made waves upon its debut for 2020, with the larger version of the brand's Encore crossover SUV quickly becoming its most popular model. This five-seat premium SUV has a lot in common with its similarly named predecessor but differs in some important ways that make the 2022 Buick Encore GX a true standalone offering worthy of a closer look.
A nice addition to Buick's stable of crossover SUVs, the Encore GX provides drivers with an option between the subcompact Encore and compact Envision. The updated take on the popular Encore silhouette introduces a number of intriguing features without fundamentally changing the crossover we've come to know and love. With a more efficient powertrain that offers the choice between two modern turbocharged engines and plenty of premium features, the Encore GX is a stellar option in the Buick family.
One of the more obvious differences is the Encore GX's size. With three more inches to its chassis, the Encore GX is slightly roomier and offers 50.2 feet of cargo space instead of 48.4 cubic feet in the Encore. The newer crossover also features a fold-flat front passenger seat which adds to the overall interior cargo space, giving drivers the ability to accommodate objects as long as 8 feet inside the cabin. But the Encore GX isn't only larger than the original Encore; it's got a touch more modern styling as well.
The sport-inspired design of Buick's subcompact SUV features bold lines and a black mesh grille, giving it a more aggressive look than the comparably stolid, family-friendly Encore. Unique color options arrive for 2022 with Cinnabar Metallic, Sapphire Metallic, Sunset Glow Metallic, and Rosewood Metallic to choose from. Those interested in an even sportier take on the Encore GX should consider the Sport Touring package, which brings a number of aesthetic enhancements.
Drivers will also notice a difference when it comes time to fill up the tank, with the Encore GX offering better gas mileage than its forerunner. Those who spend more time driving in city traffic should take this discrepancy into consideration as the 2022 Encore GX boasts EPA ratings of 29 MPG city and 32 MPG highway against the 2022 Encore's 24 MPG city and 32 MPG highway. Both options offer impressive fuel economy thanks to their efficient powertrains, but it's the Encore GX's turbocharged three-cylinder setup that allows it to edge out its sibling. But don't worry about power - the 1.3-liter engine still produces 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, which puts it right in line with the four-cylinder of the Encore.
The Encore GX offers a full complement of the modern conveniences and safety features that edge this crossover firmly into luxury territory. The 2022 Encore GX comes standard with an impressive slate of standard safety features, as well as some intriguing add-ons such as a rear camera mirror. While it might look like a typical rearview mirror, upon closer inspection, it's actually a small screen displaying a live feed from a rear-mounted camera. This not only gives drivers a wider, less-cluttered picture of what's behind you, but can also be customized to specific brightness, zoom and tilt preferences or even disengaged altogether, reverting to a regular mirror.
The crossover's standard Driver Confidence Package includes Forward Collision Alert and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. Options like Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are available for those who go in for the optional Safety Package. IntelliBeam headlights automatically dim and brighten in response to traffic conditions, giving you one less thing to worry about while driving at night. The Encore also features Teen Driver Mode, an innovative new technology that General Motors has rolled out across all of its brands in recent years.
Accessed through the Encore GX's infotainment display, Teen Driver Mode allows parents to customize and monitor their children's driving experience, from setting speed and audio limits to delivering warnings and preventing the vehicle from shifting into drive until the seatbelts are fastened. The system also provides parents with a "report card," giving them a look at a number of illuminating stats that will let them have a better idea of just what their teens are getting up to when they have the keys. These metrics include distance driven, maximum speed, over-speed warnings, and more.
In-car technology has come a long way in recent years, and with so many vehicles on the market offering comparable fuel economy and safety scores, these creature features play more of a role in the buying process than ever before. Buick has kept well ahead of the curve in this regard, and the 2022 Encore GX has an expansive suite of in-vehicle tech that prioritizes comfort and convenience.
One such example is the Marketplace app. Included on a number of Buick vehicles, Marketplace is a one-stop shop for everything you might need on a typical outing in your 2022 Encore GX. Whether it's finding a parking space, figuring out dinner plans, or booking some last-minute accommodations, Marketplace provides drivers with an intuitive interface that will allow you to focus on the road while it arranges nearly everything else. By teaming up with industry leaders such as Yelp, Shell, Priceline, and ParkWhiz, Marketplace allows you to order takeout, find a parking spot, reserve a hotel, or locate the nearest gas station at the touch of a button.
The Marketplace app is powered by Buick's Connected Access package, which is offered standard on all 2022 Encore GX models. This data service plan also allows drivers to access basic vehicle diagnostics and a comprehensive system called Buick Smart Driver. Developed in collaboration with OnStar, Smart Driver offers feedback to help improve overall driving performance, increase fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle depreciation. Those looking for an even more connected driving experience can add the Connected Vehicle Plan, enabling unlimited 4G LTE data, turn-by-turn navigation, and in-vehicle app access. Opting for the Remote Access Plan upgrades the Connected Access package to include vehicle location, on-demand diagnostics, and remote start.
The 2022 Encore GX is available in three distinctive trim levels - Preferred, Select, and Essence. Buick also offers a Sport Touring package that can be applied to each trim level, giving the well-rounded SUV a sportier edge.
For 2021, the Preferred and Select trims came standard with a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine producing 137 horsepower. However, those seeking a little more oomph will be glad to know that the previously optional 1.3-liter, 155-horsepower engine is now standard equipment. All three trim levels are available with all-wheel drive, which also upgrades the vehicle from the standard CVT to a modern nine-speed automatic transmission.
The entry-level GX Preferred comes standard with single-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen, a 4.2-inch driver display, and a six-speaker audio system. All trim levels of the Encore GX are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making streaming music from your smartphone easier than ever before.
An upgrade to the Select trim sees the inclusion of a dual-zone climate control system, heated front seats, and a luggage rack. Additional tech features, such as a navigation system, heads-up display, 360-degree camera, and adaptive cruise control, are offered as part of the optional Advanced Technology Package. Safety upgrades on the Select trim range from adaptive cruise control and rear park assist to Blind-Spot Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
The top-tier Essence trim brings all that and more, adding 8-way power-adjustable seats, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, LED taillights, and a heated steering wheel. An available Convenience Package upgrade includes the rear camera mirror, wireless phone charging, and automatic parking assist with braking. Music lovers will also appreciate an impressive stereo setup featuring a seven-speaker Bose audio system.
The Sport Touring package opts for some darker design flourishes to enhance the Encore GX's already sporty style and further distinguishing it from the original Encore. Modifications include a high-gloss black grille with red inserts and 18-inch high-gloss wheels. With the addition of the Black Roof Package, the Encore GX Sport Touring gets even sharper, adding black accents throughout, including the SUV's roof and mirrors.
But the Sport Touring package isn't just a design overhaul - it also adds some real functionality to the crossover with some integrated roof rails that will be particularly alluring for the outdoorsy set. Perfect for affixing kayaks, canoes, bikes, and ski gear, the roof rails allow the Encore GX Sport Touring to become the perfect adventure-ready SUV for whatever the weekend might throw at you.