2024 Buick Encore GX: Old Brand, New Attitude

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Buick is an old nameplate, both in terms of how long the brand has existed and its perceived target market.

OK, the latter probably isn't true anymore and probably hasn't been for a while. Certainly, the brand's actual target market appears, at least based on recent TV ad campaigns, to be young-ish and attractive folks between the ages of 30 and 50.

Brands that want to appeal to younger folks, even brands with entry-luxury positioning, need to have some sort of entry-level vehicle to get yuppies in the door. The Encore has been Buick's weapon of choice in that respect, and it gets updated with new duds inside and out -- including the first production use of Buick's new logo.

The logo is one thing, but only classic-car aficionados and GM historians are really going to care much. More notable is the front fascia, which is borrowed from the swoopy Buick Wildcat concept. The Wildcat, of course, isn't a crossover -- but concepts often preview brand-wide design cues, and we expect we will see this front end, or a variation of it, a lot on new Buicks.

The design has a hood that swoops down towards a large grille. The grille here looks different than what the Wildcat has, but it's still large. Quite large.

There's actually a little resemblance to Ford's fourth-gen Escape here, but the grille on the Encore looks bigger in pics. Winged LED headlamps wedge between the hood and grille.

Other exterior bits of note include available 18- and 19-inch wheels, available LED taillights, available black-gloss bumpers, and a Black Roof package.

Inside, the Encore gets what Buick calls the first use of its so-named Virtual Cockpit System. That, to us, sounds like a fancy way of saying that touchscreens will dominate the cabin. Buick says it will have 19 diagonal inches of high-definition touchscreen under one single sheet of glass. Drivers will have an 8-inch digital gauge screen and the infotainment screen will be 11 inches.

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, while wireless cell phone charging is available. If you opt for the luxury Avenir or sporty ST trims, you'll get badges identifying the trim level in the headrest. ST models get a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

This is the first time Buick has offered an Avenir trim on the Encore, and if you opt for it, you'll get a different grille, clear-lens LED taillamp, 19-inch trim-specific wheels, chrome bumpers, and black carbon metallic body-side molding. You'll also get a trim-specific interior color scheme, leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and more.

There are two available engines: A standard 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that makes 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and an available 1.3-liter turbo three-cylinder that makes 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available with the 1.3. All three trims -- Preferred, Sport Touring (ST), and Avenir are available with either engine and drivetrain layout.

Opt for front-wheel drive and you get a continuously-variable automatic transmission, regardless of engine. Opt for AWD, which is only available with the 1.3, and you get a nine-speed automatic. For fuel economy, Buick is projecting up to 31 mpg highway (1.3 with FWD).

Pricing starts at $26,895, with the ST commanding $28,095. The Avenir will start at $33,195. It's not clear from the press release if those prices include destination.

The Encore GX -- not GNX, sorry -- goes on sale in May.

[Images: Buick]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 37 comments
  • Jeff Corey, Thanks again for this series on the Eldorado.
  • AZFelix If I ever buy a GM product, this will be the one.
  • IBx1 Everyone in the working class (if you’re not in the obscenely wealthy capital class and you perform work for money you’re working class) should unionize.
  • Jrhurren Legend
  • Ltcmgm78 Imagine the feeling of fulfillment he must have when he looks upon all the improvements to the Corvette over time!