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The all-new 2020 Buick Encore GX slots between the smaller Encore and the midsize Envision in Buick’s crossover lineup. Photo provided by Buick

The Buick brand is proving itself to be a survivor, a chameleon that adroitly adapts to its surroundings.

Introduced for 2020 is Buick’s fourth crossover SUV — and adding another crossover is a good call in this crossover-obsessed era. What’s really notable, however, is that this full embrace of crossovers — three of them small (to one degree or another) — is being done by a brand that built its reputation on eight-cylinder cars frequently large enough to qualify for urban-renewal grants.

For Buick-philes, some of the most fondly remembered rides include the 17-foot-long Super Riviera Coupe of 1950, the 18-foot LeSabre Wildcat of 1965, and the endlessly stretched 1959 Electra 225, which cast a shadow that covered nearly 19 feet. All were massive, all were passenger cars and all were powered by eight-cylinder engines.

How times change. Buick’s 2020 line-up consists of one wagon, two cars and four crossovers, with nary a V-8 in sight.

Buick’s latest addition is the Encore GX, which plugs the size gap in Buick’s ever-expanding crossover lineup by slotting nicely between the Envision, which is a foot longer than GX, and the Encore, which is 3 inches shorter. Despite the similar name, the compact Encore GX is not related to the microscopic Encore. Encore GX is, in fact, a platform mate of the 2020 Chevy Blazer.

Like Blazer, Encore GX offers a pair of diminutive turbocharged engines — a 1.2-liter, 137-hp three-cylinder and a 1.3-liter, 155-hp three-cylinder. The former, managed exclusively by a CVT automatic, is compatible only with front-wheel drive while the latter, at the buyer’s discretion, can power just the front wheels or all four. The front-driver gets the CVT, the all-wheel drive version is managed by a nine-speed automatic.

Encore GX trims include Preferred, Select and Essence. In addition, buyers can add a $650 Sport Touring Package — ST to its friends — that adds exterior eye candy. We drove an Essence powered by the 1.3-liter turbo — a $395 option on our front-driver — and wearing the Sport Touring raiment.

That ST pack enhances this already good-looking crossover, bringing along such stylish cues as a black and red-accented grille, black-and-red lower rear air diffuser and body color moldings. Very nice.

On the road, Encore GX’s 155-hp turbo provides modest acceleration as it sings a coarse exhaust note under hard provocation. Also, the little guy’s suspension, attached to 18-inch wheels under our Essence, willingly telegraphed road imperfections to the cabin.

On the other hand, when cruising on civilized pavement, Encore GX is quiet — impressively so. To wit: On a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 80s, we had windows rolled down when we got stopped at a train crossing in Washington, Mo. As the big freight train rumbled by it sounded like Armageddon. We rolled up GX’s windows and, voila, the clattering racket of the massive freight train all but disappeared.

Room up front is good while the decor in our Encore GX ST — black with contrasting stitching, matrix-look trim and piano-black accents — was appealingly sporty. Meanwhile, backseat head room is good but leg room is dependent on the kindness of front passengers.

Regarding infotainment, it’s pretty straight-forward. The system, which includes a volume knob for audio, cries out for a tuning knob for the radio, but the touch screen is well-presented and logical. And, needless to say, the system is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.

Wearing the elegant Buick-brand styling much more comfortably than the tiny Encore, this Encore GX is a pleasant combination of fuel economy, convenience, modern tech and handsome styling.

BASE PRICE: Preferred: $25,095; Select: $26,695; Essence: $29,495 (add $2,000 to each trim price for all-wheel drive)

PRICE AS DRIVEN: $34,115; a FWD Encore GX Essence with $395 1.3L engine upgrade; $520 power liftgate; $495 paint upgrade; $1,790 Advanced Technology Pkg., (Head-up Display, surround-view camera, navigation, more); $770 Convenience Pkg. (auto park assist, wireless charger, more); $650 Sport Touring appearance package

Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine’s online Web Bonus.

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The all-new 2020 Buick Encore GX slots between the smaller Encore and the midsize Envision in Buick’s crossover lineup. Photo provided by Buick


Buick Encore, g x, Crossover

World news – US – 2020 Buick Encore GX: Filling gap in brand’s crossover lineup, it’s one more step in the reinvention of Buick

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