Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Reviews2024 Buick Encore GX ST Review: An Actual Hidden Gem Among Small...

2024 Buick Encore GX ST Review: An Actual Hidden Gem Among Small SUVs

GM makes really good small SUVs and the Buick Encore GX is one of them

Even now, a solid 15 years after GM restructured following the financial crisis, there’s still some debate among car enthusiasts about whether GM made the right choice by discontinuing Pontiac and keeping Buick. Pontiac had a certain vibe with its driving excitement, whereas Buick seemed less thrilling. However, after spending a week driving the 2024 Buick Encore GX, I can confidently say that Buick has found its niche as a bridge between mainstream and luxury vehicles.

2024 Buick Encore GX | Photo: MAtt St-Pierre

Finding the Perfect Positioning

Buick’s strategy is clear: it aims to fill the gap between the average mainstream car and the luxurious elite. This positioning does come with heightened expectations, as the word “luxury” can set the bar quite high. Reflecting on this, Buick seems to be the reverse of Volkswagen from a decade ago. Volkswagen once stood as premium mainstream, but with brands like Kia, Mazda, and Toyota stepping up their game, Volkswagen has lost some of its premium edge. Conversely, Buick stands as an entry-level luxury brand, offering an appealing step up for those looking to venture into luxury without the hefty price tag. At least, some models do.

Quality and Value

The Encore GX is a brilliant little crossover. It’s small, decently handsome, and loaded with features that make it a solid contender in its class. The only real stigma Buick faces is the perception of its brand being associated with an older, erm, much older demographic. This perception is much like how Hyundai and Kia were once viewed as makers of cheap cars. Today, Hyundai and Kia have proven themselves with high-quality, stylish vehicles, and Buick is following a similar path.

2024 Buick Encore GX | Photo: MAtt St-Pierre

The 2024 Buick Encore GX is a testament to this transformation. With a starting price of $29,600 for the front-wheel-drive Preferred trim in Canada, and only $39,410 for the top-trim Avenir, it offers a competitive edge. Truly, it is quite a deal when you consider that many mainstream crossovers are priced similarly or even higher.

Modern Design for Buick

The Encore GX’s exterior design is a significant step forward. The new family front end, with its eye-brow LEDs and characterful daytime running lights, gives it a fresh and dynamic look. The ST model, with its black wheels and roof rails, adds a sporty touch. The rear taillight treatment and faux diffuser in the back also contribute to its overall appeal, making it look like a little bulldog ready, or at least trying to impress.

Interior Comfort and Practicality

2024 Buick Encore GX | Photo: MAtt St-Pierre

Inside, the Encore GX continues to impress with its practicality and comfort. The power tailgate reveals a surprisingly spacious cargo area with 665L of boot space. The interior is well-thought-out, with comfortable seating for four adults, plenty of storage options, and a user-friendly infotainment system. The tester’s leather seats are power-adjustable and offer good lumbar support, and the standard 11-inch touchscreen display is integrated seamlessly into the dashboard.

Driving Experience: Quiet and Smooth

Driving the Encore GX is where it really shines. Buick’s signature quiet tuning and noise cancellation make for a serene cabin environment, even at highway speeds. The 1.3L turbocharged three-cylinder engine, every bit a bulldog, with 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, provides ample power for city driving and quick acceleration. The nine-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive, enhancing the overall driving experience.

2024 Buick Encore GX | Photo: MAtt St-Pierre

The Encore GX handles well, with a comfortable and compliant ride quality thanks to its torsion beam suspension with Watts linkage in the rear. Despite its small size, the small crossover demonstrates stability and composure on the road. The steering is light but precise, and the brake pedal offers good feedback, making it easy to control. Frankly, it’s plain fun to drive. And a quick head’s up: it’s 10 times more interesting in all respects than the Envision…

Overcoming the Brand Perception

While the Buick brand might still struggle with its image, the Encore GX proves that it’s time to look beyond the badge. It competes well against rivals like the Audi Q3, Lexus UX, and even the BMW X2, offering a blend of luxury and practicality at a more accessible price point. For those considering a small SUV, the 2024 Buick Encore GX is definitely worth a closer look. It might just surprise you as much as it did me.

2024 Buick Encore GX | Photo: MAtt St-Pierre
2024 Buick Encore GX | Photo: MAtt St-Pierre


Trending Now

Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.