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About a decade ago, Buick released a crossover SUV that would deviate from the competition, garnering popularity from many drivers. Like the name it possesses, fans and critics were calling for an encore to this SUV, and we've got our results. The 2022 Buick Encore GX is the third model year of the vehicle that joined the original Encore in Buick's lineup not too long ago. There are a few differences between the two vehicles, enough to warrant an entirely different model with accompanying trim levels, but the DNA between the two is as apparent as ever. What should you immediately expect from the 2022 Encore GX? On the surface, it may not seem like much, but take a closer look, and it becomes immediately apparent just how Buick has managed to create a unique vehicle without straying too far from the traditional Encore models.
The first major difference that you'll notice is in its trim levels, of which there are three. Of course, the Preferred trim is here, as it's the only trim for the original Encore, but it doesn't serve as the base trim this time around. That's reserved for the Select, and this has a starting MSRP of $25,995.* The last available trim level sits above the Select and Preferred, and that's the Essence, which has the advantage of offering perhaps the most luxurious Encore experience there ever has been.
To get a basic understanding of the performance levels that you can expect with the 2022 Encore GX, all you have to do is take a look at the regular Encore. However, it's not exactly as clear-cut as that, and these are two different engines, albeit rather similar. Inside of the Encore GX is a 1.3L Turbo I-3, and this is quite reminiscent of the 1.4L Turbo I-4 engine in the regular Encore. With a smaller engine, the Encore GX manages to hold exceptional fuel efficiency, and it barely loses any of the performance. For example, the Encore GX's engine produces 155 hp, identical to the traditional Encore model, and the Encore GX has 174 lb-ft of torque.
Two transmissions are available for the Encore GX, the first of which is your average transmission type in small SUVs, and that's a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). CVTs are smooth shifting and extremely efficient, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it, and customers may want a bit more. That's where the available 9-speed automatic transmission comes into play, offering a far punchier feeling vehicle when you're picking up speed. This is something that we expect many customers to opt for, but if it isn't of utmost importance to you, the CVT will be a perfect fit.
Unlike sedans, SUVs aren't always going to be efficient automobiles, usually relying on large and thirsty engines that result in a vehicle that requires more gas station visits than its smaller and more fuel-efficient contemporaries. The 2022 Encore GX doesn't fall into the same category as some other competing SUVs, and this is because of that turbocharged engine that we mentioned earlier. Not only this, but the Encore GX ends up being even better at conserving fuel than the other Encore model. The amount of fuel that you'll burn is dependent on whether or not your vehicle is FWD or AWD. However, the differences aren't as severe as vehicles we've seen in the past. FWD Encore GX models get EPA-estimated ratings of 29 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, and AWD Encore GX models will get 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
The Encore GX is legitimately a feat of engineering, and we're not just saying that. Not only is the Encore GX more efficient than the standard Encore, but it's larger too, offering more space for cargo, and of course, you and your passengers as well. Starting with how you'll fit inside of the interior, there's a decent amount of head and legroom for all five passengers, with the accompanying bench seats in the back. It remains abundantly clear that Buick gave an equal amount of attention to all facets of the interior, and whether you're sitting in the front or back seats, the dimensions don't drift too far apart.
In the front row of the 2022 Encore GX, you and the passenger by your side will have 39.7 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of room for your legs. In the back, passengers will have 38.1 inches of headroom and 36 inches of legroom. Essentially, this means that the backseats don't feel too clustered together, and they can comfortably sit even taller adult passengers. As is the case with a regular SUV, these backseats can be folded down, and the result is more than double the amount of available cargo space when you need it.
Don't misinterpret the cargo space to passenger capacity as an either-or situation because you can have your cake and eat it too. Even with all five passengers, there are 23.5 cu ft of cargo space, so this should be enough space for everyone in the family to bring along some bags when on an out-of-town vacation, for example. Lower the rear bench, and this is increased to 50.2 cu ft of space, which opens a whole new world of possibilities for your SUV. More accurately, this is an increase of 113.6%, which is simply superb.
Buick SUVs can be equally as luxurious as any other type of automobile, and the Encore GX is the rule, not the exception. Many of the luxury-oriented amenities that you'd expect from any high-end vehicle are present, such as available heated leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. As you'd likely expect, there's a wide range of features that can be explored in your infotainment centers, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen size of this infotainment center will be 8-inches, which is even more than the regular Encore.
Another available option that greatly enhances the look and feel of your vehicle is adjustable lighting inside the cabin. If you opt for higher-tier trims such as the Essence, this allows you to create a more relaxed ambiance, which is perfect for those late-night drives. For an even greater lap of luxury, the available Experience Buick Package adds a large panoramic moonroof and an exclusively designed set of wheels.
Buick is up there with some of the most revered manufacturers when it comes to overall driver and passenger safety. A slew of safety features comes standard, and select features are available as extras, culminating in a forward-thinking automobile in regards to protecting the vehicle's occupants. Starting with the Forward Collision Alert, its importance is vital as it will send warning signals to the driver if they're getting too close to another vehicle on the road or at a red light, for example.
The Forward Collision Alert should get the attention of the driver, but if the driver can't react quickly enough, the vehicle will take over. It does this by utilizing two extra features that work in tandem with the Forward Collision Alert, and these are Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking. These two features are rather similar, but the difference lies in how they protect those on and around the road. Automatic Emergency Braking will apply braking pressure to your Encore GX after the Forward Collision Alert does its job if you're too close to another vehicle. Front Pedestrian Braking will have the same effect but can be activated instantly if a pedestrian unexpectedly crosses the street, for example, and will bring your vehicle to a halt.
Coming standard is Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, both of which will ensure that you're always staying in your respective lane when traversing on the freeway. Lane Departure Warning will alert you if you're leaving your intended lane, and Lane Keep Assist can adjust the steering slightly to correct your placement in this lane. Lastly, Teen Driver also comes standard, and if you have a newly licensed driver in the house, this is a perfect learning tool. Whether you're setting on-road rules, volume limits, speed limits, and more, Teen Driver is the parent's ultimate tool. Some aspects of Teen Driver don't require the parent's input whatsoever, including a feature that prevents the gear from shifting out of the park position if the driver doesn't have their seatbelt fastened.