The Buick Encore GX is now in its fourth model year and has been updated for 2024 with new looks, features, and trim lines. Our tester is the new 2024 Encore Avenir trim, which replaces the Essence trim at the top of the Encore food chain. The 2024 Encore starts at $25,600 for the Preferred trim before the $1,295 destination charge, while the Avenir starts at $31,900 before the destination charge. That’s a lot of money for a subcompact crossover and puts the Encore Avenir in the middle of a very crowded segment, with the likes of the Volkswagen Taos and the BMW X1. We spent a week with the Encore Avenir to see how it fares against said competition.
The Buick Encore GX is the brand’s best-selling model, and sales have been extremely strong in 2023. The Encore GX had a 98.65% increase in sales in Q2 2023 vs. Q2 2022, with 18,055 units sold vs. 9,089 units sold, respectively. That’s some incredible sales momentum, and Buick intends to keep that momentum going with the 2024 Encore GX.
For 2024, the Encore GX gains the brand’s new exterior design language with slimmer, more aggressive split headlamps, restyled front and rear bumpers, rear LED taillamps, and a new corporate standard look grille. This is also the first U.S. model to wear the new Buick tri-shield crest badge.
The Avenir trim gives the Encore GX a black ice grille, body-colored cladding, 19-inch wheels, and Avenir badging. Our test car came in gorgeous Ocean Blue Metallic paint.
The interior of the 2024 Buick Encore GX has also been completely updated. The Encore receives a brand-new dashboard design with soft-touch materials and new switchgear. An 8-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, as is an 11-inch screen for the infotainment system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard in both wired and wireless forms.
A wireless charging pad is optional on Avenir through the $1,395 Avenir Technology package. A heated steering wheel, heated seats, front and rear USB ports, and a 120v power outlet are standard. The cabin is also fairly quiet, thanks in part to Buick’s QuietTuning active noise cancellation technology.
Both digital displays are bright and crisp. The center display quickly responds to inputs and presents all media in rich colors. A panoramic glass sunroof is available.
The Buick Encore GX also comes with a full suite of safety and driver assistance technologies including: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Change Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. There is also a rear set reminder, and an optional 360-degree surround view camera with rear camera mirror as part of the Avenir Technology Package.
The Whisper Beige interior helped the Encore GX Avenir interior feel light and airy, as well as helping it feel larger than it is. Adding higher-end materials helps move the Encore Avenir away from economy class into Business Class. There are some hard plastics like the top of the door cards though that remind occupants that this is still a vehicle that starts at the mid-$20k price point.
In the powertrain department, the Encore GX Avenir is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine which makes 155 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is delivered through a CVT transmission to the front wheels.
0-60 is in the upper 8-second range. While this sounds slow on paper, the Encore GX Avenir was perfectly capable of comfortably zipping about town on city streets or the fast-paced Houston freeways. I never once felt uncomfortable with the Encore’s power. More power would always be welcome, though.
The engine was surprisingly quiet and smooth during acceleration. Small engines tend to be buzzy and have quite a bit of NVH attached. The Encore GX avoided both traits and kept the cabin quiet and comfortable during highway and city driving.
The EPA rates the Buick Encore GX Avenir at 30 combined/29 city/31 highway. I fell just short of the EPA combined numbers with 29mpg over 220 miles of mixed driving.
The 2024 Buick Encore GX offers up reasonable cargo space for its form factor. There are 23.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, and 50.2 cubic feet with them down. Unfortunately, this is towards the bottom of the class, bested by the Volkswagen Taos and Kia Seltos.
Overall, the Buick Encore GX Avenir feels more premium than many other vehicles in its segment. Unfortunately, the Avenir trim gets expensive quickly. Our Avenir trimmed test car price as tested was $35,470, including the $1,295 destination charge. For about $5k more, the BMW X1 xDrive28i offers a lot more performance, better economy, and more room. While that extra $5k can be a stretch for some, it highlights that a little more gets you a lot more. If you can make do with a more modest Encore trim level, there is a lot of value provided and is worth looking at. That said, the Ocean Blue Metallic paint on our Avenir test car does make for a great-looking vehicle!