First Drive: 2024 Buick Encore GX

The 2024 Encore GX gets a refresh inside and out, but it's let down by a middling powertrain
The 2024 Encore GX gets a refresh inside and out, but it's let down by a middling powertrain

by Jon Pangindian and Nathan Leipsig | June 29, 2023


Larger SUVs and crossovers may be getting all the attention these days, but there is still a market for small, fuel-efficient luxury offerings. General Motors seems to agree — with the refreshed 2024 Buick Encore GX about to hit dealers across Canada, they are quite confident in what has to offer in this highly competitive segment. But first impressions are key, and while the Encore nails some of the finer details, there are a few others that need to be addressed.

Leading the Encore’s refresh for 2024 is the latest evolution of Buick‘s tri-shield logo, which reminds me of three throwing knives. Beyond that, the most significant changes are a redesigned front and rear bumper; the front end does slightly resemble the Hyundai Kona, but the rest of the 2024 Encore is familiar and recognizable. It is still a rather tall vehicle, and while that may make for some awkward exterior proportions, it allows for rather tall passengers — such as myself — to sit comfortably with plenty of headroom.

While the Encore does not quite go toe-to-toe with other entry-level luxury crossovers like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA — that’s what the Envision Avenir is for — but inside, the refreshed Encore boasts quality materials and better fit-and-finish than its more mainstream competition from Hyundai, Nissan, and Honda. The overall design is clean and simple to use, and a redesigned digital instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen sit front-and-centre, measuring at eight and 11 inches, respectively.

Current Encore owners looking for an engine upgrade will be sadly disappointed, as both existing powertrain options are being carried over unchanged into 2024. That means a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine on the base Encore GX pumping out just 127 horsepower, and a more powerful 1.3 L unit on the mid-range ST and fully loaded Avenir, putting out 155 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. The figures alone are hardly impressive and struggle to compete with some non-luxury models. The base Encore GX comes standard with a CVT, while ST and Avenir models get a nine-speed automatic.

On the road, the 1.3 L engine in our ST tester rattles and betrays its luxury intentions, but the comfortable and hushed ride is what you’d expect from something wearing the Buick badge. Fuel economy is rated at 9.1 L/100 km city, 8.4 highway, and 8.8 combined.

From a safety perspective, the 2024 Encore is well-equipped. Lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking are present. Optional is blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera, park-assist sensors, and adaptive cruise control.

With this particular Encore GX we evaluated being a pre-production model, we noticed some issues with ill-fitting interior trim and some suspension quirks — here’s to hoping they will be addressed in the Encore’s final production form

Pricing for the refreshed Encore GX starts at $31,489 for the base, front-wheel-drive model with the CVT. Our mid-level ST AWD trim is $35,499. For that, you get 18-inch gloss black wheels — 19s are an option — as well as a flat-bottom steering wheel, a chrome grille surround, gloss black accents up front and out back, and standard all-wheel-drive. The top-level Avenir trim rounds out the Encore GX lineup, for $38,079. The 2024 Encore GX is already on sale in the United States, and is set to launch in Canada by the end of this summer.

At these prices, the 2024 Buick Encore GX faces some stiff competition from an unlikely competitor. For similar money, you can step up to the much larger Mazda CX-30 — or even a CX-5 — and get much more handsome styling, more space, more power, and an interior miles ahead in execution.

See Also

2023 Mazda CX-30 GT Turbo

2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i

2023 Lexus UX 250h Elegance

Vehicle Specs
Subcompact luxury crossover
Engine Size
1.3L turbocharged three-cylinder
Horsepower (at RPM)
155 @ 5,600
Torque (lb-ft.)
174 @ 1,600
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Jon Pangindian

Staff Writer

An experienced detailer and diehard car guy, Jon brings a creative eye to his new vehicle road tests. Aside from writing, Jon spends most of his time tinkering with new detailing products and experimenting with ceramic coatings.

Current Toy: ’13 650i Gran Coupé