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2020 Buick Encore Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

What do you get with each? Find out below..
2020 Buick Encore Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: 1SV vs Preferred vs Sport Touring & Essence

What 2020 Buick Encore Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

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Are you in the market for a small luxury SUV but are not really sure where to start looking? The 2020 Buick Encore might just be a good place to start. Let us make this clear: The 2020 Buick line-up has some design issues that might deter some buyers. If you are looking for something with plenty of second-row and cargo space, this is not the vehicle for you. This is the smallest SUV in Buick's line-up, so if you need space, give consideration to either the Regal TourX, Envision, or Enclave.

For being a luxury vehicle, a starting MSRP of $23,200 is going to be really appealing. Buick does keep its base trims affordable for their segments, which should be something that you consider during your buying process. However, you get what you pay for, which, in this case, might not be enough to meet your needs.

But there is more to the Encore than just its price. On all trim levels, the cabin remains superbly quiet,even when zipping down the highway. And the size of this vehicle makes it easy to maneuver through tight city streets and parking lots. Also, these vehicles come with an abundance of standard infotainment features.

Of the four trim levels (the Encore 1SV, Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence), is there one that is right for you? Which one gives the average driver the best deal? This trim level comparison review will go over all of them and, at the end, declare our pick for the best trim level.

Compare the 2020 Buick Encore 1SV vs Preferred Trim Levels. What is the difference?

First in the 2020 Buick Encore's line-up is the 1SV. This trim level is powered by a standard 1.4-L 4-cylinder engine that generates 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission comes equipped, and you can order the vehicle with either full- or all-wheel drive. This engine is estimated to get about 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg in the highway. While the fuel economy is decent enough, this engine feels very underwhelming. Acceleration is slow at best, and pressing down on the brake pedal requires some effort to get the vehicle to slow down.

It also has 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, a 130-amp alternator, electric power steering, a stainless steel exhaust tip, keyless start and entry, gas-charged twin tube shock absorbers, electronic stability, and traction control. The Preferred also has the same mechanical set-up. Take note that there are only 6.2 inches of ground clearance on all of the trim levels, so your off-roading adventures should be pretty limited. The available all-wheel drive does help when you are driving around in inclement weather, but many drivers will likely stick with front-wheel drive.

The 1SV and Preferred share some of the same exterior features, including 18-inch machine-faced alloy wheels featuring pockets set in light argent metallic, acoustic laminated glass, body-colored door handles with chrome stripes, front and rear accent color fascias, halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, roof-mounted side rails, a solar-absorbing windshield, a rear intermittent windshield wiper, and front intermittent wipers with pulse washers.

The Preferred gets a few options for upgrading that the 1SV does not have. These include a wheel lock kit, safety kit, roof rack cross rails, a Road Trip Package (which has the cross rails and all-weather floor mats), a power moonroof, front and rear splash guards, an accessory carrier hitch, and 18-inch five-split-spoke aluminum alloy wheels done with a shining midnight silver finish.

On the inside, these two trim levels also have a lot of similarities. The 1SV and Preferred both boast a 2-way manually adjustable front passenger seat, a 4.2-inch driver information screen, 4G LTE WiFi hot spot connectivity, a 6-speaker sound system, a 60/40 split folding rear bench seat, active noise cancellation, Bluetooth connectivity, access to Buick Connected, an infotainment center with an 8-inch touchscreen display, cruise control, a rear window defogger, power door locks with child door locks, 2-way up/down adjustable head rests, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the LATCH system, a multi-functional leather-wrapped steering wheel with the tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Quiet Tuning, power windows, a cargo cover, and a trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Note that the front seats get absolutely no lateral support on any of the trim levels, which means you will have to brace yourself against the folding inboard arm rest when having to quickly round through a turn. It is uncomfortable and odd that lateral support is not built into these supposedly luxury vehicles.

Again, the Preferred gets some optional upgrades that can set its cabin apart from the 1SV. These upgrades include a 120-volt power outlet, the Active Package (which has a cargo tray and accessory hitch carrier), all-weather cargo and floor mats, a cargo net, ebony or shale leatherette and cloth trim, remote start, and side blind zone alert.

A few desired safety features come standard on the 1SV and Preferred. Both trim levels have Buick and OnStar Connected Service capabilities, a rear vision camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The Preferred offers optional upgrades like side blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert.

Compare the 2020 Buick Encore Preferred vs Sport Touring Trims. What is the difference?

The Sport Touring has a lot of the same features that you will find on the Preferred, but it does have a few upgrades that you will not get in the Preferred. For starters, the Sport Touring opens up a few mechanical options. You can choose to get the 1.4-L turbocharged engine with start-stop functionality. This engine gets 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. It still gets paired up with the 6-speed automatic transmission, but this one has driver shift control and makes for some seriously smooth transitions between gears. There is also an optional engine block heater and oil pan heater.

The exterior does have some differences from the Preferred. The Sport Touring gets 18-inch midnight silver aluminum alloy wheels, fog lamps, and a rear sport spoiler. Optional upgrades include the accessory carrier hitch, front and rear splash guards, a power moonroof, roof rack cross rails, and the wheel lock kit.

On the interior, the Sport Touring does not really add much in the way of new standard features. It does, however, give you a few more options for upgrading. Those options are semi-automatic single-zone air conditioning, a 7-speaker Bose audio system, an infotainment system with built-in navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and HD Radio.

When it comes to safety features, everything remains the same on the Sport Touring as it is on the Preferred. Overall, there are not too many differences between these trim levels unless you add on all of the optional features.

Compare the 2020 Buick Encore Sport Touring vs Essence Trim Levels. What is the difference?

Finally, we have the line-topping trim level, which is known as the Essence. The Essence is powered by the same standard 1.4-L 4-cylinder engine, but you still get the option of equipping the Sport Touring's optional twin-turbo engine. Like on the Sport Touring, the twin-turbo gets the souped-up version of the 6-speed automatic transmission on the Essence.

The Essence's exterior rides atop chic 18-inch aluminum wheels that have technical gray pockets. You also get the option of equipping 18-inch 7-spoke chrome aluminum wheels. There is also a new package that opens up, the Experience Buick Package. This lets you opt to get a tilt and sliding power moonroof, the upgraded 18-inch chrome wheels, and AM/FM and SiriusXM Satellite Radio with the 8-inch touchscreen color display. Other features include standard LED headlights, and optional rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers.

There are a few interior changes worthy of mentioning too. The 2020 Buick Encore Essence gets a standard 120-volt power outlet, a 6-way power adjustable front passenger seat, two memory presets for the driver's seat, heating on both of the front seats, an automatically dimming rearview mirror, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, and a Home Link universal home remote. There are options available for the Active Package, the 7-speaker Bose sound system, brandy-colored leather appointed seat trim, the Buick infotainment system with built-in navigation, ebony-colored leather appointed interior trim, the Experience Buick Package, forward collision alert, rear and front parking assist sensors, an in-vehicle air ionizer, lane departure warning, and shale-colored leather appointed interior trim.

As you can see, the Essence exhibits the most differences from the three lower trim levels, but even though this is the case, the number of standard features that you get are not as many as you can get on other vehicles in this class.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, CarsDirect & MotorTrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Trim to Choose?

The fact that only the top trim level gets active safety features that typically come standard on lower trim levels is a bit baffling. For being a luxury SUV, you should expect to get many more standard infotainment and safety features. Also, the fact that the Sport Touring trim gets the same standard engine as the other trim levels is a bit bizarre. As a sport vehicle, one would think that the optional engine would have been made standard instead. Unfortunately, it seems as though Buick is trying to make this entry luxury vehicle very 'entry'.

Should you get the 2020 Buick Encore? To be frank, there are far better small SUVs out there - luxury and non-luxury - that offer more luxure than this line-up. Your money would likely be better spent on one of the Encore's competitors if you are looking for more in the way of standard features. And, if you are settled on owning a Buick, you will find that the other SUVs that Buick is releasing this year have more cabin and cargo space.

If you really are settled on buying the 2020 Buick Encore, you will have to choose a trim level that meets (although it likely will not exceed) most of your needs. Unfortunately, most drivers will find the 1SV, Preferred, and Sport Touring to be a little too bare in terms of standard safety and infotainment features. That means you will have to go with the most expensive, line-topping trim level, the Essence.

The Essence is the only trim level that gives you features like lane departure warning, which often comes standard on base trims of non-luxury vehicles. In fact, it is pretty much a given that this feature (and other active driver aids) will show up on a vehicle's list of standard features on the base trim. So, yes, you will have to upgrade all the way to the Essence if you want to get those handy features.

The Essence would be a great trim level if it was the base or second trim level up. But for being the line-topper, it is disappointing. With word of Buick's struggles making the Internet rounds for several years now, it seems as though the company is having trouble competing on the global market. The 2020 Buick Encore might just be proof of that.

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2020 Buick Trim Level Buying Guides:

2020 Buick Enclave Trim Levels
2020 Buick Encore Trim Levels
2020 Buick Envision Trim Levels
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Trim Levels
Previous Buick Encore Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Buick Encore Trim Levels
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