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2023 Buick Encore GX Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 Buick Encore GX Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Preferred vs Select and Essence

What 2023 Buick Encore GX Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

There are quite a few subcompact luxury SUVs on today’s market. Drivers who’re seeking a more affordable option should take a serious look at the 2023 Buick Encore GX. A starting MSRP of around $26,000 makes it thousands of dollars less expensive than the top European models. Although the Encore GX may not offer as much performance, may car shoppers will like its spacious interior and expressive exterior styling.

No major changes were made to this SUV’s latest lineup. However, an attractive Moonstone Gray Metallic paint color is now available. Here’s an overview of how the Encore GX's three trim levels compare.


Compare the Preferred vs Select Trims. What is the difference?

The entry-level Preferred trim is one of the segment’s top bargains. Buyers will receive quite a few popular features without having to break the bank. Most people will find the Preferred trim’s level of comfort to be perfectly sufficient.

This trim’s powertrain features a 1.2-liter, boosted three-cylinder engine. Buick rates it to kick out 137 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission links to the engine, thus helping drivers to conserve fuel. However, don’t expect the SUV to deliver pulse-pounding acceleration. It has a tested 0-60 mph time of around 10.0 seconds, which is a bit slower than some competitors.

The good news is that the Encore GX Preferred is an efficient performer. It has a government-estimated fuel economy rating of 28 mpg in city traffic and up to 31 mpg on the freeway. Buick programmed the SUV’s powertrain to use regular unleaded gasoline.

Front-wheel drive comes standard on the Encore GX Preferred. Buyers can upgrade to an intelligent all-wheel-drive system. While the AWD-equipped Encore GX isn’t designed to face rough terrain, it will deliver an enhanced performance in the snow.

Along with the SUV’s optional AWD system comes a noticeably stronger 1.3-liter, turbo three-cylinder engine. Its 155-horsepower output noticeably improves acceleration and overall responsiveness. A nine-speed automatic transmission also makes the more powerful Encore GX more engaging to drive. The extra muscle under the hood lowers the SUV’s 0-60 mph time to 9.2 seconds. This more formidable powertrain is highly recommended for drivers who need to tow.

Fuel economy is lower for the AWD-equipped Encore GX. Owners can anticipate getting around 26 mpg in town and 29 mpg on the highway.

Most people will have no grievances about the Preferred trim’s exterior appearance. LED fog lights are 18-inch aluminum wheels come standard. However, Buick does curb costs by outfitted the Preferred trim with less modern halogen headlights. When cruising at highway speeds, the SUV’s front grille shutters automatically close to help reduce wind drag. Other exterior features include heated side mirrors and dark-tinted rear windows.

On the inside, the Encore GX Preferred feels plusher than the typical mainstream model. Buick’s Quiet Tuning technology and an acoustic laminated windshield help block outside noise. Leatherette seating surfaces add to the cabin’s luxuriousness. However, Buick does equip this trim with manual-adjustable front seats as opposed to powered ones. A single-zone climate system with manual controls also comes standard.

When preparing to hit the road, drivers will appreciate the convenience of the SUV’s tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Integrated controls along the front of the steering wheel ensure easier operation of the cruise control, stereo, and Bluetooth systems. A dual glove box enables drivers to lock away important items.

Buick’s standard infotainment unit is uncomplicated to use. It provides an 8.0-inch diagonal touchscreen. With wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being built into the interface, drivers don’t need to use a USB cord when connecting a mobile phone. Another nice perk for passengers is the system’s 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Other aspects of the infotainment unit include Bluetooth streaming audio and a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio.

Families will be able to powered up their electronic devices. There’s one USB-A and one USB-C port in the front of the SUV. Backseat passengers can plug into the rear USB charge ports. Proximity key keyless entry is yet another useful feature. Drivers can simply push a button to fire up the engine.

Buick equips the Encore GX’s Preferred trim with some thoughtful safety features. While Stabilitrak gives drivers greater control on slippery roads, GM’s award-winning OnStar communications system provides around-the-clock emergency assistance. Even when stranded in the middle of nowhere, drivers can reach out for help.

Buick’s Teen Driver system is a big stress-reducer for parents. Aside from enabling parents to restrict the vehicle’s maximum speed, this system also closely monitors the teen’s driving habits. A driving analysis report can be sent directly to the owner’s smartphone.

Buyers don’t have to pay extra for the SUV’s standard Driver Confidence safety package. It adds some highly beneficial technologies. When traveling in high-traffic areas, Front Pedestrian Braking can intervene to prevent a collision. Forward crash warning, lane-keep assistance, and a following distance indicator are also included in the package.

Drivers who desire a flashier look will have interest in the Preferred trim’s optional Sport Touring package. It elevates the SUV’s exterior appearance by adding a red-accented mesh grille and sport bumpers. Attractive 18-inch wheels bring a more pronounced stance. Buick also adds integrated roof rails. Drivers will be able to bring along extra cargo, including snowboards and kayaks.

Folks who routinely experience frigid conditions during the winter may want the Preferred trim’s Cold Weather Comfort package. It warms up the cabin with heated front seats. Remote vehicle start and an upgraded 10-way driver’s seat with power lumbar are also part of the package

A notch up the trim ladder is the mid-level Encore GX Select. It’s only around $1,300 more expensive than the base model, which is a big plus for car shoppers on a limited budget. Unlike the front-wheel-drive Preferred trim, the front-wheel-drive version of the Select trim can be upgraded with the stronger 1.3-liter engine. All-wheel drive remains an option for buyers to consider.

When moving up to the Select trim, cold-weather upgrades come standard. This includes front-seat heating functions and remote vehicle start. Buick also equips the Encore GX Select with the base model’s optional power driver’s seat. Dual-zone automatic climate control is another nicety that improves comfort. Other perks include standard integrated roof rails and a rear armrest.

In terms of exterior styling, the Select trim does not look much different from the base model. It features the same wheels and exterior lights. Identical paint colors are also offered on the Select trim level.

A major option for the Encore GX Select is Buick’s Advanced Technology Package. It lessens driving stress by adding adaptive cruise control. This package also swaps out the SUV’s traditional backup camera for a 360-degree HD Vision camera system. Meanwhile, Buick’s head-up display makes it easier for you to view key driving information. GPS navigation is also integrated into the SUV’s infotainment system.

Another option is the Buick Experience package, which upgrades the Select trim with a panoramic sunroof and exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Compare the Select vs Essence Trim Levels. What is the difference?

Atop the lineup sits the leather-appointed Encore GX Essence. It’s roughly $3,200 more expensive than the mid-level Select trim.

To help create a healthier atmosphere for passengers, Buick equips the Essence trim with an air ionizer. This feature improves air quality by helping to filter out viruses and other contaminants. A 120-volt power port is integrated into the rear of the center console. Other standard interior features include a powered passenger seat with lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, and memory functions for the driver’s seat.

In contrast to the lower trim grades, the Encore GX Essence provides premium LED headlights and taillights. Buick’s more powerful 1.3-liter engine also comes standard. However, all-wheel drive still remains an option for this range-topping trim.

For an extra $770, buyers can upgrade the Essence trim with a Convenience package. Drivers who spend a lot of time in the city will greatly benefit from Auto Parking Assist. The system makes parallel and perpendicular parking a lot less nerve racking. It assists with steering and braking.

The Convenience package also brings a rear camera mirror with washer. This feature is designed to further diminish dangerous blind spots. Other upgrades include a wireless phone charger and rain-detecting windshield wipers.

Music fans should invest in the Essence trim’s optional Bose audio system. It elevates sound quality by surrounding the cabin with seven premium speakers. A Richbass woofer enables listens to feel the beat. Yet another option is the SUV’s hands-free liftgate, which makes the process of loading cargo quicker and easier. A panoramic sunroof is also optional on the Essence trim.


Final Thoughts

The entry-level Encore GX Preferred is a solid pick for bargain-minded car shoppers. Its standard infotainment system provides some highly appealing features, including wireless smartphone connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Buick’s standard accident-avoidance technologies add more value.

On the downside, some drivers will desire more a more muscular punch under the hood. To get the Preferred trim with Buick’s stronger 1.3-liter engine, they’ll have to opt for all-wheel drive. This ultimately equates to more money being spent.

Folks who wish to draw more attention on the road should consider the optional Sport Touring appearance package. The Cold Weather Comfort Package, which adds heated front seats and remote engine start, will prove its worth during the winter. A Safety package is also available for the base Encore GX.

The previously mentioned Cold Weather Comfort package comes standard on the mid-level Select trim. Dual-zone automatic climate control is another perk. While the Essence trim is worth some consideration, it’s not a major upgrade over the entry-level Preferred trim.

People who seek the most upscale driving experience will want the top-of-the-line Encore GX Essence. It comes standard with the SUV’s more potent 1.3-liter engine. Exclusive features found on the Essence trim include an air ionizer, premium LED exterior lights, and leather seating surfaces.

While the Essence trim’s optional packages are tempting, they will cause the SUV’s total cost to rise. The feature-packed Advanced Technology package costs nearly $2,000. In order to deck out the Encore GX Essence with exclusive wheels and a panoramic sunroof, buyers must shell out an additional $1,500.

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