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Dave's Garage: 2021 Buick Encore GX

Eric Peters on

It costs significantly more than rivals such as the Mazda CX30 -- which comes standard with a much stronger engine that doesn't need a turbo.

The small engine only uses a bit less gas than larger -- stronger -- engines in rivals.

Many desirable features such as the heated steering wheel, heads-up display and wireless charger are only available with the top-of-the-line Essence trim -- and some (such as the charger) still cost extra.

Under the Hood

Both of the Buick's engines are so small they need a boost -- literally.

Turbocharging breathes four-cylinder power (137 horsepower) into the standard 1.2-liter engine and 155 horsepower into the optional 1.3-liter engine.

 

The transmission you get depends on which drive configuration you select.

The standard 1.2-liter engine is automatically paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive only. The optional 1.3-liter engine is available with a nine-speed automatic transmission, if you select all-wheel drive.

If you stick with front-wheel drive, this engine is paired with the continuously variable automatic.

Mileage with either engine isn't as high as you might expect given the smallness of these engines. The 1.2-liter engine in front-wheel-drive configuration returns 28 mpg city, 31 mpg highway. With the slightly larger 1.3-liter engine and all-wheel drive, the number drops to 26 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.

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