2024 Buick Encore GX ST Review: First Drive

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee
For 2024 Buick is dropping the standard Encore model and keeping only the GX version. And that model gets a host of important upgrades.


Engine: 1.3-liter turbo I3
Output: 155 hp, 174 lb-ft.
Transmission: 9AT, AWD
Fuel Economy (MPG): 26/28 (city/hwy)
Starting Price (USD): $28,190 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (USD): $34,875 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $31,649 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (CAD): $35,299+ (inc. dest.)

Buick’s small SUV nomenclature has been a bit confusing of late. But this year it all becomes clearer.

No longer will there be a Buick Encore and a Buick Encore GX. The former has been put to pasture. It’s replaced by a much different, better positioned model in the Envista. The bigger GX will now be the only bearer of the Encore name, and for the 2024 model year, it has been heavily revised.

What's New for 2024

For 2024, the Buick Encore GX will continue to come in three trims. Only the entry level remains the same, still labelled the Preferred. Mid-level versions of the vehicle are now called Sport Touring (ST), and top-of-the-line models get the full Avenir treatment.

As before, all three trims can be had in the United States with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Canadian customers can only get the Preferred with front-wheel drive as the ST and Avenir come all-wheel drive only.

Exterior Style: New Family Face

A blacked-out mesh grille surrounded by chrome on our Encore GX ST tester.

As this is just a refresh and not an all-new model, the tall, upright dimensions of the 2024 Buick Encore GX remain the same as the 2023 model. Overall length is 171.4-inches (4,534 mm) and height is measured at 64.1-inches (1629 mm).

What has changed is the exterior looks. The vehicle has a fresh front fascia, giving consumers a taste of Buick’s new styling direction. The grille is lower and no longer sports the Buick badge. The brand’s new logo is now placed on the body between a pair of thin, upside-down-checkmark running lights. The actual headlights are now stand-alone units positioned beside the grille.

Behind the rear hatch lies 23.5 cu ft of trunk space, which grows to 50.2 cu ft with the rear seats folded flat. That's less space than you'd expect, due in part to the high level of the floor.

In the rear, the styling updates are less dramatic, with the new logo and Buick badging being the main differences. The ST and Avenir models also wear standard LED taillights.

SEE ALSO: 2024 Buick Encore GX Debuts New Brand Design Language, Adds Avenir Trim

Overall, we prefer the new styling of the 2024 Buick Encore GX. It will not be for everyone and is a bit over the top in some areas, but it has personality and flair. It seems right for the target demographic.

2024 Buick Encore GX ST

Plenty of pollen coats the jut-out taillights on our Sport Touring (ST) trim level tester.

For our first drive, we are in a 2024 Buick Encore GX ST. As mentioned, the ST is the mid-level trim in the vehicle lineup and is easily identifiable thanks to black exterior trim, black wheels, and chrome grille surround.

The new Encore GX starts at $28,190 (all prices include destination) in the United States, or $31,649 in Canada. The ST raises that amount to $29,885 for front-wheel drive models in America, while the all-wheel drive Canadian model lists for $35,299.

Buick's updated badge is starting to be seen on roads a lot more as the brand's sales grow.

Our specific tester is an all-wheel drive model with the Cold Weather Comfort and Experience Buick packages, and Power Liftgate option. This puts it at a price of $34,875 for American consumers. In Canada, pricing for these packages are yet to be released, but should be in the coming months.

Of course, a premium SUV would be remiss to not include the latest safety. Standard on all trims of the Encore GX is automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, automatic high beams, blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, and more.

Interior Style and Quality

The mid-trim ST model shown here has features like wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay, a digital gauge cluster, and a large 11-inch infotainment screen.

Inside, there is a mix of premium materials and features, while some are held back for the pricier Avenir trim. The ST comes with niceties like wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay, a full digital gauge cluster, and an easy to operate 11-inch infotainment screen. Both the digital cluster and infotainment screen are housed behind a one-piece cover. Oh, and this being a sporty vehicle, there is of course a flat bottom steering wheel.

The ST has leatherette seating surfaces and the cold weather package adds heat to the front seats as well as power for the driver. Other features included in this package are a heated steering wheel, remote engine start, a fold-flat front passenger seat, and a rear seat center armrest. The Experience Buick further upgrades the Encore GX with 19-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic moonroof.

In the United States, the ST includes the automatic dual-zone climate control. In Canada though, it’s a single zone, manually operated climate-control; only the Avenir has the dual-zone climate control.

We rate the general look of Encore GX’s interior as above average. Nothing more, nothing less. Designers have done their best with soft touch, premium looking materials in most places. I am in a mid-trim vehicle only, so there are obviously some missing touches found in the more expensive Avenir. As it is, the ST’s interior fits the vehicle’s price-point and premium small SUV feel.

Still Surprisingly Spacious

Rear seat space is better in real life than the on-paper numbers would suggest.

With such small exterior dimensions, it’s easy to discount the amount of room inside. Up front, headroom is listed at 37.9-inches (963 mm) while legroom is touted to offer 40.9-inches (1039 mm). Despite the somewhat limited headroom numbers, our six-foot tall tester finds good comfort and a nice driving position in the driver’s seat. The dashboard and door sills are a bit high though, so some shorter drivers may find this to be an issue. Rearward sight-lines are decent, with no glaring blindspots.

Rear seat occupants receive a bit more headroom, with 38.0-inches (965 mm) available. Legroom is a bit smaller, with only 36.0-inch (915 mm) on tap. Despite these numbers, we find the opposite to be true when sitting in the rear row. There’s plenty of real-world legroom for most adult passengers. Those with taller torsos though will run out of headroom. Still, the back seats are a decent space for an adult on short to medium trips.

Cargo capacity is a useable 23.5 cu ft (665 L) behind rear seat, but only grows to 50.2 cu ft (1,421 L) when those seats are folded. We find the load floor is a bit high too.

Powertrain and Efficiency

Two engine options on the Buick Encore GX are available, both of which are tiny but sufficiently powerful.

Power the 2024 Buick Encore GX ST continues to be a choice of turbocharged three-cylinder engines. Front-wheel drive models get a 1.2-liter unit making 137 hp and 162 lb-ft. This engine pairs exclusively to a continuously variable automatic transmission.

SEE ALSO: Buick Encore vs Encore GX: Which Buick Compact SUV is Right for You?

All-wheel drive models, like the one we’re driving, get a slightly larger 1.3-liter engine. Despite a minimal increase in displacement, power gets a healthy increase to 155 hp, and 174 lb-ft. Just as important, there’s also an upgrade in transmissions to a smooth nine-speed automatic. Oh, and it can tow 1,000 lbs.

Handling and Drivability

All versions of the Encore GX come equipped with 18-inch wheels and 225/55R18 tires.

The 1.3-liter engine is torquey around town. There’s plenty of low-end power from the three-cylinder as the turbocharger does well to make up for the small engine size. It has a somewhat diesel growl to it as it goes about its business, revving with unexpected haste.

At highway speeds things become less urgent. The vehicle’s mass and aerodynamics hinder the engines meager output, and acceleration becomes merely adequate. Can it keep up and merge well with traffic? Yes. But don’t expect any extra haste at freeway speeds.

Fuel economy figures seem a bit low for a subcompact SUV with a small displacement three-cylinder engine. Officially, the all-wheel drive 2024 Buick Encore GX ST is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Canadian fuel economy figures have not been released at this time.

Ride Quality and Comfort

Buick has made significant changes in the design department as of late, including with headlights like these angular slits on the 2024 Encore GX.

The vehicle’s suspension tuning is on the softer side, to help compensate for the inherent choppiness of such a short wheelbase. In the city the Encore GX really smooths out small potholes and broken pavement. Even when hitting larger expansion joints on the freeway, the suspension never crashes down. There’s just a pronounced bounce that’s well controlled in the rebound.

SEE ALSO: 2024 Buick Envista Looks to Entice Sedan Owners

Part of this can be attributed to the Watts link rear suspension that comes standard on all-wheel drive vehicles. And while on the topic of all-wheel drive, like most small General Motors SUVs, the Encore GX has a switch that can put the vehicle into front-wheel-drive-only to save fuel during clear summery day.

Sure-Footed Enough

Buick has made sure that with sufficient sidewall and a softly sprung suspension, the Encore GX retains a comfortable ride.

With the Experience Buick package, the Encore GX ST receives 245/45R19 tires, which are quite aggressive for this type of vehicle. Although the suspension is set up on the softer side, these wide, low-profile tires do provide plenty of grip.

In fact, with a curb weight of 3,258 lbs. (1478 kg) and that short wheelbase, there’s more agility to be had than expected. That’s not to say this is a highly responsive, engaging, or necessarily fun-to-drive vehicle. But when grip is needed, there’s plenty on tap for most situations that will be encountered daily.

SEE ALSO: Buick Envision First Look

Another surprise has to do with the Encore GX’s brakes. The pedal is very firm and responsive. The vehicle feels ready to stop at a moment’s notice, a reassuring touch for drivers.

2024 Buick Encore GX ST: The Verdict

Buick Encore GX ST trim level models like our tester come equipped with black accents as well as the 18-inch black wheels seen here.

The Encore GX remains the second most affordable vehicle in Buick’s portfolio. But it’s now the brand’s entry point for more traditional SUV buyers. Should consumers looking for something a bit more upscale, but at a somewhat reasonable price consider it?

We think the new 2024 Buick Encore GX ST is worth a look. With its refresh, there’s just enough upscale touches, sound deadening material, and premium driving experience to set it apart from more mainstream subcompact SUVs.


What does ST mean on Buick Encore GX?

It stands for Sport Touring and is the middle trim in the Encore GX lineup.

Where is the 2024 Buick Encore GX built?

The refreshed 2024 Buick Encore GX is built at General Motors plant in Korea.

How much horsepower does the Encore GX ST have?

The ST uses the 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that makes 155 hp.

What type of gas does the Buick Encore GX take?

Premium fuel is not required for the Encore GX

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  • Smooth Ride
  • Surprising Interior Space
  • Brake Feel


  • Fuel Economy
  • Highway Acceleration
  • High Load Floor

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Michael Anderson Michael Anderson on Apr 23, 2023

    I thinking about the 2024 Buick Encore GX All Wheel Drive Avenir model. Could you send me some more details

  • Dosuf Reality Dosuf Reality on May 01, 2023

    Had been considering the encore gx for some time as a replacement for our daughter's "trainer" car which has been sacrificed to the usual indignities of a newly licensed teenager. Inventories had been non existent and prices continue to be disconnected from reality considering its a sub-kia level Korean import with a ridiculously small engine, yet upon seeing the horrific face-lift for 24, I pulled the trigger and grabbed a 23. I suppose I should not be surprised but I nevertheless am amazed at GMs ability to destroy the harmony of a design with their cheapskate approach to the MidCycle 'enhancement'. Seems to happen every time. They toss on a new fascia and headlights and the result is either unnoticeable or hideous. I cannot recall the last time I saw an improvement. Why do they waste the money just to damage the brand? Similarly, how do they continue to get away with jacking prices not by improving the product but instead by introducing an even worse alternative to sit below it? The envista is embarrassingly ugly and totally irrelevant in many markets without available awd, yet because it exists we are expected to pay more for the encore? The encore would be compelling at $22k with cloth and awd. It is downright nuts to consider paying $35k for such a tin can when outstanding used German cuvs can be had for such money. Frankly, given the diminutive cargo capacity of the encore, any of a number of excellent sedans could fill the same role. Drive an amazing Audi for less than this bargain basement buick.