By Nanci Dixon
Last week I wrote that I am still looking for a tow car to “Wow!” me. If you’ve been following along, you know my requirements and what I’m looking for. This week, I decided to take a look at the Buick Encore GX AWD.
First, I made a mistake and thought one Buick Encore was the same as any other Buick Encore, and so test drove the Buick Encore. Whoops, my bad. That one is not flat towable. The 2020 Buick Encore GX AWD is entirely separate from the original Encore. Glad I didn’t fall in love. But I actually didn’t like that Encore. It was smaller than I wanted, didn’t have many bells and whistles, and the ride was rough. It was zippy though. No issues up the on-ramp or merging on the interstate.
The Buick Encore GX AWD is flat towable. It must be an all-wheel-drive (AWD), not a front-wheel-drive (FWD), vehicle to be flat towable. Page 375 of the owner’s manual confirms that, and gives seven easy steps to flat tow behind an RV. Great! After following the steps to put the car in neutral, the only other thing to do is disconnect the negative battery cable and insulate the cable. I am thinking that there must be a switch that would do the same disconnect…
The AWD Encore has two engines available. The standard engine is a 1.2L turbocharged three-cylinder, providing 137 hp. The larger AWD 1.3L turbo comes in at 155 hp @ 5600 rpm. It goes from 0 to 60 in 9.4 seconds and should zip up any interstate on-ramp. That is one of my criteria, along with good passing ability. Curb weight is 4,409 pounds.
I did test drive the Chevrolet Trailblazer and was disappointed in the power and shifting on the 1.2L engine. The Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX both come standard with the 1.2L 3-cylinder engine. There is an optional 1.3L turbo available on the Buick Encore GX and that should have more power.
The Encore GX AWD starts at $27,195 MSRP; but after adding the trim level and all the options I could possibly want, it came in at $34,690 MSRP. Gas mileage comes in at 26 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The options included GPS, sunroof (another must for me), adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, collision alert, following distance indicator, surround vision, rear camera mirror, rear camera mirror washer, automatic Rainsense™ wipers, body-colored rocker panels, sport numbers, power lift gate, lane detection – and, yes, it parks itself!
I actually like a boxier, more unique look than the Encore, but I’m willing to make some compromises. I do like the interior though. I used the build-it tool on the website and was actually getting pretty excited about it until I found that not one vehicle with my choices exists in the United States. I did find one that has 12 of my 18 choices and is only 500 miles away, though…
Guess I won’t be test driving that one anytime soon. Actually, being in Arizona with the most positive COVID cases in the world, I will wait for a vaccine or numbers to go down dramatically before I test drive another car. My goal for a new car is my birthday in March, but I am pretty picky…
Update: I just learned about a current recall on some Buick Encore GX vehicles. You can read about it here.
Does anyone flat tow the Buick Encore GX AWD? If so, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.