General Motors is recommending that dealers order the Preferred trim level of the 2021 Buick Encore fitted with no – or at least minimal – options.
Based on documents seen by GM Authority, the three build configurations being suggested to dealers by GM are as follows:
- No options
- Remote Start
- Remote Start and Safety Package
Though both the Buick Encore and the larger Encore GX fit into the subcompact crossover space, two two are substantially different vehicles. The Encore was introduced for the 2013 model year, is based on the GM Gamma 2 platform and is sold only with the turbocharged 1.4L I4 LUV Ecotec gasoline engine rated at 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
By comparison, the Encore GX made its debut much more recently, for the 2020 model year. It is built on the more modern GM VSS-F vehicle set platform and is offered with a choice of the turbocharged 1.2L I3 LIH engine, which produces 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, or the turbocharged 1.3L I3 L3T motor, which makes 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque.
The Encore GX is slightly larger and more practical, with a cargo capacity of 50.2 cubic feet compared with the Encore’s 48.4 cubic feet.
Despite the greater apparent appeal of the Encore GX, GM’s strategy calls for selling both models at the same time, at least for now. The ordering suggestion seems to be a way of protecting the Buick Encore from the GX model by ensuring that it is available at a lower price. This ties in with a recent price reduction for the Buick Encore Preferred AWD, which earlier this year cost the same as the equivalent Encore GX at $27,095. Following the price drop, the Encore is now $880 cheaper at $26,215.
Aside from the threat posed by the Encore GX, the Buick Encore is no longer the sales leader it once was. As reported by GM Authority earlier this month, Encore sales in Q3 of 2020 were down by 52 percent in the U.S., 28 percent in Canada and 40 percent in Mexico compared with the same period in 2019. In the U.S., the Encore dropped from 4th to 11th place in the mainstream subcompact crossover sector during Q3, and from 3rd to 8th place for the first nine months of the year.
Preferred is the higher of two trim levels in the 2021 Buick Encore range (the other is the base model that’s simply called Encore). It’s the only trim available with AWD, though it’s also available in FWD.