2021 Buick Encore sheds top two trims, offer only Base and Preferred

More price and feature space between it and Encore GX

A few days ago, CarsDirect reported that the 2021 Buick Encore would prune its top two trims, the Sport Touring and Essence variants. Paring those two trims would leave the Base and the Preferred, creating larger price and amenities differences between the stalwart Encore and the new, larger, nicer Encore GX. It turns out the change has already gone into effect for the 2020 model year, as shown in Encore's Build & Price page at the brand's web site. Now the only trims available are the 1SV and Preferred.

The prices for these trims won't change for next year, either. The Encore will start at $24,195 after a $995 destination charge, and now topping out at $26,215 for the all-wheel drive Preferred model. Previously, the Essence AWD established the top of the hill at $31,795. The move eliminates almost all of the MSRP overlap with the Encore GX, which ranges from $25,195 to $31,595.

There will be less feature overlap, too. The now-dead Encore trims opened the door to proper luxury amenities like LED headlights, leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and an auto dimming rear-view mirror. The amenities available on the Preferred are limited to floor mats and accessories, save for the $495 Safety Package that adds Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert, and the $300 Remote Start. The Encore GX comes in three trims, Preferred, Select, and Essence, and "Leather-appointed seating" doesn't appear until the top-dollar Essence trim for $29,495 in FWD fettle. 

The closest the Encore and Encore GX will get to one another is in engine output. The smaller crossover comes only with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The Encore GX offers two engines depending on powertrain. A 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with 137 hp and 166 lb-ft comes solely with front-wheel drive, and a 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with 155 hp and 174 lb-ft is available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

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