It was time to replace my 2016 Volkswagen Passat SE, which had almost 100,000 miles after nearly eight years of dependable service. Car manufacturers typically design vehicles with a lifespan of around ten years or 100,000 miles. I decided to replace the VW due to the high mileage (94,000) and the car’s decreasing value. I questioned how much longer I could continue driving it without spending a significant amount of money on repairs to keep it roadworthy. In addition to several mechanical issues requiring attention, the car also developed a new problem of oil consumption which concerned me.

So, I needed a new daily driver. The ideal vehicle would be neither too small nor too large, economical to operate, not electric, and would have heated seats for my wife’s comfort. My criteria were comfort, convenience, utilitarianism and, most importantly, passing the “cute” test set by my wife.

Say Hello to Billy

We found a vehicle that met all of our requirements in a Moonstone Gray 2024 Buick Encore GX ST that we named “Billy”. This isn’t your typical golf course retirement community Buick. The newly redesigned Encore is a youthful stylish small SUV with tech-savvy features that aims to cater to daily commuters and urban dwellers. But does it truly deliver as a practical daily driver? Let’s dive into the details with a bullet-point breakdown.

I’ve driven the SUV now for roughly 500 miles in my first two weeks of ownership. Here are my findings thus far.


  • Fuel Efficiency: One of the standout features is its fuel efficiency. With its 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, it boasts impressive EPA-estimated fuel economy figures, making it a budget-friendly option for daily commutes. I’ve averaged 32mpg commuting to work thus far, equaling my Passat.
  • Compact Size and Maneuverability: Its compact dimensions (short wheel base) make it a breeze to maneuver in tight city streets and parking spaces. Parallel parking or navigating crowded lots becomes less of a hassle.
  • Tech-Savvy Interior: The Encore GX ST comes equipped with a modern infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a user-friendly interface. Staying connected and entertained on the go is seamless.
  • Safety Features: Buick prioritizes safety, and the Encore GX ST comes standard with several advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and a rearview camera. This adds peace of mind during daily drives.
  • Comfortable Ride: The suspension is tuned for comfort, absorbing bumps and road imperfections well. This makes for a pleasant ride, even on longer commutes.
  • Cargo Space: Despite its compact size, the Encore GX ST offers a decent amount of cargo space, especially with the rear seats folded down. It can accommodate groceries, luggage, or even a small bicycle.


  • Limited Power: While the turbocharged engine offers decent fuel economy, it might feel underpowered for those seeking a thrilling driving experience. Acceleration and highway merges might require more effort. This is not a sports car. It’s a daily driver and get-around town car that provides decent room for groceries and shopping hauls.
  • Small Back Seat: The rear seats will feel cramped for taller passengers, especially on longer trips. Legroom and headroom are somewhat limited, so if you’re going to be hauling people often – you’ll want a larger vehicle.
  • Noisy Cabin: Some road and wind noise might be noticeable, particularly at highway speeds. This can detract from the overall refinement of the driving experience. I was disappointed by this aspect, as I had expected an experience similar to that found in the larger Enclave – which is exceptionally queit.
  • Limited Visibility: The sloping roofline and thick rear pillars can create blind spots, making it essential to rely on the rearview camera and mirrors when changing lanes or parking in reverse.
  • Cargo Capacity: While adequate for daily needs, the cargo space might feel limited for those who frequently carry larger items or travel with a lot of luggage. But then again, the back seats are not all that useful so leaving them down is an option.
  • Canine Comfort – Small dogs will welcome being in the back seat. But a very large 125lb Labrador named Gus didn’t enjoy the fact that he had to duck in the back seat when sitting like a good boy in his spot. If you have a large dog, you’ll need a larger vehicle with more headroom, or upside Cargo capacity.

Overall Verdict:

The 2024 Buick Encore GX ST proves to be a capable and practical daily driver for those who prioritize fuel efficiency, technology, and comfort. Its compact size and maneuverability make it ideal for city dwellers, while its safety features provide peace of mind. However, those seeking a powerful or spacious SUV might need to look elsewhere.

Ultimately, whether the Encore GX ST is the right fit for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. Consider your daily driving habits, passenger and cargo requirements, and desired level of performance before making a decision. A test drive is always recommended to get a feel for the vehicle and ensure it meets your expectations.

Additional Considerations:

  • Trim Levels: The Encore GX is available in different trim levels, each offering varying features and options. Explore the available trims to find one that suits your budget and desired features. We chose the ST (sport touring) trim with it’s sporty and youthful look.
  • Competitors: If you think that you’re still in the market for a small SUV, be sure to compare the Encore GX with other available small SUVs.

By carefully considering these pros, cons, and additional factors that may be important to you, you can make an informed decision about whether the 2024 Buick Encore GX is the right daily driver for you. The fact that we have a larger vehicle available when needed mitigated the cons for our decision. We stuck to our needs – a slightly larger, versatile, economical, practical utilitarian small SUV that met our requirements. Bottom line – it’s “cute” – and that’s good enough for my wife.

And despite the small anemic engine, it’s still fun to drive. We’re happy with our purchase thus far.

Stay tuned for further updates.