|8"||Standard Infotainment Screen||7"|
|18.8||Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||18.7|
The 2020 Buick Encore and 2020 Chevy Trax are a pair of closely related subcompact SUVs from GMC. These two vehicles share the same platform and powertrain, meaning that many of their paper specifications are the same. From horsepower to headroom, to cargo space, there is no meaningfully significant difference between the 2020 Buick Encore and the 2020 Chevy Trax. However, claiming that these two SUVs are identical could not be further from the truth. A detailed side by side comparison of the 2020 Buick Encore vs 2020 Chevy Trax will reveal countless differences ranging from styling, to material quality, to feature set.
Across the board, the 2020 Buick Encore stands out from the 2020 Chevy Trax and fully lives up to the Buick reputation for building more refined vehicles that possess a higher level of comfort and luxury. The 2020 Buick Encore cuts no corners, and that pays off with a quieter cabin, more comprehensive infotainment technology, and even higher quality brakes. Altogether, it is clear that the 2020 Chevy Trax is the stripped-down economy version of these two SUVs. However, only the base trim of the 2020 Chevy Trax is actually cheaper, which means that the 2020 Buick Encore is the better value vehicle on top of being the better vehicle overall.
When it comes to comparing the engineering of the 2020 Buick Encore vs the 2020 Chevy Trax, the two SUVs are similar in most respects but have a few subtle differences that are worth considering. The engine in both vehicles is a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. While not a particularly high number, this is more than sufficient for comfortable driving, given the relatively small size of these two vehicles.
Both the 2020 Buick Encore and the 2020 Chevy Trax make use of a traditional six-speed automatic transmission that has the option to manually select gears when desired. And while a six-speed transmission may no longer be state of the art, it is a step above the continuously variable transmissions found in many other subcompact SUVs. Finally, as befits an SUV, both the 2020 Buick Encore and the 2020 Chevy Trax are available with all-wheel drive. This is a simple full-time system that engages automatically when it senses wheel slip, providing additional traction on slick surfaces without demanding driver input.
When it comes to the engineering differences between the two, the 2020 Chevy Trax does have a small advantage in fuel economy as it is rated for 28 miles per gallon combined, while the 2020 Buick Encore is rated for 27 miles per gallon combined. However, this difference is virtually unnoticeable in the real world, and it only applies to the front-wheel drive versions of these SUVs. The rated fuel economy for the all-wheel drive variants stands at 26 miles per gallon for both the 2020 Chevy Trax and the 2020 Buick Encore.
Much more significantly, the front-wheel drive versions of the 2020 Chevy Trax are equipped with cheaper but less effective rear drum brakes, while every version of the 2020 Buick Encore has four-wheel disc brakes. Disc brakes are much better at shedding heat during prolonged use, and they do not lose stopping power in inclement weather, making them a noticeable step up in vehicle safety, which ultimately makes the Encore the superior vehicle.
In terms of physical dimensions, the 2020 Buick Encore and 2020 Chevy Trax are nearly identical. They both offer almost 40 inches of headroom and nearly 36 inches of rear legroom, giving them a surprisingly roomier interior considering their compact exterior dimensions. And despite their small size, they fully live up to the utility expected of an SUV and can fit up to 48.8 cu.ft. of cargo when their rear seats are folded down.
And for transporting unusually large items, they can even have their front passenger seat fold down to create even more cargo space. However, when all of their seats are upright, the 2020 Buick Encore does have a small advantage in cargo space, as it is able to fit 18.8 cu.ft. while the 2020 Chevy Trax maxes out at 18.7 cu.ft. Still, this advantage is barely noticeable in practice, leaving the two SUVs evenly matched.
Even though their paper dimensions are virtually identical, their styling and features are quite different. This is instantly apparent from a simple look at the exterior of the two SUVs. The 2020 Buick Encore possesses an upscale look with better-coordinated lines and a stylish chrome grille, while the 2020 Chevy Trax has a more basic look. Further, all trims of the 2020 Buick Encore come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daylight running lights, deep-tinted glass, a collection of features that are only found on the highest trim of the 2020 Chevy Trax. Not only do these touches further improve the looks of the 2020 Buick Encore, but they also provide a real benefit to handling and comfort.
A comparison of the interior design of these two SUVs follows a similar pattern, with the cabin of the 2020 Buick Encore displaying a greater level of style, material quality, and features. In terms of looks, this includes an elegant asymmetric dash with flowing lines, two-tone door paneling, and a more understated combination of chrome trim and gloss black. But looks are only the smallest advantage of the 2020 Buick Encore. This SUV also comes with a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather gear shift boot, and a cleaner and more modern instrument cluster.
This last point is particularly important, as, in addition to looking good, the instrument cluster in the 2020 Buick Encore provides the driver with more information in an easier to understand format. Where the 2020 Chevy Trax has a superimposed speedometer and tachometer with an offset 3.5-inch black and white screen, the 2020 Buick Encore has a side by side analog speedometer and tachometer with a center-mounted 4.2-inch full-color screen and separate gauges for fuel level and engine temperature. And with all of that, the Encore's stylings are better than those of the Trax.
From basic luxuries to advanced technologies, the 2020 Buick Encore has the advantage over the 2020 Chevy Trax. While the top trims of the two vehicles are relatively close, the 2020 Buick Encore has far more standard features that are missing from the lower trims of the 2020 Chevy Trax. Among these features are everything from major items such as a power-adjustable driver’s seat and keyless entry with push-button start to small details such as a one-touch passenger side power window and heated side mirrors.
And in addition to these fairly obvious differences in equipment, the 2020 Buick Encore also has the subtle advantage of reduced road noise thanks to a combination of active noise cancellation and Buick’s signature QuietTune technologies. And while this advantage may not be immediately noticeable, it can make long drives much more bearable. When combined with Buick’s higher level of material quality, these differences make the 2020 Buick Encore a noticeably more comfortable vehicle than the 2020 Chevy Trax.
The difference in technology also immediately stands out after sitting in the cabins of these two SUVs. While the 2020 Chevy Trax makes use of a 7-inch infotainment touch screen and rudimentary instrument cluster display, the 2020 Buick Encore has a larger 8-inch touch screen and a second full-color screen located between the speedometer and tachometer. And while the infotainment software in both SUVs supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration, only the 2020 Buick Encore has Siri EyeFree natural voice recognition.
Further, every trim of the 2020 Buick Encore comes standard with SiriusXM satellite radio for dozens of channels of on the go entertainment, while this feature is missing from the lowest trim of the 2020 Chevy Trax. So while the 2020 Chevy Trax does pull ahead in some areas, such as its available seven-speaker Bose premium audio system, overall, the 2020 Buick Encore is undeniably the higher-tech vehicle.