2021 Buick Encore GX vs. 2021 Chevrolet Trax

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/26

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Encore GX are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Trax doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Encore GX has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Trax doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Encore GX’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Trax doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Encore GX Select/Essence offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Trax only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Encore GX and the Trax have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Reliability

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From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 7 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder produces 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 148) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder produces 17 more horsepower (155 vs. 138) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (174 vs. 148) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Encore GX gets better fuel mileage than the Trax:

Encore GX

Trax

2WD

1.3 turbo 3 cyl./Auto

30 city/32 hwy

26 city/31 hwy

1.4 4 cyl./Auto

1.2 turbo 3 cyl./Auto

28 city/31 hwy

n/a

4WD

1.3 turbo 3 cyl./9-spd Auto

26 city/29 hwy

24 city/29 hwy

1.4 4 cyl./Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the Encore GX’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Trax doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Encore GX’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Trax doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Encore GX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Trax doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Buick Encore GX higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Trax (5). This means the Encore GX produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Trax every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Encore GX 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder AWD, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Trax.

The Encore GX has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Trax doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Buick Encore GX has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Rear drums are standard on the Trax. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Encore GX has larger tires than the Trax (225/55R18 vs. 205/70R16). The Encore GX’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Trax (225/55R18 vs. 215/55R18).

The Encore GX’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Trax’s standard 70 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore GX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Trax.

The Encore GX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Trax doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Encore GX’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Trax (102.2 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Encore GX is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Trax.

For greater off-road capability the Encore GX has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Trax (7.5 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Encore GX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Encore GX uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Trax doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Encore GX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Trax doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Encore GX has .1 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Trax.

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore GX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Trax with its rear seat up (23.5 vs. 18.7 cubic feet). The Encore GX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Trax with its rear seat folded (50.2 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Encore GX’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Trax doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

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The Encore GX has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Trax has no towing capacity.

The Encore GX AWD can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Encore GX can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Trax can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 12% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Encore GX Essence, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The Trax doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Encore GX Essence’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Trax doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Encore GX Select/Essence offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Trax doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Encore GX’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Trax has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Encore GX’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Trax doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Encore GX’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Trax doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Encore GX Essence’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Trax’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Encore GX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Encore GX has standard extendable sun visors. The Trax doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Encore GX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Trax LT.

When the Encore GX Essence is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Trax’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Encore GX Essence’s standard rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Trax doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

On extremely cold winter days, the Encore GX Essence’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Trax doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Encore GX Select/Essence’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Trax doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Encore GX Select/Essence’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Encore GX offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Trax doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Encore GX Select/Essence’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Trax’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

With standard voice command, the Encore GX offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Trax doesn’t offer a voice control system.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Buick Encore GX Essence offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Trax doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Encore GX Essence’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Trax doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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