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2020 Buick Encore GX: When you just need a good, reliable car

Ever been to a bear party and noticed the shy bear in the corner and thought, “Why is no one talking to him? He seems nice enough. Sure is cute. He’s maybe not the most muscular or most popular. I should test drive him and see what he has to offer.”

And there you have this year’s 2020 Buick Encore. This is not the most popular cub at the Highland Games. Not the biggest nor the butchest. Might have a hard time getting noticed. But here are the facts:

It starts at $23,200 US. Mileage is 25 city / 30 highway. Park it anywhere but remember where you parked it because it is just barely 5-foot-5 tall 6-feet wide.

The thing I like about the 2020 Buick Encore is that this is perfect get-around-town car for what you have to get done. There is not much snazz or pizzazz to it, but it is pretty. It is reliable. In the Rocky Mountain cold, it was ready to get up and go, no exceptions. It can get in and out of crowded parking lots where people were going crazy for big holiday orders of ‘whatever’ and were not really paying attention. With the Buick Encore, you don’t really have to pay attention (except when you are driving, please), because it does all that for you.

For a small car (okay – SUV), it has an amazingly quiet ride. Normally, you expect noise because it is relatively cheaply put together. The Buick Encore (officially called the Encore GX) is a well-made vehicle, one in which you can sit and block out the outside world, even if you are in a noisy parking lot. Just crank up the philharmonic, breath in the cinnamon pumpkin pomegranate hotness and pretend you really are a fairy princess.

And if you are not in any way, shape or form an audiophile, Buick (and GM) make their infotainment systems some of the easiest to setup and operate. It should easily, wirelessly pick up your phone and your phone should pick up the Buick signal rather quickly. From there, just confirm a few buttons, and let the holiday magic begin. All your friends can join in on your tech magic. I do believe Mariah Carey released music from her holiday special on Apple TV. Worth a listen, especially in your new car (go ahead and sing along, even with your friends along).

My one comment would be that, as always, if you are a bear of considerable size, get in the Encore and make sure that there is plenty of room for you and all your friends. IMHO there is plenty of room for you and your friends, but I am lousy at on-the-spot measurements, especially in the dark in a motel room after I’ve hit the honor bar. Measure twice, cut once, they always told me, and that’s when I was moved from set design to center stage and I have been happy ever since.

Competitors in this class of subcompact SUVs include the Hyundai Kona and the Mazda CX-3, which are more expensive but are worth a look. Whenever you are considering a new car, always do your homework and consider all your options. And if you go up the trims on the Buick Encore, there are plenty of options, like heated leather seats and sunroof, that can make it worthwhile for you. So, of course, consider that.

Shopping, shopping, shopping. I love this time of year…

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