An upgrade, but still clearly value-oriented. The Buick Encore GX's refreshed look is sharp with slim LED headlights, deeply sculpted body panels, and other upgrades. Plus, the cabin boasts some sharp interior upgrades, but it still has plenty o hard plastic to remind you of its crammed in the no man's land between mainstream and luxury.

Making matters worse, its key mainstream rival, the Hyundai Tucson, boasts a bolder look that stands out in a crowd. Plus, its cabin feels more exciting, though it does not lack in hard plastic either. However, for those who find the Tucson a little too stylish, the Encore GX is a great middle ground.

Good top-range performance, but we question the base setup. For less than $500, you can upgrade to the 2022 Buick Encore GX's 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. This injects 155 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque into this lightweight crossover for an eight-second 0-60 time. In the corners, the Encore GX is surprisingly agile, while it remains well-muted on rough roads. Sure, it's not BMW X1 levels of handling and quietness, but it's a step up from mainstream.

We have serious questions about the standard 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, though. We've not tested it yet, but a 137-hp paired to a CVT and front-wheel drive doesn't sound too appealing. Even the Tucson's base 2.5-liter musters up 187 horses. The Encore's entire engine lineup has no match for either the Audi Q3's or BMW X1's 228-hp base engines.

Bigger but still small. The 2022 Buick Encore GX gave the tiny people hauler a much-needed growth spurt. It now offers up to 36 inches of second-row leg room and 50.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded.

That's a definite upgrade, but the seats are still too narrow for larger adults, and the rear leg room falls short of the competition. The Tucson offers up to 41.3 inches of rear legroom, and the X1 offers up to 37 inches.

The X1 and Tucson edge out the Encore GX again with up to 59 cubes and 74.8 cubes of cargo space, respectively.

Final thoughts. The 2022 Buick Encore GX offers shoppers a great upgrade from the smaller and much older looking Encore, but it lags in the face of its competition. Sure, the Encore GX delivers a sharp balance of soft ride and handling, and its looks are fresh, but its rear seats are too tight for a growing family, and its cargo room is just average.

Buyers looking for more size and value will find it in the Tucson. For those seeking more roominess, the X1 and Tucson are good options.

Check 2022 Buick Encore GX Near You »