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Buick Encore GX is the latest exercise in brand's 'white space' motif

Not too big, not too small: The Encore GX is meant to split the difference.

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The ST trim gets a little racier, but just a little.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Following a quick and lightly detailed online reveal this past May, the Buick Encore GX makes its official debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show this week. And now, we have some more details surrounding the latest Buick crossover.

Meant to the "just right" model between the long-running Encore and the larger Envision, the Encore GX should perform the duty mighty well. If the Buick badge isn't for you, know Chevy has its own version coming that reinstates the Trailblazer nameplate. Back to Buick, the brand thinks giving buyers the right choices is the strategy here.

Thus, there's five more cubic feet of cargo space inside the Encore GX over the smaller Encore, though three fewer cubic feet than an Envision for 25.3 cubic feet of space behind the second row. In the hatchback area, there's a two-stage loading floor, which gives owners the option to stuff for stuff under the floor. The seats also fold totally flat to accommodate any items measuring 8 feet long diagonally.

Is it a looker? Eh, it's not too bad. It's far more shapely than the regular Encore and an optional Sport Touring pack will spice things up with body-color surrounds, red accents and a black mesh grille. It pulls more from the Enclave and Regal than Envision and Encore, which is a good thing in my book.

On the powertrain side of things, there'll be two choices. The first is a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine and the second is an ever-so-slightly larger 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine. For the smaller engine, it'll make 137 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque, and the 1.3-liter will make 155 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Those similar power figures are also close to the standard Encore's 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, but there's more torque on tap. Buick told Roadshow it expects the Encore GX to be more efficient than its smaller sibling, despite its larger size. Look for the 1.3-liter engine to be only a few hundred dollars more.

Front-wheel drive is standard, but both engine choices will offer an all-wheel drive option. Also standard is a CVT. For those that want the power and the traction, an Encore GX with the 1.3-liter engine and AWD gets a nine-speed automatic transmission. The brand also didn't specify fuel economy figures, but it estimates one powertrain combo will return up to 31 miles per gallon. EPA estimates aren't available just yet.

Yep, that's a Buick.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Regardless, any Encore GX with AWD will have a toggle switch to put the crossover into a FWD mode when drivers want to prioritize fuel economy over traction.

If anything, the Buick Encore GX breaks the mold in one area for GM: active safety technology. It's one of the first GM vehicles that will include the type of gear as standard equipment. Specifically, buyers will find automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist and more standard.

There will still be optional gear, too, such as rear-cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, adaptive cruise control, lane change alert with blind spot monitoring and the nifty rear camera mirror. The last option can flick between a camera feed or a traditional rearview mirror.

We'll see this Goldilocks of a crossover park itself at dealers in early 2020.

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