Spied: The 2020 Buick Encore You've Been Waiting For

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
spied the 2020 buick encore youve been waiting for

Buick’s pint-sized Encore is the brand’s biggest volume generator, accounting for 44 percent of all U.S. Buick sales in the first half of 2018. While hard to imagine for those who just stepped out of the time machine from 1975 (just think if the Skylark was the model holding up the brand), it’s nonetheless a reality we have to live with. Crossovers are king, and crossovers are what’s keeping Buick alive.

The division no doubt wants to keep it that way, which is why there’s an all-new Encore coming for the 2020 model year. Here’s our first glimpse.

While the camouflage is thick with this one, the next-gen Encore carries proportions similar to its strong-selling Korean predecessor. It didn’t morph overnight into a lengthy midsizer, though its dimensions will surely see a slight increase — especially if General Motors ditches the Gamma-2 platform for upgraded bones. There’s a new platform, dubbed VSS-S, under development for front-drive, unibody crossovers, and this camouflaged model does seem a little wider than the outgoing Encore.

We can clearly see Buick’s signature grille peeking through the camo, looking much like the current, refreshed Encore’s, though a little broader. It actually comes across looking more like the Enclave’s grille.

Besides that, the Encore keeps the recipe intact. It does appear more angular than before, though until those bandages come off, we won’t know to what extent.

Beneath that short hood almost certainly resides a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, mated to either the existing six-speed automatic or perhaps GM’s nine-speed unit. Current Encore customers willing to shell out extra dough can get their hands on the second-generation 1.4L engine, which adopts direct injection and a smidgen of extra displacement to make 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. That’s a considerable improvement over the standard 138 hp, 148 lb-ft motor.

It remains to be seen whether the GM kicks the first-gen engine to the curb between now and the new Encore’s debut. While one of its users, the Chevrolet Sonic, seems not long for this world, it also finds a home in the Encore’s lower-priced Trax twin. Given its status among the two subcompact crossovers, GM might see fit to add additional power to its Buick offering.

Expect to see the 2020 Encore show up at this winter’s auto show circuit, ahead of its 2019 launch.

[Images: Brian Williams/Spiedbilde]

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  • Geozinger Geozinger on Aug 15, 2018

    I get that there's a lot of residual anger due to the Great Financial Crisis and years of brand debasement, but the vehicle stands on it's own merits, as modest as they may be. However, there's a certain undertone of derision with folks who most likely have only ever seen one of the cars, much less actually driven or owned one for any length of time. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; it's a semi-free country. I get it. But there's a reason why I don't consider the "Best and Brightest" moniker a compliment, and it's comments sections like the above that prove my point. The usual suspects, spouting the usual drivel accompanying the usual snark. Much heat, but no light. I don't expect a Family Feud-style "Good Answer!" kind of mindless agreement with the post, but man, some of this stuff gets old.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Aug 15, 2018

    How did a model called the "Encore" not start on at least its 2nd generation?

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.