By on August 7, 2019

gm

Like its Chevrolet division mate, Buick plans to spend the 2020 model year filling white space in its lineup, hauling the tweener Encore GX from overseas to plug the gap between the existing subcompact Encore and the larger Envision. Beneath its hood, however, the Encore GX is anything but larger — at least when displacement is concerned.

Once the Encore GX arrives, the Ford EcoSport won’t be the only domestic crossover available with a three-cylinder engine. In fact, the Encore GX will be the only crossover offered in America with a choice of triples. No four-bangers invited to this party at all.

As chance would have it, your author was perusing a GM fleet order guide sent his way by a reader when a quick-on-its-feet GM Authority published the same details contained within. The info is something of a shock, though it really shouldn’t be. Automakers are getting very skilled in wringing more power out of less displacement.

The order guides point to two engine offerings for U.S.-bound Encore GX models: a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder and a 1.3-liter unit of the same configuration. Power for the smaller mill comes to 137 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, a downgrade of 1 hp from the old 1.4L four-banger found in the Encore, but an upgrade of 18 lb-ft.

gm

That engine carries a “standard turbo” designation in the order guide. The “premium turbo” option makes 155 hp and 174 lb-ft — a 2 hp improvement and 3 lb-ft downgrade from the newer 1.4L engine found in this writer’s 2018 Cruze (and, until recently, available in higher-spec versions of the Encore).

In Chinese-market models the 1.3L makes 162 hp and 177 lb-ft, so American buyers stand to see a slight power downgrade. However, keep in mind that these U.S. figures are manufacturer estimates.

Putting these respectable output figures to the drive wheels are a continuously variable automatic (the sole choice with the 1.2L) or a nine-speed conventional automatic found in all-wheel drive models equipped with the larger of the two engines.

As we’ve told you before, moving up to an Encore GX over its smaller stablemate will mean five additional cubic feet of rear cargo space, a slightly more stylish exterior, and as we’ve found out today, a greater measure of grunt. Production will take place in South Korea, with the vehicle arriving on these shores early next year as a 2020 model.

[Images: General Motors]

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110 Comments on “Cylinder Diet: 2020 Buick Encore GX Brings a Brace of Triples...”


  • avatar
    Kenn

    I thought it had been decided by powertrain engineers a couple of years ago that a displacement of .5 liters-per-cylinder would be most efficient. Now, they’re going even smaller (with turbos dialed-up to compensate). I understand automakers are being forced to produce even minute increases in EPA-rated fuel economy (not necessarily “real world”), and maybe it’s because of my age, but I will always prefer the choice of a larger, more relaxed and under-stressed engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      @ Kenn

      Audi went with that theory and I thought that it was perfect: a 2L four; a 3L six; and a 4L eight. Turbo- and supercharge as desired, add electrons as required. No more, I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      BMW was the company that went on a 500 cc per cylinder jag, in a typical load of BS German arrogance. That was when the dud N20 2.0l turbo was their main engine (2012 to 2016 showing that they still couldn’t design a trouble-free cam drive chain system if they tried — yet again). So the B48 was introduced, another 2.0l turbo, but with different bore and stroke. Anyone who keeps up with engine design knows that it’s the combustion chamber design plus inlet and exhaust that defines thermal efficiency. So changing the bore means the valves are changed, the CC is messed around with and so on. The cylinder might still be 500 cc displacement, but its operating parameters have changed. No way ANY reasonable cylinder size is somehow “correct”, unless your mind is fried from reality for PR reasons.

      And BMW’s V8 is 4.4 liters or 550 cc per cylinder, so what’s up with that? Amazing that the thing even works because it’s not “perfect” sized! And they’ve even started to sell it to JLR – I wonder what their excuses and apologies were to that outfit for not sticking to perfect 500 cc true German perfection?

      When anyone makes an absolutist proclamation on anything, I know I’m reading or hearing horse manure.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Wow, a 1.3! Real American muscle! I can hear Tim Taylor grunting now!

  • avatar
    ajla

    So when are these going into Cadillacs?

  • avatar
    sckid213

    I get Stelvio vibes from the rear of the Encore GX. That’s not a bad thing.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    That’s bad news – I had one of these as a rental last summer, and the last thing it needs is a smaller engine.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      And the Encore GX is actually larger and probably heavier than the current Encore

    • 0 avatar
      A Scientist

      +1
      I took one test drive in an Encore, and two things stood out:
      1) Cheap, chintzy materials inside, unbefitting a Buick (all jokes aside)
      2) WOEFULLY underpowered. The thing couldn’t get out of it’s own way

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It was fine around town, but the lack of power really made itself felt on the Interstate.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        I test drove one of these on my mom’s behalf when she said she wanted a smaller vehicle until she sat in one.

        Agreed it’s fine around town. But if you think the Encore is chintzy, try sitting in one and then get into a Chevy Trax and see if you still feel that way.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          My wife got one of the lower powered pretty base Encores as a service loaner and it made her 2.5 ltr Terrain seem like a rocket ship.

        • 0 avatar
          WildcatMatt

          Also, I’m currently driving a 2004 Civic with crank windows, so clearly my benchmarks are low these days.

          I guess you could make something of there being one cylinder for each segment of the tri-shield?

        • 0 avatar
          A Scientist

          I can accept a Chevy feeling cheap because, after all, it’s a Chevrolet (I’ve driven Chevy’s most of my life FWIW). Buick is at least *supposed* to be more upscale.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is much better looking than the regular Encore. Will be interesting to see if they can tame the typically, well, *assertive* noise of a triple to Buick standards.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I never thought I’d see the day where I’d long for a big ol’ American 4-banger

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Yup, my old Chevy one ton with big block sometimes did bang out almost 4 mpg!

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m sure this will make a Toyota 2.5 ltr seem like a small block V8 circa 1968.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          Agreed. That 2.5 will favorably compare to our old SBC is most every category except sound and overall presence. Let’s face it, nothing really compares to the sound of a healthy cross-plane V8.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Well as someone a while back said, testing a 2.0T Accord against a 3.5V6 Camry would be like a magazine test in the late 60s testing 2 family sedans one with a high winding small block (2.0T) and one with a lazy big block (3.5V6).

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Whats funny about that is the V6 is actually the one that needs to rev while the 2.0T has the (dare I say it) more big block like torque curve.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Yea, jack beat me to it. Naturally-aspirated engines are the “high-winding” offerings of today.

            Outside of the STI and the Fiat 1.4T, modern turbo gasoline engines have a very diesel-y (or BB) power delivery. All the torque is there as soon as you begin moving, but they start wheezing as you move up through the rev range.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Help me understand: the smaller Encore will still come with a four-banger?

    We have met the enemy, and they is CAFE!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Jeez, there’s a sucker born every minute.

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    Those aren’t TRIPLES- they are GROUND OUTS !

    P.S.- BUICK Deathwatch officially starts NOW !

  • avatar
    TimK

    The battery is bigger than the engine block — zoom zoom.

  • avatar
    Best_Ever

    And I’m sure the customer will see a corresponding price drop along with the bigger engine drop, right? Gm is absolutely disgraceful. Serious, sell Buick already and just makes SUVs. Thats seems to be about the only thing theyre decent at.

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    Best=Ever is right ! PUT BUICK OUT OF IT’S MISERY !
    David Dunbar Buick is howling in pain right now.
    And so am I.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    And is this also going to come with an “L” in the first character of the VIN??!!

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The CVT is really the icing on this excrement flavored cake.

  • avatar

    Don’t you find this Buick’s similarities with classic one http://www.flickr.com/photos/rexgray/8564258908 as a matter of fact? What a beauty! Three portholes – one for each cylinder.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Me, I’ll wait and see if I wanna lease another Buick Encore, our 2016 is fine for us 2 older seniors, a little more room wouldn’t hurt, not too excited about a CVT and a 3 banger, think GEO!

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    I give it one model year before they dump the 1.2 litre.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    They should create new category – 3cyl luxury cars. And the winner is…

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    Next comes the 3-2-1 cylinder engine with A-S-S !
    F#CK !- Oh, I already said that.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    Where are the guys that always start there comments with

    “When gas price rise, the Detroit companies……..”

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “… will sell 137hp 3-cylinder Buicks”. Apparently.
      Too bad GM didn’t decide to offer this with some version of their 1.8L hybrid system instead of just giving us the emerging market engines.

      Or maybe an EV offering. GM claimed they’d have 20 new BEVs by 2023. I’m sure that was sincere and not just corporate greenwashing.

      gmauthority.com/blog/2017/10/gm-announces-plans-to-introduce-20-new-pure-electric-vehicles-by-2023/

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Next is Buick’s exclusive 1 cylinder Briggs and Stratton motor type motor with a belt drive made in China and 1 speed transmission, the new Dynaflow but even cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      JoeBrick

      Jeff S- “Next is Buick’s exclusive 1 cylinder Briggs and Stratton motor type motor with a belt drive made in China and 1 speed transmission, the new Dynaflow but even cheaper.”- and the Premium model comes with a blade underneath it so you can mow your lawn.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    All of the Best and Brightest seem to forget that manufacturers do not care what enthusiasts think. We don’t buy enough cars for them to listen to us. In the last thirty years I have bought two new cars. An Acura Legend in 1990 and I kept it for sixteen years. Then a PT Cruiser in 2005 that is still driven by my grand daughter. My current ride was bought used and is sixteen years old. Manufacturers don’t listen to people like us. So it does not matter what we think of these vehicles GM is still going to do what they want and we simply do not matter to them at all.

    • 0 avatar
      JoeBrick

      I believe that in THIS case, the reactions of the B&B are just a PREVIEW of what the general buying public will be thinking about Buick, And GM.
      I am not commenting here as an ENTHUSIAST, but as an American and a Buick aficianado.
      Bring back the Nash Metropolitan ! At least it had 4 cylinders. 1500cc

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I don’t think anyone expects GM to build an Encore GSX Stage1. But, I do question how competitive this will be within its class.

      We’ll see what happens. Sometimes the commenters are right. Sometimes they are wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Alja- The market has spoken.

        2.0T is the new (grown-up) ‘standard’ with a 2.x N/A for the luddites and cheapskates amongst them.

        Renegade and Compass are getting 3 cylinder engines. Ford’s been using one, too— now GM.

        Junior cars is junior cars.

        Why are you convinced this isn’t competitive with others in its class?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “Why are you convinced this isn’t competitive with others in its class?”

          This is going to be larger than a true subcompact and likely cost several thousand more than an Ecosport or Renegade. So you’re getting an entry-level powertrain in a “tweener” CUV that is from a supposedly upscale brand.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            It probably won’t matter much to the folks who buy this as an urban grocery-getter, which this car actually excels at.

            The problem will present itself on the highway – my rental Encore had no problem doing 85 on I-70, but you had to keep it cranked up to 3500 rpm, which killed its’ fuel economy (I got 26 mpg, which is unbelievably low for a car this small), and passing power was nonexistent. Switching to a smaller engine will make that worse.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I’ve bought 4 new vehicles in the last 4 years and they don’t listen to me either.

      • 0 avatar
        redgolf

        FreedMike – so “no problem going 85” and “passing power was non existent” so your going 85 and still want to pass or your claiming your rental had no power to pass at any given speed? I don’t have any problem trying to pass anyone on the highway in my 2016 Encore the only thing holding me back is when the wife is with me “STOP! you’re going to fast, you’re going to kill us” “move over into the right hand (slow) lane” I also find it, for a small CUV, a joy to drive and park, with ample storage space and value wise ya can’t beat it!

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      People are buying fewer cars as Obama’s CAFE dictates the creation of disposable diapers like this Buick. That’s a feature for the Democratic Fascists, and it is a battle they’re winning in their effort to dismantle the middle class.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Therapy helps.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          You just wrote above that the market has spoken to explain the replacement of cars people were buying with cars that they aren’t as a response to fascist control of the economy. You don’t even know what words mean, let alone what is going on in the world around you.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            The ‘market’ isn’t a single object, idea or person. The ‘market’ is all of those things acting together.

            Therapy can help you understand that I’m not invalidating your personhood or beliefs as I discuss a counterpoint.

            You are ‘splitting’ to self-validate as a defense.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The market is not the government exerting force. You need to read “1984.” If you have already read it, read it again and this time keep in mind that Big Brother isn’t the protagonist in a how-to book.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            I’ll see your Orwell and raise you a Kaysen.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    NormSVarea51 is creaming his jeans at the prospect of selling blue hairs on the prospect of TrifectaTuning their ROAR SAS 2020 Encore GX Clownmobiles with their turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinders and 1.3-liter unit three-cylinders to produce 555hp/547 lbs-feet of torque, and 588hp/578 lbs-feet of torque, respectively, while getting 48-53 mpg city/62-68 mpg highway.

    Just wait until the EnvisionSS straight out of Dong Yue Foundry, Yantai, Shandong, China, made of 100% Chicom components, assembled by workers that are an industrial-military unit of the PROC, hits Buick Dealer lots in the United States!!!

    I’ve already got my deposit down!!!

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I’m assuming the 1.2 is a Peugeot engine, and the 1.3 an Opel engine ?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Domestic crossover? Lol. Maybe in Seoul.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    With 3 cylinders you get a powerstroke every 240 degrees of crankshaft rotation. That’s going to make an all-day Interstate haul unbearable, unless you only go 50 mph!
    But if someone uses it just for around town, it’s fine, I guess. Kinda like an electric.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Joe Brick–Yes but that Buick has climate control so it makes yard work less sweaty, wireless so you can text while you mow, lane departure so you don’t end up in the flower beds, and automatic braking so you don’t hit a stray kid or dog.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Maybe the market has spoken and maybe those of us on this website are not the target market but if new vehicles get much less desirable and more disposable our roads might start to look more like Havana with old cars, suvs, crossovers, and trucks. After a while it might be more desirable to spend the money to rebuild your older vehicle than buy a disposable one with a CVT and a 3 cylinder motor or maybe a 2 cylinder one. I might be wrong but that is how I feel. That 2k I spent to repair the body of my old truck does not seem that bad in comparison with buying a new vehicle which have become less desirable in my eyes.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @ToolGuy–A self driving lawn mower, maybe that is an Encore for Buick.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    rumor is Buick is working on a turbo 1 cylinder for its sport models

    Briggs and Stratton Edition?

  • avatar
    cprescott

    The one thing I have noticed is that no Buick made today looks like it was sired by the same Daddy. Buick may be a very loose woman in its post bankruptcy days having chosen its mates for reasons not apparent. This particular offspring is Buick in name only. I lament when a Buick was a Buick and looked and rode like a Buick. Sadly, Heir Yutz and his gang took over and started defiling pure Buick until she’d shack up with anyone and the brood now produced “ain’t pretty”.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Three-pot engine architecture has yielded impressive results in the motorcycling world, most recently via Yamaha and Triumph.

    My MT-09 is silky-smooth, fuel efficient, and has midrange torque that puts four-cylinder motorcycles to shame. And it does it all with fewer moving parts than a Toyota Corolla.

    What’s not to like? It makes perfect sense in a cost-cutting, tree-hugging world.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Buick will never use that advertising line again because they know the answer. A resounding H!!! No.

    @JoeBrick–A better name yet is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tollway.

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    NOTE TO GM- You can make a profit with Buick !
    Buick should convert to making ONLY All-Terrain-Vehicles, with 3-cylinder engines, 4WD, little monster mudders, mesh doors, no fenders and if they could be hosed out and stuff. Like a Kawasaki Mule or John Deere Gator or the similar Honda.

    This is a TOY CAR. Not a real car. They could call it the Buick Isetta. Or the Buick Obama.
    New advertising slogan – “We put the Ick in Buick !”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Is that a Buick? Ick. Wouldn’t really rather have a Kia?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Rope pull starter is a standard option.

  • avatar
    mpv

    GM NEVER FAILS TO DISAPPOINT!!!

    I own a loaded 2017 Encore AWD, which my wife uses for city driving. While she loves this vehicle, I was never a fan of the engine choices. 153HP is merely adequate. OK for city driving, but hardly adequate for passing. There were some early rumors about GM offering a higher HP engine for the Encore in the 180-200HP range, which would be welcomed. I was going to consider the new Encore GX, but after reading this, I will either move upscale or purchase another brand. For a loaded Encore GX, the list price will be over $35,000. A 3 cylinder engine is not acceptable, regardless of the turbocharging!


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