By on January 24, 2020

gm

It’s the news you were waiting for on a Friday afternoon. After General Motors provided a fuel economy estimate of its own, the EPA has now carved the upcoming Buick Encore GX’s gas mileage into stone.

So, what can the tiny engines found in this small crossover do for pump-averse buyers?

If you’re not buying the larger of the two mills, not all that much, apparently. Buick’s Encore GX, which splits the size difference between the Encore and Envision, employs a 1.2-liter and 1.3-liter turbo three-cylinder shared with its (still unrated) Chevrolet Trailblazer sibling.

Power from both engines travels through a continuously variable automatic for front-drivers, or a nine-speed automatic in 1.3L/all-wheel drive spec. There’s no four-wheel motivation for the base engine.

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While GM’s estimate of “up to 31 mpg combined” certainly came true, it’s only achievable with the larger of the two engines, in FWD form. There, the Encore GX returns 30 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined, according to the EPA.

Add AWD, and the rating sinks to 26 city/29 highway/28 combined. In comparison, those combined figures are a 4 mpg improvement over a FWD Encore and a 2 mpg bump over the AWD version. A win for Buick GX buyers, considering the Encore GX’s additional cargo room and power (1.2L versions make 137 horsepower and 166 lb-ft; 1.3L models generate 155 hp and 175 lb-ft).

It’s worth noting that the 1.3L makes the same ponies as the last 3.1-liter Buick Century, less 20 lb-ft. In modern times, the regular Encore’s larger, 1.4-liter four-cylinder makes the same 138 hp and 148 lb-ft as before.

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Buyers looking to get into an Encore GX as cheaply as possible — and many might, seeing as it’s priced so close to the Encore — won’t see as big of a fuel economy boost. The 1.2-liter earns a rating of 26 city/30 highway/28 combined, which is up just 1 mpg on the FWD Encore in city and combined driving.

The tweener Encore GX hits Buick retailers this spring.

[Images: General Motors]

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92 Comments on “Three-banger Buick’s Fuel Economy Released...”


  • avatar
    deanst

    No wonder mid size car sales are plummeting….why get a 190 hp vehicle that gets 40 mpg highway when you can luxuriate in a 137 hp shoe that gets 32 mpg.

    Thanks Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      My thinking exactly! My 2015 Mazda6, while no limousine, is much more roomy and comfortable inside, has more power AND better fuel economy.

      That said, the preference for high riding these tiny station wagons, known as cute utes, is entirely fashion based–not on objective merit or value. Cute utes are fashion accessories.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Yes, but your car costs more, and puts out more evil emissions that are destroying the planet and making the air unhealthy, and using up non-renewable fossil fuels that could be turned into plastic light sabers, asphalt paving, and tupperware, not to mention your car requires a bigger parking space taking land away from housing, thereby increasing homelessness, which leads to drug addiction and stolen shopping carts!

      • 0 avatar
        mmacman

        Hi R Henry,

        My purpose in buying these cute utes is not fashion based. I am 45yrs old and 6’6”.
        1.. It is hard for me to get in and out of sedans. Tall SUV’s help with this.
        2.. Being tall I don’t fit in cars well or at all. The Encore gives me plenty of room all over. Saves me from buying at $40,000 US pick up truck.
        3. I got this new Mini SUV for $15,000 new, compared to the new price of $25K. It was a demo.
        4. The MPG on this subcompact SUV is better compared to. Ford F-150.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Gotta disagree with the value comment. If you need or want something with a small footprint but decent cargo space, there’s nothing better than a small or medium CUV. In my experience the sight lines are better as well.

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          As far a small and/or cute Utes….you can keep them. As far as I’m concerned they are very unsafe in collisions. They tend to roll very easily when going off the road or in a over-correction situation…and are easily “squashed” by large Pickups and monster Utes which are everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      We see 35+ mpg at 65 mph in a heavier Regal TourX 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD this will be 40+ in similar circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        Or, get (at most) 5mpg less on the. highway and have a 495hp 6.2 liter C8 Corvette.
        It seems seriously like some thing just does not add up here. How can GM do so well with a big v-8 and not a tiny I-3 ?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      100% agree.

      The defunct Buick Lacrosse with the 3.6L V6 under the hood in FWD form was EPA rated 20 city/30 highway. Most owners will tell you both of those numbers are conservative, especially the highway number where getting 33 – 36 MPG average is very common.

      I have the AWD version with 20″ rollers and my best 450-mile average highway is 31.2 MPG. My best 50-mile average is over 43 MPG and my best 25-mile average is 54 MPG.

      Why on earth would you want to spend $35K on a Lacrosse with a V6, 9-speed auto, more seating room, etc. etc. etc. when you can spend the same amount of money on a 1.3L turbo 3-powered tweener subcompact that gets on paper, incrementally better highway MPG. The logic is so………..perfect.

      P.T. Barnum was right, but I remind the B&B, at the end of the day, they (automakers) are only responding to market demand.

      The biggest flaw of the Lacrosse is the same for all sedans – to get that MPG number they had to shape the car like a sculpted blob, like all sedans today, making the trunk opening near worthless and heaven forbid we make it a more practical hatchback.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      My 15 year old Chevy Impala LS, 3800 V-6 get 30 mpg on highway.
      It rides smooth in quiet comfort. I would never think of buying a car with less than a 2.0 4-banger let alone a 3 cylinder.
      What’s next? A twin turbo Briggs & Stratton

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @58BelAire

        Funny, isn’t it. The GM 3.8L V6 and 4-speed auto were maligned 15 years ago for NVH, low HP numbers given the displacement, and for being outdated.

        Now the 3.8L is revered, mostly, for the ability to keep going. Someone will surely reply Series II Dexcool but others will be quick to point out that as long as you stayed on top of the coolant versus just leaving it there to rot, Dexcool wasn’t a major issue.

        The 3.8L V6 in NA form was a great highway engine. I had an ’05 Grand Prix and got the 20 city/30 highway just as advertised.

        GM has really dropped the ball here as styling and sizewise, the GX addresses a lot of the Encore complaints.

        In my mind a better combination would have been the 1.3L turbo 3 as the base engine and the 2.0 turbo 4 in 225 HP configuration as the upgrade, AWD only with the 9-speed.

        I’d venture the guess the bigger 2.0 would get even better MPG as it would be lower in the torque band to move the vehicle along, and not require the turbo to be spooled up as much. I also suspect that people would line up screaming, “shut up and take my money.”

        I knew the Encore would be a success upon a release, despite the B&B hatred. It was so successful it basically bore out an entire class of vehicle, and no other comers have dented sales. I’d also add that some other companies have f’ed up the subcompact SUV far worse than Buick and Encore.

        But this? I just don’t see American buyers going, three-cylinders? Take my money!!!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    God what a POS.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Our 2013 Encore AWD would see 38 mpg at 60 mph. This will be seeing over 40 mpg now! Hello RAV4 Hybrid…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      You stole my comment and you will pay for it

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      +1. Its only redeeming quality might be that it’s easy to park.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      After sitting in the Chevy version at the DC auto show I recommended a friend to check it out. As someone that parks on city streets he wanted something shorter than the Equinox. Each to his own I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        Robotdawn

        Small size is underappreciated in CUVs. I never drive my truck into the city unless I’m using it as god intended. My commute car makes parking and driving so much easier and convenient. Add the ride height to see around the millions of other CUVs, plus the utility of still having some cargo space too. I know why people buy these things, and I may join them next go round.

        What I always need to know is: what is gas mileage at 75 mph. It’s fine that my car gets 40+ at 60, but unless I have a deathwish I’m not driving 60. Usually there is no replacement for displacement at higher speeds.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Yeah, every time I hear about someone getting 40 mpg in a high-riding roller skate, I’m assuming they’re doing 50 mph, downhill.

          My GTI has an even smaller footprint, and has never seen 40 mpg over an extended drive. But then I’m doing at least 80…

          • 0 avatar
            Robotdawn

            I am impressed with the city MPG. That’s about as high as I’ve seen outside of a hybrid. Now I understand why they keep putting smaller and smaller engines in these things.

  • avatar
    brettc

    That is some impressively bad fuel economy. Nice job, GM! I’m sure they’ll sell, as long as the sales person can make sure the potential buyer doesn’t try to test it on an on-ramp.

  • avatar
    multicam

    But… I haven’t finished hating four-cylinder engines yet…

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I’ve decided I don’t care about new cars anymore.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Just like the Escape, who on earth would sign up for a turbo 3 when it doesn’t perform any better than a proven 4? There’s no way this thing has any noticeable torque advantage, just wait for the reviews to roll in.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    this is gonna look really good when Buick replaces it w/ the next gen one cylinder Encore POS

  • avatar
    redapple

    I think we ve reached peak car.

    Buy them now, the decent ones still available. The future looks bleak.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      It does look bleak, and ugly.

      I’m so happy I get to drive the car I want. I have friends who screwed themselves up financially (One cheated on his wife and got a woman pregnant when he was 61, he’s going to be just short of 80 when child support ends!) into the poorhouse (relatively) and now have to drive either something close to a beater, or something like this tiny Buick, a car/CUV they hate, but can afford. The guy above is currently living in a shit apartment, and drives his late mother’s old Honda Fit, which has seen better days and is too small for him. Another friend is too cheap to buy anything close to new and seems happy to put up with a leaking gas tank and it’s fumes in whatever POS car he’s driving. A Buick, I think, just about old enough to drink..

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      If certain groups get into power, they won’t be letting the hoi polloi drive cars anymore, so there’s that.

  • avatar
    dwford

    What’s the point of having a 3 cylinder with economy so bad?? The new Ford Escape with the 1.5L 3 cylinder makes 181hp and still gets better fuel economy in a much larger vehicle.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So it gets about the same highway MPG as a Camaro or Charger V6?

    Any word where this pile of excrement will be made?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The only good news I see here is the 30 MPG city in the FWD 1.3L form. That’s a solid number for a non-diesel/non-hybrid vehicle.

    The 32 MPG highway tells me that poor 1.3L turbo 4 is working hard at highway speed.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Considering the Aveo was outclassed by much more capable cars in the everything department in its day, I’m not surprised.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Just yet another example of how certain (most) auto manufacturers are completely out of touch with what buyers actually want. Focus groups have gone bonkers, filled with ” take me and pay me” phony’s, it seems. Electrics are yet another example, with some manufacturers “going all in” while at the same time they can’t move them off their lots unless a government pays to make it happen.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “It’s worth noting that the 1.3L makes the same ponies as the last 3.1-liter Buick Century, less 20 lb-ft.”

    The 2005 Buick Century 3.1L (which keep in mind is 15 years old now) made 175hp and was not considered a quick car in its day. You’d need to go back to the mid 90s to get a 155hp version of the 3.1L (although most applications of the “L82” V6 made 160hp).

    xr793.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2005-Buick-Century.pdf

  • avatar

    I get that a lot of people have no idea what goes on in the greasy bits of the car, but this is a bit too much decontenting….

    The US is a wealthy market for car sales. There is a reason we get the “big” four from every euro maker, and still consider it a small engine. We expect torque. Gas prices will most likely remain low, both due to domestic sources and low tax rates.

    A three cylinder Buick ? You can’t toss me a fourth piston ? Sheesh. Some luxury….

  • avatar
    notsure

    Didn’t Saab have a 3 cyl engine back in the 60’s? Might have been a 2 stroker
    That asked,those small Buick SUV’s are really small and a 137 HP engine might be all they need.I know my Mazda CX-5 is quite a bit bigger and in 2013 they only had a 155 HP,2.0 4 cyl engine which does the job

  • avatar

    yes, but that car was very pre-crash standards…I saw one run at a Rally…lots of heart, light, fast, but nothing you could sell in today’s day and age. Ring-Ding…

    • 0 avatar
      notsure

      LOL yeah my old Kawasaki mach 3 use to ring a ding ding past every motorcycle on the road in 1971.Think emission controls killed the 2 stroke engine and gas mileage wasn’t very good either. I miss that chain saw on wheels

      • 0 avatar
        55_wrench

        Yay!
        A fellow former Kwacker!
        My avatar was a KH400 triple and boy was it fun. Smoked Honda 550s any day of the week.
        And my Suzy 750 Water Buffalo was a torquey little beast..
        And my 1 liter Kubota diesel is a 3 banger too..so ya see 3 cylinder engines CAN be fun.

        Come to think of it i’ve had more fun running any of these than would be possible in a Buick. Sooo, ya just need to have the right vehicle.

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    Sweet, a slightly above average fuel economy crap-mobile. Thanks Buick! Go ahead and fold up the tent so a better car company can take your meager market share.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The irony to me EPA fuel economy to EPA fuel economy the Buick Regal TourX (standard AWD) gets basically the same fuel economy as this turd. The Regal however has 2.0T, 259 hp/295 lb ft does 0-60 in 6.4 and runs the quarter in 14.7.

    I don’t think the Encore GX could hit those acceleration numbers if it was thrown off the Cliffs of Dover.

  • avatar

    This Buick Ecosport is disappointing. Wait I mean Encore. Actually, they are basically the same thing.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    First thought: Buick has lost its will to live.

    But then we remember: “China” – and this vehicle makes more sense.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Tiny engines don’t have to be weak. I just read that the Fiatsler Jeep Renegade 1.3 liter turbo has 200 horsepower. TWO HUNDRED. From 1.3 liters. In a vehicle the size and shape of a high-top basketball shoe.

    It’s not like Buick is squeezing amazing MPG out of this thing anyway, so why not add another cylinder and another 50 horsepower? Or if MPG is the goal, stop grab-assing already and put a hybrid drivetrain in it?

    I’m gonna guess the answer has something to do with Chinese displacement taxes.

    I will say, the Buick is not bad looking for its challenging proportions.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      The turbo 1.3-4 cylinder in the Renegade is rated at 177 hp, and it’s mileage at 23/29 is worse than the Encore GX.

      But I think you’re right on displacement taxes. GM is looking at their other markets where this engine makes more sense.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It has the right hip point, it’s easy to get in and out, it’s comfortable, and it’s cheap for the feature level. That’s good enough for the intended audience. They won’t notice that the engine is a Chinese compliance special.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Ride height!
      I just gave my well preserved 2000 Corolla to my nephew for his kid to drive. My 43 year old nephew’s commentary on the car? Nice car, thanks, but “it is way too low for my back” .!?!?!?!?!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I actually like the looks of this crossover but I would like it better with a 5 or 6 speed manual with no turbo. I would also like it better in a base trim with cloth seats. Price it just below 20k and it might be a decent vehicle.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Less than 30 miles per gallon combined from a 3 cylinder? My aging 2015 Accord Sport with a 2.4 liter 4 gets 29 combined and makes 50 more horsepower. Great leap forward in technology. And isn’t in this thing built in China? Wow. Just wow.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    I must have missed all the comments about it having that crappy CVT tranny that everyones been hating Nissan about! Also don’t knock these little jewells until you drive one, I say. The 2016 Encore I leased was a very good running/handling suv, never had one issue with it but with a lease decided to move on.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    The only good thing GM could possibly do with this engine is shove it in a Chevy Spark and make a neat little cheap lukewarm hatch that just about no one would buy.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    And here everyone here complainjng about Mazdas being underpowered to move upmarket…..

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Why do they need 2 separate displacements? Is one cheaper to manufacture in some way, or is the “better” 1.3 going to be a $5k option?

    Will these require premium, regular? We know the tests are done using a formulation not available to the public and I’m curious to see what these will do real world since they’ll mostly need to be on boost because of their brickish nature.

  • avatar
    ========Read all comments========

    If you want a 6 cylinder Buick, you’ll have to buy 2 of these.

    It would have been ground-breaking 15 years ago, but the CR-V seems so much more sincere. The little Buick looks like a knee-jerk reaction to the Ford Ecosport.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    GM is that annoying website that sometimes shows up when you want to check your gmail…

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    General Motor’s answer to the Trabant.

  • avatar
    Right_Click_Refresh

    LOL. Who are these chunky, vile looking things being made for?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      People dumb enough to live in the city. No room to park, powertrain doesn’t matter in sub 20 mph stop and creep, in that environment these are pretty much ideal.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Well, I’m dumb enough to live in the City and I wouldn’t touch this turd with a 20 foot pole! A VW Golf or Toyota Corolla hatchback is just as easy to park and it is a way greater value than this.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    That fuel economy rating is just sad. I drive a 19 year old Honda Accord and very consistently get 22.2 mpg all in town driving. With a 4-sp automatic. Filled up yesterday for $2.08.

    I’ll pass on pretty much ANY crossover of this size.

  • avatar
    digitaldoc

    I thought it was a mistake when I saw the anemic HP number for this 3 cylinder. If anything, it could be in the regular Encore/Traxx, but this EncoreGX deserves a lot more power. GM wonders why their sales slump, and should realize they need to build a better vehicle.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I’m sad to say this cynical pile of third world excrement will probably well. The Ecosport is selling pretty well after all. But it’ll leave a bad taste in the mouths of its budget consumers, which will help push GM back into troubles once again.

  • avatar
    Right_Click_Refresh

    When you’re “forced” to buy engines based on China market regulations, I’d say the dream is over.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    There is nothing inherently wrong with turbo 3 cylinder engines. The 1.0L in my Fiesta is well matched to the vehicle and almost can’t get less than 38 mpg combined no matter how you drive. It’s also not as if I have any nostalgia for missing out on a 4 cylinder.

    I guess time will tell if these engines are well matched to their vehicles. I suspect not, but that won’t have anything to do with the number of cylinders.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m calling BS on the MPG claims here. I rented an Encore in 2018 while my car was in the shop for about three weeks getting hail damage fixed, so I had the Buick for a good long time. I even took it on a 900-mile road trip across Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.

    In town, I was getting about 28-30 mpg. On the road, doing a steady 85 mph, with the A/C on, I got 25. Reducing that to 80 bumped the mileage to high-twenties. In contrast, I did the same trip a year earlier in the car that was in the shop – a ’17 Jetta – and got 34-35 mpg under the same conditions. For the record, the Jetta’s a far bigger car than the Encore, with a real back seat.

    As long as you can put up with the styling (which I can’t), the Encore’s a pleasant little car around town, but don’t tell me it’s some kind of of MPG revelation – in fact, the mileage I got was PATHETIC for something this small.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    2020 marks the start of Malaise era II and these silly drivetrains are just one of numerous reasons for this. Comparing the 1.3T to a 90’s derived 3100 ignores the fact that with 25 years of so called progress the engine does indeed shrink in size and cylinder count but power and fuel economy in a similar weight vehicle has barely improved as 30-32 highway MPG was easily obtained with a W-body with the 3100/3800 or even the full sized G/H body cars with the same 3.8 motor. Torque also suffers, especially when speaking of the larger engine that made up to 230 LBS FT and low obtainable RPM’s.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    A 3cyl Buick. My father is rolling over in his grave.

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