Cylinder Diet: 2020 Buick Encore GX Brings a Brace of Triples

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.

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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.

shared from TTAC

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