When Chevy announced the all-new 2018 Traverse and Buick announced the all-new 2018 Enclave, we assumed that both full-size crossovers were powered by GM’s all-new 3.6L V-6 LGX engine. But after some digging around, we realized that this is not the case. Instead, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave are powered by a version of GM’s 3.6L V-6 LFX engine.
Assigned RPO code LFY, the motor powering the 2018 Traverse and Enclave is assigned RPO code LFY. It is essentially the same LFX engine that was ubiquitously used across many last-generation GM vehicles, but with the auto engine stop/start feature added.
In most vehicles that use a 3.6L V-6, the LFX has been superseded by the LGX — a clean-sheet high-feature V-6 engine family that improved on the LFX in every way, including power, refinement, and efficiency. So, why does it even matter? For a few reasons.
Why It Matters
First, the LFY is only slightly less powerful than the LGX. Second, the LFX does not represent the latest and greatest in GM V-6 engine engineering. Meanwhile, other vehicles that share the C1 platform with the new Traverse and Enclave — specifically the second-generation 2017 GMC Acadia and 2017 Cadillac XT5 — are powered by the LGX motor, not the LFY.
|Vehicle||Engine||Generation||Overview / Features||Power hp / kW @ RPM||Torque lb-ft / Nm @ RPM|
|2018 Chevrolet Traverse||3.6L V-6 LFY||HFV6 Gen 1+||DOHC, SIDI, VVT, Auto Stop/Start||305 / 228 @ 6800||260 / 353 @ 2800|
|2018 Buick Enclave||3.6L V-6 LFY||HFV6 Gen 1+||DOHC, SIDI, VVT, Auto Stop/Start||305 / 228 @ 6800||260 / 353 @ 2800|
|2017 GMC Acadia||3.6L V-6 LGX||HFV6 Gen 2||DOHC, SIDI, VVT, Auto Stop/Start||310 / 231.1 @ 6600||271 / 365.9 @ 5000|
|2017 Cadillac XT5||3.6L V-6 LGX||HFV6 Gen 2||DOHC, SIDI, VVT, Auto Stop/Start||310 / 231.1 @ 6600||271 / 365.9 @ 5000|
- DOHC – Dual Overhead Cam engine configuration
- SIDI – Spark Ignition Direct Injection
- VVT – Variable Valve Timing
- HFV6 – High Feature V-6 engine, GM’s internal designation for modern V-6 engines with SIDE and VVT
- Gen 1 – first generation of GM’s HFV6 engine family, the 3.6L V-6 LLT
- Gen 1+ – improvement/update to GM’s Gen 1 LLT HFV6 engine family, the 3.6L V-6 LFX. It introduced integrated exhaust manifolds and intake valves and a little larger diameter. The LFY is a further improvement on this design, introducing engine auto stop/start
- Gen 2 – all-new, second-generation of GM’s HFV6 engine family, the 3.6L V-6 LGX
The GM Authority Take
In all, GM’s choice not to include the latest 3.6L V-6 LGX engine in the 2018 Traverse and Enclave is interesting. Chances are that the decision was made to maximize per-vehicle profit, since the LFX motor delivers similar performance (at least on paper) at the LGX, while likely being much less expensive to produce, as it has been in production at the GM St. Catharines powertrain plant in Ontario, Canada for years. As such, its tooling has already been paid off.
Where a difference between the new LGX and last-gen LFX/LFY can be noticed is not on paper, but rather in refinement and noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels, areas that are (unfortunately) unappreciated by the average car buyer, as they are not easy to quanitfy. In our opinion, differentiating between the GM’s new and old six-bangers takes a skilled driver on the level of an enthusiast — something that most Traverse and Enclave buyers are (likely) not. Therefore, they probably will never notice nor appreciate an awesome engine like the LGX, especially given that it likely costs GM more to produce it compared to the LFX/LFY.
Some Parting Trivia
Interestingly, GM has a history of stuffing last-generation engines into its family haulers. The first-generation Traverse, Enclave, and Acadia were introduced with the LLT first-generation HFV6 engine. When the automaker introduced the LFX as an update to the LLT, the trio never got it, instead soldering on with the LLT for their entire lifecycle.
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