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New 2020 Buick Encore GX To Offer Two Three-Cylinder Turbo Engines

Back in May, GM officially announced the new 2020 Buick Encore GX for the U.S. market. Now, GM Authority has dug up what the U.S.-spec Encore GX will offer under the hood.

The 2020 Buick Encore GX will offer two motors, both of which are brand-new turbocharged, inline three-cylinder GM engines. The first is the turbocharged 1.2L three-cylinder LIH, while the second is the turbocharged 1.3L three-cylinder L3T. Peak output is rated at 137 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 166 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm for the former, and 155 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 174 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm for the latter. The LIH mates exclusively to the CVT / Continuously Variable Transmission (MRG), while the more powerful L3T connects to either the MRG CVT in FWD models or the GM nine-speed automatic (M3G) in AWD models.

Chinese-spec Buick Encore GX

2020 Buick Encore GX Engine Specs
Engine Power (hp / kW @ RPM) Torque (lb-ft / NM @ RPM) Transmission Preferred FWD Preferred AWD Select FWD Select AWD Essence FWD Essence AWD
1.2L Turbo LIH 137 / 102 @ 5000 166 / 220 @ 2500 CVT S - S - S -
1.3L Turbo L3T 155 / 115 @ 5600 174 / 236 @ 1500 CVT - - A - A -
1.3L Turbo L3T 155 / 115 @ 5600 174 / 236 @ 1500 9-Speed Automatic - S - S - S
  • S = Standard
  • A = Available
  • – Not Available

For the sake of comparison, the “regular” 2019 Buick Encore offers just one turbocharged four-cylinder engine – the turbocharged 1.4L I-4 LUV that produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. In prior model years, the model was offered with the optional turbocharged 1.4L I-4 LE2 that produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

The new Buick GX was already officially launched for the Chinese market last month, where it is offered exclusively with the turbocharged 1.3L I-3 L3T engine is rated at 163 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, slightly higher than it’s estimated in North America.

In terms of sizing, the 2020 Buick Encore GX be a “subcompact plus” model that slots between the “regular” subcompact Buick Encore and the compact Buick Envision, providing upwards of five extra cubic-feet of cargo space compared to the “regular” Encore.

The 2020 Buick Encore GX will be built on the latest GM VSS-F Vehicle Set, and offer both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. Assembly will take place in Korea.

With an estimated 3,200 pounds of curb weight to push around, the two turbocharged three-cylinder engine options should provide adequate output for the new 2020 Buick Encore GX, especially with unlimited gears (in the CVT) and nine forward speeds (in the 9-speed auto) helping keep the vehicle in the right zone for optimal power delivery and fuel economy.

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Jonathan Lopez: Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

View Comments (54)

    • Agreed. This would do well in pretty much any market... it's a mainstream but highly attractive vehicle.

        • @Lisa Carr: I'm sure your comment is more of a joke. But in reality, I don't see why so many people feel every car on the road must have so much power? I personally own a 2018 Encore with the base 1.4L Turbo and it's very good in every situation. I have yet, in nearly two years, felt the need for more power. And if you look at the numbers above, you will see that my engine is the lowest in HP and torque of them all. Not all car need to be huge on power and not all people want that.

    • It is Indeed a good looking car, it would be, or would have been just the right size for the european market. It would have been highly successful as the Opel /Vauxhall Mokka X "B", … if only Carlos Tavares had not dumped the project in October 2017. Development engineers from Opel were still working on the Encore GX through 2018. It would be interesting to hear about their opinion about this new Buick, and their reactions when they learned about Tavares's decision. If GM wanted to bring Buick and the Encore GX, alongside Cadillac (still waiting for the XT4 by the way), Corvette and Camaro, they would need to develop their dealer network to achieve any success. Right now, it is almost inexistant. Only Switzerland has a decent dealer network, with 14 dealerships and 23 service stations. But 12 dealerships /24 service stations in ...Germany, 3 in Belgium plus 1 for Luxemburg (I did not check for other countries) show how desolate the situation is. Through the 50ies and 60ies, the dealerships over here where either Opel / Chevrolet / Buick or Vauxhall / Pontiac / Oldsmobile. I still remember those days, but they are gone.

  • I think they've shot their own foot again. Just when I was coming around to accept the idea of something so small, they go and yank away another cylinder whilst adding on the pork and bloat. I'll be buying again in about 9 months and would have considered the old configuration but 3 cylinders and 3200 lb is a non starter. Why must gm always bake in some bitter pill everytime they unveil a new biscuit? I feel as if shopping gm is like negotiating with N. Korea and I'm being forced to accept some unpleasant compromises. I am the $#!@ customer and I want one configured to satisfy ALL my wants. I should not have to compromise if I'm willing to pay the asking price. Other companies will gladly take my money but GM seems like they dont want it.

  • I really hope GM doesn't put these engines in the Trailblazer. Buick makes sense, it's a family car, for people who want to cruise around in comfort and style. This car looks great, but the power is pretty wimpy. Now, if they go ahead and stick these engines in the Trailblazer, rather than doing the much smarter option of putting maybe one of these and the 2.0t in there, I will once again be buying another brand.

    • I couldn't agree more. The 1.2L is so under-powered especially given that this is a Buick. My biggest gripes about the current model is the "wimpy" engine and lack of the center console. The new 1.2L is rated one less hp than the 1.4L that's in the current model. I am in the market for something new, I've held out buying something waiting for the new Encore and Trax (Trailblazer). If indeed these are the same engines for the Trailblazer, either of these vehicles are appealing. There is still the new Ford baby Bronco off in the horizon.

  • Live to dream.. Buick builds an Encore GX with an electric motor and battery from the discontinued Chevrolet Volt.

  • The 1.5 LFV will be discontinued? Why two three-cylinder engines with so similar outputs? The LFV will receive more power? Why not the LSY?

  • Considering my 2016 Encore commuter has eaten $3000 for new turbo and vacuum seals at 75k miles I would wonder how long this even smaller lawn mower engine would hold up. Buick customer service has also been totally useless as well. I would advise dumping it before the warranty runs out on both of the above counts

  • I wish Buick had a 2 row midsize crossover on the shortened Chi2 platform. The Encore is too short (and boring) and the Enclave is too long for my needs.

    • They do. It's called the Envision. If there's a 3rd row seat in the Envision, just fold it down and you have lots of room and 2 rows.

  • Wow those are really impressive numbers for a 3 cylinder. Hopefully they're well refined because a refined 3 cylinder can sound very similar to an I6.

    • I remember in the 80's the Z/28 TPI has little more power than this. We though then that was something coming out of the 70's.

      • The 1980's Z-28 with the 1985 introduced 305 TPI engine started off at 205 HP and 285 torque. Exactly how are these numbers remotely comparable to these hamster grinder 3 cylinder engines?

          • That 1982/83 Cross Fire 305 also made 250 LBS FT of torque or nearly double what these little engines make. If it wasn't for the 9 speed an d CVT transmissions these little engines would be pure dogs in this size vehicle.

        • Not only that, but it was usable, NA torque available on demand, not some artificial turbo induced and computer managed torque available once boost was built and only during momentary overboost was allowed

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