The new Buick Encore GX made its big North American debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show last month, dropping cover with two engine options. Both engines are turbocharged inline three-cylinders, and although some have criticized the “low” cylinder counts, a comparison reveals that the new turbo ‘threes match or exceed the four-cylinder alternatives.
Let’s start with the turbocharged 1.2L LIH inline three-cylinder, which is offered as the base-level engine on the 2020 Buick Encore GX. Peak output is rated at 137 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 2,500.
Compared to the turbocharged 1.4L LUV inline four-cylinder, which was offered as the base engine on the 2019 Buick Encore, that’s just one horsepower less and a not-so-insignificant 14 pound-feet more than what’s offered by the four-cylinder.
It’s also worth noting that the 1.4L LUV inline four-cylinder is considered a somewhat dated first-gen EcoTec powerplant that traces its roots back to 2011 with the first-generation Chevrolet Cruze and current-generation Chevrolet Sonic. The LUV doesn’t even come with direct injection. However, it’s currently the only engine offered with the non-GX Buick Encore, as the Encore’s previous up-level engine was dropped after the 2019 model year. More on that a little later in this post.
|Vehicle||2020 Encore||2020 Encore GX|
|Engine||1.4L I-4 Turbo LUV||1.2 I-3 Turbo LIH|
|Power (hp / kW @ RPM)||138 / 103 @ 4900||137 / 102 kW @ 5000|
|Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ RPM)||148/ 199.8 @ 1850||162 / 219 @ 2500|
Meanwhile, the 2020 Buick Encore GX is also offered with the optional turbocharged 1.3L L3T inline three-cylinder, which is tuned to produce 155 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, and 174 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm.
Compared to the Buick Encore’s previous up-level engine, namely the turbocharged 1.4L LE2 inline four-cylinder that arrived with the 2016 Buick Encore Sport Touring, those specs more or less match line for line.
|Vehicle||2019 Encore||2020 Encore GX|
|Engine||1.4L I-4 Turbo LE2*||1.3 I-3 Turbo L3T|
|Power (hp / kW @ RPM)||153 / 114.1 @ 5600||155 / 115 @ 5600|
|Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ RPM)||177 / 239 @ 2000-4000||174 / 236 @ 1500|
- * 1.4L LE2 engine discontinued after 2019 model year
As alluded to above, the turbo 1.4L LUV four-cylinder is currently the only engine offered on non-GX Buick Encore models, as the LE2 was discontinued after the 2019 model, despite it being significantly newer and more advanced than the LUV. To note, the LE2 was offered with stop-start capabilities and spark-ignition-direct-injection (SIDI).
All told, the takeaway here is clear – the Buick Encore GX may be down a cylinder compared to the standard Buick Encore, but it still comes with all the power and torque it needs.