The 2021 Buick Encore is switching to a new engine. The power source in question is the turbocharged 1.4L I4 LE2 gasoline engine, rated at 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet. It replaces the previous turbo 1.4L I4 LUV which, despite also displacing the same amount and featuring a turbo, could reasonably be considered to be inferior in most respects.
The LE2 is a very much more recent design, having made its debut in 2016, whereas the LUV is part of the first-generation Ecotec Family 0 engine developed by GM’s former European subsidiary, Opel. Though it’s been updated since its initial introduction, the engine dates back to the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa circa 1996. Fuel is injected directly into the cylinders of the LE2 rather than into the intake port of the LUV, resulting in greater efficiency, while the LE2’s performance figures dwarf those of the LUV, which is rated at 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
Furthermore, the LE2 is fitted with a start/stop system, though we’re not certain if that system will make its way into the 2021 Buick Encore. And, despite its greater power output, it has slightly superior fuel economy, according to the combined EPA estimates.
So if the LE2 is so much better than the LUV, why wasn’t it fitted to the Buick Encore before now? The answer is that it was.
The first car sold with the LE2 was the 2016 Buick Encore Sport Touring (ST), and the engine remained in that specific model until it was discontinued for 2020 model year. Its sudden and unexpected reappearance in the 2021 Buick Encore occurred a few months after production of the 2021 Encore started, so some 2021 model year Encore models have been built with the older LUV engine. Customers may wish to confirm with dealers which engine is under the hood of their car before placing an order.
The Encore’s platform mate, the Chevy Trax, is also experiencing the same change in suddenly replacing the LUV for the LE2 a few months into the 2021 model year. Both models ride on the same GM Gamma platform.