The Buick Encore has been a surprise success for GM, so naturally the solution to fuel that success is to add more power.
GM is considering ways to add more power to the small Encore crossover, according to Automotive News. Primarily designed with European and Asian markets in mind, the Encore and its cousin the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka are primarily powered by small gas or diesel four-cylinder engines, the most powerful of which is the 1.4-liter turbo with 138 horsepower that is the Encore’s sole motivation.
That’s on the low end of subcompact crossovers, with the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X getting 160 horses out of a 1.4 turbo, and the upcoming Mazda CX-3 is expected to get more than 150 from its 2.0-liter four.
In perhaps a slight jab to the auto scribes, a Buick official says it’s basically only the journalists who’ve complained about a lack of power. OK then, but I’m sure a more powerful engine would help justify the Encore’s roughly $5,000 premium over the mechanically identical Chevy Trax.
In a separate piece, Autonews reported U.S. Buick dealers are clamoring to get their hands on more Encores to sell. Sales have exceeded industry expectations by roughly double and GM will boost production by 50 percent, it told dealers in January. The Encore is currently the third best-selling Buick in the U.S.
But to keep that momentum, GM is clearly going to need to throw some attention on the Encore. It sits in this gap between mainstream offerings and premium crossovers like the BMW X1, but with good-looking and upmarket-feeling entries coming from Honda, Jeep and Mazda very soon, the Buick could be in an awkward place.