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2020 Buick Encore GX will rely on turbocharged three-cylinder power

Buick is quickly turning into an SUV brand. As it gradually eliminates cars from its lineup, the General Motors brand is growing its lineup of utility vehicles. Set to go on sale early next year, the 2020 Buick Encore GX will fill a niche between the current Encore and Envision.

The Encore GX, which has already been unveiled for the Chinese market, won’t replace the Encore. Buick will sell the two vehicles side by side, similar to what Nissan does with the Rogue and Rogue Sport. That might create some confusion, but Buick apparently felt the Encore name had enough traction to be used on more than one vehicle. The Encore GX is a relatively small vehicle (it’s about the size of a Jeep Compass, according to Car and Driver), but it’s still bigger than the standard Encore, which is essentially a glorified subcompact hatchback.

Buick won’t release full details on the Encore GX until it hits showrooms next year, but did say that the GX will offer about 5 cubic feet more cargo space than the standard Encore. The Encore GX’s cargo hold will be about 3 cubic feet smaller than the Envision’s, however. Despite being a (slightly) larger vehicle, the Encore GX will launch with smaller engines than the Encore, according to an order guide uncovered by GM Authority.

Buyers will get a choice of two turbocharged three-cylinder engines, according to the order guide. The base 1.2-liter engine will make 137 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, and will be available only with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). An optional 1.3-liter engine will make 155 hp and 174 lb-ft. It will be available only with all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The order guide calls the Encore GX power outputs estimates, so they could change before the vehicle hits showrooms. For reference, the sole engine currently available in the standard Encore is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four, producing 138 hp and 148 lb-ft.

The Encore GX will be available with a host of standard driver aids, Buick said, including autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. It will also be available with a surround-view camera system and the rearview camera mirror previously seen on other GM vehicles, but they may be optional extras.

Buick claims that SUVs account for more than 90 percent of its United States sales, which isn’t too surprising. The LaCrosse sedan and Cascada convertible were recently eliminated as part of a major cost-cutting effort by GM, leaving the Regal as the only car left in Buick’s lineup. The Regal is available as either a Sportback five-door hatchback or TourX station wagon.

The 2020 Buick Encore GX will be built in South Korea alongside the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer. However, a Buick spokesperson told Motor Authority that the Encore GX will built on a Buick-specific platform not shared with any other brand. The Encore GX is expected to share numerous components with the Trailblazer and other future GM vehicles, though. GM is trying to use more common parts in order to reduce costs.

Updated on August 8, 2019: Added reported engine options.

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