By Andy Lilienthal
Buick's subcompact Encore CUV has been a strong seller for the GM brand (30,549 units moved as of June 2015, up 29%). However, if there's been one sticking point, it's been the power. The current Encore makes just 138 hp and 148 lb/ft of torque from the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill, yet has to haul around as much as 3,358 lbs.
GM announced today that there will be a new Encore Sport Touring model for 2016, which will make 153 hp and 177 lb/ft of torque from an all-new direct-injected 1.4-liter engine, which will also feature start/stop technology. And despite the fact the new engine's displacement is the same as the older one, nothing else is.
Engine efficiency is bolstered through reduced friction, including low-friction piston rings, a low-friction camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump. Additional engine features include:
- A durable steel crankshaft for strength and reduced engine vibration
- Powder-metal steel connecting rods and hypereutectic-alloy aluminum pistons that are tough and contribute to quietness. They are used with low-tension rings that reduce friction
- A variable-flow oiling system that helps maximize fuel efficiency. The crankshaft-driven oil pump matches oil supply to engine load, changing its capacity based on the engine’s demand for oil – eliminating energy wasted to pump unneeded oil
- Piston-cooling oil jets that minimize piston temperatures – helping to make the most of performance, refinement, efficiency and emissions.
Along with performance and efficiency, the new 1.4L engine offers excellent refinement, with low vibration and noise levels – a hallmark of Buick’s commitment to quiet vehicles. Highlights include:
- The camshaft drive-chain, with an inverted-tooth design, and chain architecture designed for low sound levels
- A lower, stamped steel sump at the bottom of the aluminum oil pan
- The front-end accessory drive features an overriding alternator coupler to remove the effect of crankshaft oscillations. It also allows a reduction in tensioning force, which reduces friction levels and improves efficiency
- Acoustically optimized covers for the top and front of the engine
- Crankshaft isolation with iron main bearing inserts.
No word on whether the other cars currently powered by the 1.4-liter turbo engine will get the new powerplant. This would include the Chevrolet Cruze, Sonic, and Trax.