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    Rumorpile: Buick's Powertrain Plans


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    October 19, 2013

    A new report from Edmunds shines some light on what Buick possibly has in store powertrain-wise for some of their vehicles. A sources says that Buick is planning on offering a diesel engine in their lineup. This is due to Buick and Opel becoming more aligned. Also, diesels have gained more ground in the U.S. thanks to their ability to provide large fuel economy numbers without a massive hit on performance.

    The source doesn't say which vehicle will get the diesel engine, but Edmunds speculates it will be the Verano since it's closely related to the Chevrolet Cruze which offers a diesel engine.

    Another source tells Edmunds that Buick is considering adding more power to wildly-popular Encore crossover. The source explained that one of the primary reasons given why prospective buyers would not buy the Encore is the lack of power from the 1.4L turbo-four which produces 138 horsepower.

    Buick is reportedly scrambling to get a more powerful engine, but there comes a problem with that. Engineers have tried to fit the 2.4L four-cylinder and 2.0L turbo-four, but they don't fit in the Encore's tight engine bay. The source says that GM is now looking at using one of the new 1.6L four-cylinder engines introduced in Europe earlier this year.

    Source: Edmunds

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.



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    How does the weight of the Encore compare to the Cascada? Without looking it up, I'd assume it's lighter, but Autoblog said the Cascada was still doggy with the 1.6... But a diesel would be fantastic...for any of the lineup

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    138hp is enough for Buick to not be able to build them fast enough at launch. Most buyers in this segment don't care about raw horsepower. The Encore is smooth, and efficient even in Awd trim. The 1.6 will be an improvement, but I was told we would not see that motor in the States in any vehicle for 3 to 4 years. Perhaps that project has been accelerated.

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    See, what bothers me is why didn't they think about this from the start? When they first talked about the Encore and mentioned the 1.4L Turbo, my brain instantly said, "And?" I feel in most cases a more powerful powertrain should always be an option. There's always a group of people out there who do want a bit more punch. Think about it--you're marketing a small CUV... something you can load up with cargo... that adds on weight... throw in more passengers and you have something that'll probably be a bit sluggish.

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    See, what bothers me is why didn't they think about this from the start?

    Because they are GM and the company motto is "that's good enough."

    And I agree with you about needing more punch from the start because loaded up you have some weight to move.

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    I'm sure they did think of it, but the next engine wasn't even close to being ready. The larger Ecotecs don't fit. I think Buick is guilty of mis-reading the market in a different way. I don't think they ever expected the Encore to take off like it has in the U.S. Apparently they are selling every Mokka they can build in the EU also to the point that there are waiting lists.

    The problem is they are all built in Korea, and the supply chain is just too long to be able to make quick changes.

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    the car was engineered for different markets initially, I bet, such that the 1.4 was deemed adequate. I am assuming they orginally did not envision the encore being sold as a 30k piece in the US.

    the big sin is not the powertrain in the Encore, it's that the Trax is not available in the US

    Edited by regfootball

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    It's not that the 1.4T was deemed adequate, it's that the only alternatives had less power. The 1.4T is the most powerful engine that fits.

    Buick geared it right with very deep 1st and 2nd gears, so it feels plenty perky around town. Also, with all the sound insulation and noise canceling technology, Buick is able to run it at a higher RPM than would be comfortable in regular driving in other vehicles.

    More power is better, but I'm not sure if I would opt for it at the expense of fuel economy. We're averaging 25mpg around town so far which is really good for an AWD fairly heavy small crossover.

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    While it is a rule of thumb, a weight to peak power ratio of 15 - 20:1 is good balance for optimal fuel economy and fun performance - granted it depends on a lot of factors.

    That is one of the reasons why Encore, Cruze, are not getting the best out of their offered power trains and have to utilize sluggish transmissions to keep up with that fuel mileage while sacrificing the overall performance. A 160 - 200 hp engine with smooth linear power delivery would be ideal for these vehicles.

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    It's not that the 1.4T was deemed adequate, it's that the only alternatives had less power. The 1.4T is the most powerful engine that fits.

    Buick geared it right with very deep 1st and 2nd gears, so it feels plenty perky around town. Also, with all the sound insulation and noise canceling technology, Buick is able to run it at a higher RPM than would be comfortable in regular driving in other vehicles.

    More power is better, but I'm not sure if I would opt for it at the expense of fuel economy. We're averaging 25mpg around town so far which is really good for an AWD fairly heavy small crossover.

    Actually, the Encore is a Gamma, meaning that the 1.8, 2.0T or 2.5NA will fit if they had chosen to use them. The 2.0 Turbo-diesel will fit too. That GM chose the 1.4 for the Gammas is entirely voluntary not something compelled by the platform.

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    Well, the 1.8 is covered under the "less power" I mentioned and it is a Family 1, but I was specifically told that they just cannot get the 2.0T and 2.5 to fit. I'm not sure why you think a Family II would fit when none of the Gamma cars use anything larger than a 1.8 Family 1 engine. The diesel they are using in the EU is a 1.7 liter.

    Are you thinking Delta platform?

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