Buick is considering a more powerful engine option for the Encore as it looks to extend the small crossover's sales success, the brand's top executive says.
The Encore, launched two years ago, comes only with a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 138 hp. That's less than what some forthcoming rivals will offer, including the Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3.
"I'd be lying if I said we're not evaluating that," Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president of Buick-GMC, said in an interview.
Aldred didn't mention engine possibilities. On the Opel Mokka in Europe, a rebadged Encore, GM offers a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a new, aluminum 1.6-liter turbodiesel, in addition to the base 1.4-liter.
Adding a more powerful engine could drive incremental sales and help Buick keep pace with an influx of competitors. Buick sold 48,892 Encores in 2014, making the vehicle the brand's No. 3 seller behind the Enclave large crossover and the LaCrosse large sedan.
"I'm looking to grow volumes, and we're always looking at customer feedback for what changes we need to make," Aldred said. "But there's always a trade-off between cost and benefit."
A December 2012 Car and Driver review said the Encore's 1.4-liter is "barely enough to break the speed limit when there's a full load of passengers and luggage onboard."
Aldred says there's no pressing reason for an engine upgrade, though. "It's often journalists who have those complaints," he said, "rather than consumers."