Buick might not be cool in North America, but it’s a big hit in China, where the brands design’s are often much bolder. Some of Buick’s Asian-market offerings, like the striking Century minivan, would be totally alien to American buyers, but others, like the Encore GX are built in South Korea and China, and sold both there and in the U.S, where the model was launched for the 2020 model year.
Chinese Buick fans know the Encore GX as the Encora GX, and judging by these images and accompanying data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, it’s getting a facelift and a wheelbase stretch at the same time.
The pointy new face doesn’t look much like anything you’ll see in a current U.S. dealership, but that will change soon. The super-slim DRLS and broad grille aren’t a direct lift from this year’s Electra X EV concept, but they’re clearly inspired by that car, which we’ve since caught testing on U.S. roads last week. And it looks like Buick has gone for the split-headlamp treatment judging by what appears to be a set of lamps mounted in the bumper’s vertical dummy intakes.
Related: New Buick Electra 5 EV Breaks Cover Completely Undisguised In China
But while the new nose is very likely to find its way onto U.S.-market GXs, we can’t be so sure about the longer body, which has been crated to satisfy the Chinese love of rear legroom. Instead of the standard car’s 102.2-in (2,595 mm) wheelbase, the new Encora Plus gets 104-in (2,640) of sheetmetal between its axles to improve rear space.
That inevitably means a bigger curb weight, so the Plus model junks the standard car’s 1.2-liter and 1.3-liter gasoline triples for a 1.5-liter motor that should be more capable of handling its girth. Lifted from the Envista crossover also spotted on China’s government website earlier this year, the motor is rated at 177 hp (180 PS) and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) and sends its power to the road through a CVT transmission.
Do you like the Encore’s new look? Leave a comment and let us know.