The crossover craze is more than meets the eye at General Motors, starting with the platform. Instead of the Global Emerging Markets vehicle architecture, Buick switched to different underpinnings for North America. The VSS-F is the culprit, standing for Vehicle Strategy Set – Front(-wheel drive).
Development of the VSS-F started as early as 2013 when Mary Barra was heading the product development department at General Motors. In total, there will be three versions of the VSS-F for A-, B-/C-, and D-/E-segment vehicles. In other words, the Vehicle Strategy Set – Front will replace the Gamma, D2xx, E2xx, E2xx, and Epsilon platforms.
“Spirited and efficient performance” is everything that Buick confirmed in regard to suck-squeeze-bang-blow, and that doesn’t help one bit if you’re interested in buying the Encore GX. But over in China, the long-wheelbase sibling of the Encore is offered with Ecotec four-cylinder engine options, a CVT, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Back to the U.S., we’re expecting the entry-level engine to be the 1.4-liter Ecotec.
Featuring 5 cubic feet of more cargo space than the Ecore, the Encore GX also happens to be 3 cubic feet smaller than the Envision as far as cargo capacity is concerned. In regard to technology, safety and driving assistance lead the list with standard features such as Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking, as well as Front Pedestrian Braking.
Although the exterior is nice and the interior looks alright, the GX in Encore GX ruins the naming scheme the automaker. Mazda has the Mazda3 GX in Canada, Oldsmobile had the Alero GX as the entry-level trim, and Lexus has the GX as the more luxurious brother of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.