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There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.

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Vauxhall has three big reveals planned for the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, one of them being the 280-horsepower Vauxhall Astra VXR that was announced last November as the Opel Astra OPC. That means the 2.0-liter turbo four lives underhood, and in addition to 276 ponies, it dishes out 295 pound-feet of torque. Handling is aided by the limited-slip differential for the front axle, the HiPerStrut suspension and the "fully adaptive FlixRide system."

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The Buick Encore will see its first encore in Ye Olde England when it appears as the Vauxhall Mokka, and other than a little bit of fiddling up front, it doesn't appear that anything changes in the still-ladybug-sized limey version. To our eyes, the design looks much better without the Buick's Ventiports tacked onto the hood, and something of this size and capability just seems to be a better mental fit with Vauxhall or Opel branding versus Buick.

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