Engineers from General Motors have been spotted testing a Buick Encore, suggesting a mid-cycle facelift could be underway with a raft of enhancements.
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.
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."
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.