2019 Acura RDX vs. 2018 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RDX has a standard Collision Mitigating Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Encore has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

The RDX Advance has a standard Surround-View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Encore only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the RDX and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Acura RDX weighs 425 to 831 pounds more than the Buick Encore. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the RDX has a standard 550-amp battery. The Encore’s 438-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 134 more horsepower (272 vs. 138) and 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 119 more horsepower (272 vs. 153) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The RDX has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (17.1 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RDX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

 

RDX

Encore

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Encore (235/55R19 vs. 215/55R18). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (255/40R20 vs. 215/55R18).

The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the Encore. The RDX A-Spec has standard 20-inch wheels.

The RDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Encore doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Acura RDX has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Encore has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The RDX has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RDX flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The RDX offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the Encore (108.3 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 3.6 inches wider in the front and 4.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a 2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (8.2 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The RDX has 11.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (104 vs. 92.8).

The RDX has .8 inches more front legroom, 3.3 inches more front hip room, 5.5 inches more front shoulder room, 2.6 inches more rear legroom and 4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Encore doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the RDX has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the RDX Advance, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The RDX has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The RDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Encore uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The RDX Advance has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Encore doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Encore’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the RDX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RDX has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The RDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Encore’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RDX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The RDX Advance has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Encore Essence/Premium. The RDX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RDX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Encore doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The RDX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Encore.

Both the RDX and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the RDX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RDX has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Encore doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Encore, including $86 less for a muffler and $391 less for a timing belt/chain.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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