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The Q3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Encore doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q3 and Encore have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q3 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Encore’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q3 has standard Pre Sense Front, which use 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 offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
The Q3 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Encore doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q3. But it costs extra on the Encore.
The Q3 Prestige has a standard Top 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 Q3 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi Q3 weighs 547 to 668 pounds more than the Buick Encore. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Q3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore’s (12 vs. 6 years).
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 12 places higher in reliability than Buick.
The Q3’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 90 more horsepower (228 vs. 138) and 110 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.
The Q3 has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (15.9 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi Q3 higher (7 out of 10) than the Buick Encore (3). This means the Q3 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Encore every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi Q3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.
For better stopping power the Q3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:
The Q3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Encore are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Q3 has larger standard tires than the Encore (235/55R18 vs. 215/55R18). The Q3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (255/40R20 vs. 215/55R18).
The Q3’s optional 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 Q3 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q3 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.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q3’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Encore (105.5 inches vs. 100.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q3 is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.
The Q3 has 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q3’s rear seats recline. The Encore’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Q3 has a much larger cargo volume than the Encore with its rear seat up (23.7 vs. 18.8 cubic feet).
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Q3. The Encore doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Q3 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power liftgate.
The Q3 has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.
The Q3 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.
The Q3’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Encore has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The Q3’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 Q3 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 also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Encore can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Q3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting 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 Q3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Q3 Prestige 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 Q3 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 is only available on the Encore Essence.
Both the Q3 and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q3 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 Q3 (except Premium) offers an optional 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.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi Q3 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Q3 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Encore doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q3, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Buick Encore isn't recommended.
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