2019 Audi Q5 vs. 2019 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Q5’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 Q5 and Encore have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q5 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 Q5 has standard Pre Sense City, 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 Q5 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 Q5. But it costs extra on the Encore.

The Q5 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 Q5 and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 Q5 weighs 687 to 808 pounds more than the Buick Encore. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi Q5 is safer than the Buick Encore:

 

Q5

Encore

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

26%

Neck Stress

215 lbs.

298 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/49 lbs.

363/313 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

187

207

Neck Injury Risk

34%

38%

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

104 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

90/55 lbs.

249/289 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi Q5 is safer than the Buick Encore:

 

Q5

Encore

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

60

73

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

98 G’s

120 G’s

Hip Force

279 lbs.

388 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

219

382

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

46 G’s

Hip Force

600 lbs.

707 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty

The Q5’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

The Audi Q5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Encore’s diesel engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Q5’s reliability 14 points higher than the Encore.

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.

Engine

The Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 110 more horsepower (248 vs. 138) and 125 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 95 more horsepower (248 vs. 153) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi Q5 is faster than the Buick Encore:

 

Q5

Encore

Encore

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

17.1 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

79.5 MPH

77.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the Q5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Encore doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The Q5 has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (18.5 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi Q5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

The Q5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Encore doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The Q5’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Encore doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

 

Q5

Encore

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.6 inches

The Q5’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.

The Q5 stops much shorter than the Encore:

 

Q5

Encore

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q5 has larger standard tires than the Encore (235/60R18 vs. 215/55R18). The Q5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (255/45R20 vs. 215/55R18).

The Q5’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 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 Q5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q5 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 Q5’s wheelbase is 10.4 inches longer than on the Encore (111 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q5 is 3 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

The Q5 Prestige handles at .79 G’s, while the Encore AWD pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Q5 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Q5 has a 2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (8.2 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Q5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Q5 has 2.1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom and 3.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q5’s rear seats recline. The Encore’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Q5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (25.1 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Q5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (53.1 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Q5’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 Q5. The Encore doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q5’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

The Q5 has a 4400 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Q5 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 engine in the Q5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Encore. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 21% lower rating, Buick is ranked 9th.

Ergonomics

The Q5 Prestige 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 Q5’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 Q5 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 Q5 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 Q5’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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Q5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Q5 Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Q5 offers optional 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 Q5 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Encore Essence. The Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional 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 Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige 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 Q5 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 Q5 and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Q5 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 Q5 Prestige 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.

The Q5 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.

Economic Advantages

The Q5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Q5 will retain 52.7% to 53.4% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 41.19% to 42.63%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q5 is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost less on the Q5 than the Encore, including $62 less for front brake pads and $3 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Buick Encore isn't recommended.

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

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