2019 Buick Encore vs. 2018 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Buick Encore are height-adjustable, and the rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Fiat 500X has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Encore Essence offers optional Ultrasonic Park Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 500X doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Encore and the 500X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500X. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 500X ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the 500X’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Buick pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Encore. Buick will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Fiat doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 500X.

There are over 5 times as many Buick dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Encore’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500X Pop’s camshafts. If the 500X’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 Encore’s reliability 73 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 76 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Encore gets better fuel mileage than the 500X:

 

 

Encore

500X

 

2WD

 

n/a

25 city/33 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (138 HP)/Auto

25 city/33 hwy

22 city/30 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP)/Auto

26 city/31 hwy

n/a

 

4WD

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP)/Auto

25 city/30 hwy

21 city/29 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (138 HP)/Auto

23 city/30 hwy

n/a

 

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Encore w/Direct Injection Engine’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 500X doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500X Pop requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Encore has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (14 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Buick Encore comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 500X.

Brakes and Stopping

The Encore stops much shorter than the 500X:

 

Encore

500X

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Encore’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X Pop’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 500X Pop.

Suspension and Handling

The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the 500X AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Encore AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the 500X Trekking AWD (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The Encore is 5.6 inches narrower than the 500X, making the Encore easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Encore has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The 500X uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The Encore uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 500X doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Encore has .5 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more rear headroom and 1 inch more rear legroom than the 500X.

The front step up height for the Encore is 2.6 inches lower than the 500X (16.8” vs. 19.4”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 2.8 inches lower than the 500X’s (16.8” vs. 19.6”).

Cargo Capacity

The Encore has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 12.2 cubic feet). The Encore has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Encore easier. The Encore’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Fiat. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 106% lower rating, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Encore Essence, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The 500X doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Encore Essence’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 500X doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Encore has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 500X has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Trekking/Lounge.

When the Encore Essence is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The 500X’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Encore has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Encore has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Encore, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the 500X.

The Encore offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 500X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the 500X, including $93 less for a water pump, $40 less for a starter, $292 less for fuel injection, $137 less for a fuel pump and $39 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Buick Encore has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Encore

500X

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Encore second among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 500X isn’t in the top three.

The Buick Encore outsold the Fiat 500X by over 11 to one during 2017.

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

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