2019 Buick Encore vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

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 Subaru Forester has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Compared to metal, the Encore’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Forester has a metal gas tank.

Both the Encore and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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 all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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

 

Encore

Forester

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

122

317

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

14 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/313 lbs.

310/462 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

38%

52%

Neck Stress

122 lbs.

215 lbs.

Neck Compression

104 lbs.

134 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, results indicate that the Buick Encore is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

Encore

Forester

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

106

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

150 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

235

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

52 G’s

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

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

The Encore comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Subaru covers the Forester. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Forester ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Forester’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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Encore has a standard 438-amp battery. The Forester’s 390-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 16th in initial quality. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Encore AWD 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the Forester 2.0XT (25 city/30 hwy vs. 23 city/27 hwy).

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 Forester 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 Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Encore has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Forester doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Encore

Forester

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.6 inches

The Encore stops shorter than the Forester:

 

Encore

Forester

 

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

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 Forester 2.5i’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester 2.5i.

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Forester’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the Forester 2.0XT Touring pulls only .75 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 Forester 2.5i Touring (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Encore is 1 foot shorter than the Forester, making the Encore easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

The front step up height for the Encore is .5 inches lower than the Forester (16.8” vs. 17.3”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 1.2 inches lower than the Forester’s (16.8” vs. 18”).

Servicing Ease

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The Encore has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Forester doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 24% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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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 Forester doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Encore and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Encore is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Encore’s front and rear power windows all lower 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 Forester’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Forester’s optional rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

The Encore Essence’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

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 Forester’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 Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Model Availability

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The Encore is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $306 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Forester, including $95 less for a water pump, $317 less for a starter, $417 less for fuel injection, $18 less for a fuel pump and $141 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

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

 

Encore

Forester

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

Top Pick

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 Forester isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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