2019 Buick Encore vs. 2019 Audi Q5

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 Audi Q5 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Encore and the Q5 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 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 Audi Q5:

 

Encore

Q5

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

122

284

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

44 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.7 inches

Neck Stress

122 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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Buick Encore is safer than the Audi Q5:

 

Encore

Q5

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

185

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

672 lbs.

817 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

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

Warranty

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the Q5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Q5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 7 times as many Buick dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Encore has a 130-amp alternator. The Q5’s standard 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Encore has a standard 438-amp battery. The Q5’s 420-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 Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 16th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

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 Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Encore AWD 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the Q5 Auto (25 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Q5 requires premium for maximum efficiency, 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 Q5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Encore stops much shorter than the Q5:

 

Encore

Q5

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

144 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 Q5’s standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the Q5 Premium Plus pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Q5’s (36.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Buick Encore may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 800 pounds less than the Audi Q5.

The Encore is 1 foot, 3.2 inches shorter than the Q5, 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 Q5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Ergonomics

The Encore offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Q5 doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 Q5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Encore has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Q5 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the Encore’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Q5’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 Q5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Encore is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Encore will cost $1055 to $2640 less than the Q5 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because it costs $252 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Q5, including $335 less for a water pump, $287 less for a muffler, $458 less for a starter, $348 less for fuel injection, $160 less for a fuel pump, $233 less for front struts and $57 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Encore will be $13750 to $14133 less than for the Audi Q5.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Buick Encore, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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 Q5 isn’t in the top three.

The Buick Encore outsold the Audi Q5 by 33% during 2018.

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

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