2019 Buick Encore vs. 2019 Ford EcoSport

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 Ford EcoSport has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Encore Essence offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The EcoSport doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Encore Essence’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The EcoSport doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Encore and the EcoSport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems 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 Ford EcoSport:

 

Encore

EcoSport

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

122

250

Neck Injury Risk

26%

36%

Neck Stress

298 lbs.

403 lbs.

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

60 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/313 lbs.

495/441 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

207

325

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.5 inches

Neck Injury Risk

38%

38%

Neck Stress

122 lbs.

200 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

249/289 lbs.

329/236 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 Ford EcoSport:

 

Encore

EcoSport

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.9 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

195

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

672 lbs.

685 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 with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Encore the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 159 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The EcoSport has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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 EcoSport’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 Ford covers the EcoSport. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the EcoSport ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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

Reliability

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 36 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (138 vs. 123) and 23 lbs.-ft. more torque (148 vs. 125) than the EcoSport’s standard 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. The Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (177 vs. 149) than the EcoSport’s optional 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Buick Encore (base engine) is faster than the Ford EcoSport:

 

Encore

EcoSport turbo 3 cyl.

EcoSport 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

9.4 sec

11.2 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

17.1 sec

18.2 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

79.5 MPH

76.7 MPH

77 MPH

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 EcoSport 4x4 4 cyl. (25 city/30 hwy vs. 23 city/29 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The EcoSport with the 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The Encore stops much shorter than the EcoSport:

 

Encore

EcoSport

 

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Encore has larger tires than the EcoSport (215/55R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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 EcoSport’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 EcoSport. The EcoSport’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Buick Encore’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford EcoSport only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

The Encore has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The EcoSport doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Encore’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the EcoSport (100.6 inches vs. 99.2 inches).

The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the EcoSport Titanium pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Encore AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the EcoSport SE (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 29.3 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

Chassis

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

Passenger Space

The Encore has .1 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the EcoSport.

Cargo Capacity

The Encore’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The EcoSport’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 39% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

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 EcoSport 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Encore’s front and rear power windows all open fully with one touch of the switches and its driver’s window also automatically closes, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The EcoSport’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the EcoSport Titanium/SES.

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 EcoSport’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Encore’s optional 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. The EcoSport doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Encore with a number “5” insurance rate while the EcoSport is rated higher at a number “7” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the EcoSport because it costs $36 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the EcoSport, including $64 less for a starter, $102 less for fuel injection, $11 less for a fuel pump, $80 less for front struts, $252 less for a timing belt/chain and $386 less for a power steering pump.

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 EcoSport isn’t in the top three.

The Buick Encore outsold the Ford EcoSport by 71% during 2018.

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

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