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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 Infiniti QX30 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.
To help make backing safer, the Encore’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The QX30 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Compared to metal, the Encore’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Infiniti QX30 has a metal gas tank.
Both the Encore and the QX30 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.
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 QX30 has not been tested, yet.
Buick pays for scheduled maintenance on the Encore for 2 years and 24,000 miles. Buick will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Infiniti doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the QX30.
There are almost 10 times as many Buick dealers as there are Infiniti dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Encore has a standard 130-amp alternator. The QX30’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
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 Infiniti vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Infiniti is ranked fourth.
On the EPA test cycle the Encore AWD 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP) gets better city fuel mileage than the QX30 AWD Auto (25 city/30 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The QX30 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 QX30 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
The Encore has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the QX30; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.
The Encore is 5.8 inches shorter than the QX30, 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 QX30 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Encore has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the QX30 (92.8 vs. 88.8).
The Encore has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear hip room than the QX30.
The Encore has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the QX30 with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 34 cubic feet).
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 QX30 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The power windows standard on both the Encore and the QX30 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 QX30 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 QX30’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.
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 QX30 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Encore has standard extendable sun visors. The QX30 doesn’t offer extendable visors.
On extremely cold winter days, the Encore Essence’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The QX30 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
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 QX30 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Encore will cost $1100 to $2930 less than the QX30 over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the QX30 because typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the QX30, including $376 less for a water pump, $80 less for a muffler, $163 less for a starter, $261 less for fuel injection, $31 less for a fuel pump, $100 less for front struts, $76 less for a timing belt/chain and $941 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Encore will be $4990 to $5050 less than for the Infiniti QX30.
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 QX30 isn’t in the top three.
The Buick Encore outsold the Infiniti QX30 by over eleven to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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