2019 Buick Encore vs. 2019 Mazda CX-5

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 Mazda CX-5 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 CX-5 doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Compared to metal, the Encore’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-5 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Encore and the CX-5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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.

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 Mazda CX-5:

 

Encore

CX-5

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

23 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.5 inches

Neck Stress

122 lbs.

205 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

249/289 lbs.

449/262 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 Mazda CX-5:

 

Encore

CX-5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

81

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

126 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

208

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

65 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

382

449

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

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

The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CX-5’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. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the CX-5.

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Mazda 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 standard 130-amp alternator. The CX-5’s 100-amp alternator 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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 16th in initial quality. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd.

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

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 CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature AWD (25 city/30 hwy vs. 22 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 CX-5 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 CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature 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 CX-5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Encore stops much shorter than the CX-5:

 

Encore

CX-5

 

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 CX-5 Sport/Touring’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the CX-5 Sport/Touring.

Suspension and Handling

The Encore has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-5’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

Chassis

The Buick Encore may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 450 pounds less than the Mazda CX-5.

The Encore is 10.7 inches shorter than the CX-5, 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 CX-5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Encore is .8 inches lower than the CX-5 (16.8” vs. 17.6”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 1.4 inches lower than the CX-5’s (16.8” vs. 18.2”).

Servicing Ease

The Encore has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The CX-5 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 Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 64% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

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 CX-5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Encore and the CX-5 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 CX-5 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 CX-5’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

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 CX-5 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature.

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 CX-5’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 CX-5 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 CX-5 because typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the CX-5, including $115 less for a starter, $239 less for fuel injection and $26 less for front struts.

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 CX-5 isn’t in the top three.

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

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