2019 Buick Encore vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

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 Subaru Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek has a metal gas tank.

Both the Encore and the Crosstrek 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.

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

The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Crosstrek’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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). Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Crosstrek.

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

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Encore’s reliability 33 points higher than the Crosstrek.

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.

Engine

The Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 1 more horsepower (153 vs. 152) and 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (177 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Encore

Crosstrek

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.6 inches

The Encore stops much shorter than the Crosstrek:

 

Encore

Crosstrek

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

136 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 Crosstrek’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 Crosstrek.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

The Encore is 7.4 inches shorter than the Crosstrek, 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Encore is .7 inches lower than the Crosstrek (16.8” vs. 17.5”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 1.2 inches lower than the Crosstrek’s (16.8” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Encore easier. The Encore’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the Crosstrek’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

Servicing Ease

The Encore has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Crosstrek 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

The engine computer on the Encore automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Crosstrek’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open 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 Crosstrek’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 Crosstrek has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Limited.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Crosstrek Premium/Limited.

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

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Crosstrek because it costs $288 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Crosstrek, including $8 less for a water pump, $272 less for a starter, $119 less for fuel injection and $175 less for front struts.

Recommendations

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

 

Encore

Crosstrek

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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

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