2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CX-5 has standard Smart City Brake Support, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Encore offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Both the CX-5 and the Encore 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 and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

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 CX-5’s reliability 15 points higher than the Encore.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Buick is ranked 19th.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 49 more horsepower (187 vs. 138) and 38 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 34 more horsepower (187 vs. 153) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 97 more horsepower (250 vs. 153) and 133 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 (base engine) is faster than the Buick Encore:

 

CX-5

Encore

Encore DI

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.1 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

80.4 MPH

79.5 MPH

77.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Encore doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (15.3 vs. 14 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the Buick Encore (3). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Encore every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

 

CX-5

Encore

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.6 inches

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Encore:

 

CX-5

Encore

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-5 has larger tires than the Encore (225/65R17 vs. 215/55R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Mazda CX-5 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Encore has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the Encore (106.2 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Encore AWD pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (28 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Encore’s (36 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the CX-5 has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (7.5 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the CX-5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 11 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (103.8 vs. 92.8).

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, 3.5 inches more front hip room, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 3.8 inches more rear legroom, 5.2 inches more rear hip room and 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CX-5’s rear seats recline. The Encore’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

The CX-5’s cargo area is larger than the Encore’s in every dimension:

 

CX-5

Encore

Max Width

57”

39.5”

Min Width

41.3”

36”

Height

32.4”

31.8”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the CX-5 (except Sport) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The Encore doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The CX-5 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The CX-5 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Encore doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-5 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Encore’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the CX-5 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the CX-5 and the Encore offer available heated front seats. The CX-5 Grand Touring also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the CX-5 (except Sport/Touring) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Encore doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the CX-5 and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the CX-5 offers an optional Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Encore doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the CX-5 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the CX-5 with a number “1” insurance rate while the Encore is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

The CX-5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the CX-5 will retain 49.11% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 41.19% to 42.63%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Encore because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Encore, including $120 less for a water pump, $134 less for a muffler, $155 less for front brake pads, $102 less for a fuel pump, $327 less for a timing belt/chain and $38 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda CX-5 will be $525 to $2667 less than for the Buick Encore.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Buick Encore isn't recommended.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2018. The Encore has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Buick Encore by 63% during the 2018 model year.

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

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