2019 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid vs. 2019 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard Pre-Collision System, which uses 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Rav4 Hybrid (except LE) offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Encore doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Rav4 Hybrid. But it costs extra on the Encore.

The Rav4 Hybrid Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Encore only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Encore 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Rav4 Hybrid the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 167 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Encore.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.

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

Engine

The Rav4 Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 81 more horsepower (219 vs. 138) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Rav4 Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 66 more horsepower (219 vs. 153) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster than the Buick Encore:

 

Rav4 Hybrid

Encore

Encore opt.

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.1 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 MPH

79.5 MPH

77.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Rav4 Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Encore:

 

 

 

MPG

Rav4 Hybrid

 

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. Hybrid

41 city/37 hwy

Encore

 

FWD

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP)

26 city/31 hwy

 

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (138 HP)

25 city/30 hwy

 

AWD

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP)

25 city/30 hwy

 

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (138 HP)

24 city/29 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Rav4 Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Encore doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Encore doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Rav4 Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

 

Rav4 Hybrid

Encore

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Rav4 Hybrid has larger tires than the Encore (225/65R17 vs. 215/55R18).

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid’s wheelbase is 5.3 inches longer than on the Encore (105.9 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 Hybrid is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

The Rav4 Hybrid XSE handles at .75 G’s, while the Encore AWD pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Rav4 Hybrid XSE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (28.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Rav4 Hybrid’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Encore’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Rav4 Hybrid has a 1.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (8.1 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Rav4 Hybrid to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Rav4 Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Encore doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Rav4 Hybrid has 6.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (98.9 vs. 92.8).

The Rav4 Hybrid has .2 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front hip room, 3.6 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom and 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4 Hybrid’s rear seats recline. The Encore’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (69.8 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Rav4 Hybrid (except LE) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the Rav4 Hybrid Limited, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Rav4 Hybrid has a 1750 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Rav4 Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Encore’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid Limited offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Encore offer available heated front seats. The Rav4 Hybrid Limited 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 Rav4 Hybrid Limited 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.

The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Encore.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid has a standard Dynamic 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid XSE/Limited offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid XSE/Limited offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Recommendations

The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Buick Encore by almost five to one during 2018.

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

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