2019 Volvo XC60 vs. 2019 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Buick Encore doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Encore doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC60 and Encore have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC60 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Encore’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The XC60 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Encore doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC60 has standard City Safety and Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, 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.

The XC60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Encore doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The XC60 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround 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.

The XC60’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Encore doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC60 and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Volvo XC60 weighs 546 to 837 pounds more than the Buick Encore. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC60 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.

Warranty

The XC60’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC60 for 1 year and 12000 miles longer than Buick pays for maintenance for the Encore (3/36,000 vs. 2/24,000).

Engine

The XC60 has more powerful engines than the Encore:

 

Horsepower

Torque

XC60 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC60 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC60 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Encore 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

138 HP

148 lbs.-ft.

Encore 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. Direct Injection

153 HP

177 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the XC60 T5 is faster than the Buick Encore:

 

XC60

Encore

Encore DI

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

17.1 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.5 MPH

79.5 MPH

77.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC60 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Encore (153 HP) AWD (59 city/57 hwy MPGe vs. 25 city/30 hwy).

The XC60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The Encore must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Encore doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the XC60’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Buick only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Encore w/Direct Injection Engine.

The XC60 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (18.5 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XC60’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (18.8 vs. 14 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Buick Encore (3). This means the XC60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Encore every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC60, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

 

XC60 T5

XC60 T6/T8

Encore

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

10.6 inches

The XC60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Encore are solid, not vented.

The XC60 stops much shorter than the Encore:

 

XC60

Encore

 

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC60 has larger standard tires than the Encore (235/60R18 vs. 215/55R18). The XC60’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (255/45R20 vs. 215/55R18).

The XC60’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC60 R-Design offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volvo XC60 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 XC60 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the XC60 flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The XC60 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC60 T6/T8 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC60’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Encore doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC60’s wheelbase is 12.2 inches longer than on the Encore (112.8 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC60 is 4.7 inches wider in the front and 4.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Encore.

The XC60 T6 AWD Inscription handles at .87 G’s, while the Encore pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC60 T5 AWD Momentum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (26.6 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC60 has a 2.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (8.5 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the XC60 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The XC60 has 10.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (103 vs. 92.8).

The XC60 has .7 inches more front legroom, 4.7 inches more front hip room, 4 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, 5.3 inches more rear hip room and 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

Cargo Capacity

The XC60 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (30.2 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The XC60 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (50.6 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC60 easier. The XC60’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Encore’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

The XC60’s cargo area is larger than the Encore’s in almost every dimension:

 

XC60

Encore

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37.8”/68.7”

28.5”/55.8”

Max Width

43.5”

39.5”

Min Width

43.5”

36”

Height

30.6”

31.8”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC60. The Encore doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the XC60 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just waving your foot, completely leaving your hands free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The XC60 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The XC60 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Encore uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Encore Essence, the XC60 R-Design/Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The XC60 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 XC60’s front power windows 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 front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the XC60 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC60 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.

The XC60’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Encore’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the XC60’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Encore’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Encore doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the XC60 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 avoid possible obstacles, the XC60 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC60 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The XC60 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the XC60 and the Encore offer available heated front seats. The XC60 Inscription 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 XC60 Inscription 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 XC60 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 XC60 and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the XC60 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 XC60 offers an optional Adaptive 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.

The XC60’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Encore doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC60 is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost much less on the XC60 than the Encore, including $109 less for a muffler, $41 less for front brake pads, $373 less for a timing belt/chain and $16 less for a power steering pump.

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

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