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The Q5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Encore GX doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q5 and Encore GX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q5 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 GX’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 Q5 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Encore GX 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.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q5. But it costs extra on the Encore GX.
Both the Q5 and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi Q5 weighs 772 to 1020 pounds more than the Buick Encore GX. 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, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 202 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore GX has not been tested, yet.
The Q5’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore GX’s (12 vs. 6 years).
The Audi Q5’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Encore GX’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Q5’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Encore GX’s camshafts. If the Encore GX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 4 places higher in reliability than Buick.
The Q5 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 111 more horsepower (248 vs. 137) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 162) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The Q5 45 TFSI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 93 more horsepower (248 vs. 155) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder. The Q5 55 TFSI e’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 207 more horsepower (362 vs. 155) and 195 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.
On the EPA test cycle the Q5 55 TFSI e gets better fuel mileage than the Encore GX 1.3 turbo 3 cyl. AWD Auto (64 city/66 hwy vs. 26 city/29 hwy).
The Q5 55 TFSI e can drive on battery power alone for up to 26 miles. The Encore GX must run its internal combustion engine to move.
The Q5 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Q5’s standard fuel tank has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (18.5 vs. 13.2 gallons).
The Q5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Encore GX doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
The Q5’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Encore GX doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the Q5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore GX:
Q5 55 TFSI e
The Q5’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 GX are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Q5 has larger standard tires than the Encore GX (235/60R18 vs. 225/55R18). The Q5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore GX (255/45R20 vs. 225/55R18).
The Q5’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 GX’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Encore GX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q5 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 GX has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q5’s wheelbase is 8.8 inches longer than on the Encore GX (111 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q5 is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore GX.
For greater off-road capability the Q5 55 TFSI e has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore GX (8 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the Q5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Q5’s minimum ground clearance is .7 inch higher than on the Encore GX (8.2 vs. 7.5 inches).
The Q5 has 2 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q5’s rear seats recline. The Encore GX’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Q5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore GX with its rear seat up (25.1 vs. 23.5 cubic feet). The Q5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (53.1 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Q5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore GX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The Q5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Encore GX’s (4400 vs. 1000 pounds).
The Q5 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Encore GX 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.
The engine in the Q5 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Encore GX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
The Q5’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 GX’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Q5 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 GX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Q5’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 GX’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Q5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore GX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the Q5 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Encore GX doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.
The Q5’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore GX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Q5 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Encore GX. The Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore GX.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the Q5 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Encore GX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The Q5 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 is only available on the Encore GX Select/Essence.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q5, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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