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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Buick Encore GX are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Fiat 500L doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Encore GX has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, 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 500L doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The Encore GX’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 500L doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Encore GX Select/Essence offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 500L only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
To help make backing safer, the Encore GX’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 500L doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The Encore GX has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500L doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Encore GX and the 500L have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.
Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore GX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500L. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 500L ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Encore GX’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the 500L’s (6 vs. 5 years).
There are almost 5 times as many Buick dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore GX’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 131 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.
On the EPA test cycle the Encore GX FWD CVT 1.3 turbo 3 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the 500L (30 city/32 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Encore GX’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 500L doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Encore GX’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 500L doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Encore GX AWD, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 500L.
The Encore GX 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 500L doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Encore GX has larger tires than the 500L (225/R18 vs. 205/55R16).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore GX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 500L Pop. The 500L’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.
The Buick Encore GX’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500L only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
The Encore GX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The 500L doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Encore GX is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than on the 500L.
The front grille of the Encore GX uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 500L doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Encore GX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 500L doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Encore GX has a much larger cargo volume than the 500L with its rear seat up (23.5 vs. 22.4 cubic feet).
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Encore GX’s power liftgate can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The 500L doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Fiat. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 114% lower rating, Fiat is ranked 31st.
The Encore GX offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 500L doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
When two different drivers share the Encore GX Essence, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The 500L doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Encore GX 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 500L doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Encore GX Select/Essence 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 500L doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
Keyless Access standard on the Encore GX allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500L doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
The Encore GX Essence’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The 500L’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
The Encore GX has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500L doesn’t offer automatic headlights.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Encore GX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 500L doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
On extremely cold winter days, the Encore GX Essence’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 500L doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Encore GX Select/Essence 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 500L doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Buick Encore GX Essence offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The 500L doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Encore GX Essence’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park by itself. The 500L doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Buick Encore outsold the Fiat 500L by almost 133 to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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