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For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Buick Encore are height-adjustable, and the rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Chevrolet Trailblazer has only front height-adjustable seat belts.
The Encore Essence offers optional Ultrasonic Park Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
Both the Encore and the Trailblazer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, 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 with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Encore the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 212 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Trailblazer has not been tested, yet.
The Encore comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Trailblazer’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Trailblazer. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Trailblazer ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The Encore’s 6 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Trailblazer runs out after 100,000 miles.
The Buick Encore’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Trailblazer’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 Encore’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Trailblazer’s camshafts. If the Trailblazer’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 Buick vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 7 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.
The Encore has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
The Encore’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Trailblazer L’s standard 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Trailblazer L.
The Encore has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Trailblazer’s (36.7 feet vs. 37.4 feet).
The Encore is 5.1 inches shorter than the Trailblazer, making the Encore easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Encore uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Encore has .4 inches more rear headroom and 4.4 inches more rear hip room than the Trailblazer.
A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Encore easier. The Encore’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the Trailblazer’s liftover is 30.8 inches.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 12% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.
When two different drivers share the Encore Essence, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Encore 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 Trailblazer doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Encore Essence’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Trailblazer’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Trailblazer LT/ACTIV/RS.
When the Encore Essence is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Trailblazer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
On extremely cold winter days, the Encore Essence’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Encore has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Trailblazer L/LS doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The Encore Essence’s 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. The Trailblazer doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The Encore Essence’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Trailblazer’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Buick Encore, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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