2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Encore doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Equinox 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 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 Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision 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 Equinox and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Buick Encore:

Equinox

Encore

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

17%

26%

Neck Stress

190 lbs.

298 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

12 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

26%

38%

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

104 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

264/236 lbs.

249/289 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Buick Encore:

Equinox

Encore

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

357 lbs.

388 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

630 lbs.

672 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

HIC

377

382

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

46 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 Equinox the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty

There are over 47 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Equinox has a standard 700-amp battery. The Encore’s 438-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Encore isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.

Engine

The Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (170 vs. 138) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cyl. The Equinox’s 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (170 vs. 153) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4-cyl. The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 99 more horsepower (252 vs. 153) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox is faster than the Buick Encore:

Equinox 1.5

Equinox 2.0

Encore

Encore DI

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

6.6 sec

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

15.2 sec

17.1 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.1 MPH

92.1 MPH

79.5 MPH

77.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regardless of its engine, the Equinox’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 Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Encore (14.9 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (15.6 vs. 14 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., 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 Equinox 2.0T’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

Equinox 2.0T

Encore

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

10.6 inches

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Encore:

Equinox

Encore

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Equinox has larger standard tires than the Encore (225/65R17 vs. 215/55R18). The Equinox Premier’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (235/50R19 vs. 215/55R18).

The Equinox Premier’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 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 Equinox Premier offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Equinox 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 Encore doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Chevrolet Equinox 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Equinox’s wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than on the Encore (107.3 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Equinox is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

The Equinox Premier AWD handles at .86 G’s, while the Encore pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Equinox Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Equinox has a 1.7 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (7.9 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Equinox to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Equinox 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 Equinox has 10.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (103.2 vs. 92.8).

The Equinox has .4 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 2.5 inches more front hip room, 3 inches more front shoulder room, 4.1 inches more rear legroom, 1.6 inches more rear hip room and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (29.9 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (63.9 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

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

Equinox

Encore

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/67.4”

28.5”/55.8”

Max Width

53.7”

39.5”

Min Width

40.7”

36”

Height

31”

31.8”

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

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

Towing

The Equinox has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity. The Equinox offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Encore does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all 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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Encore doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Equinox detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Equinox 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 Equinox and the Encore offer available heated front seats. The Equinox Premier 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 Equinox Premier 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.

Both the Equinox and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Equinox 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 Equinox Premier 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Equinox Premier has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

The Equinox will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Equinox will retain 46.06% to 49.61% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 41.19% to 42.63%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost less on the Equinox than the Encore, including $15 less for front brake pads and $37 less for front struts.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Encore isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Buick Encore by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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