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The NX Series’ optional 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.
The NX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Encore GX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The NX Series’ 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 GX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the NX Series and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Lexus NX Series weighs 667 to 1155 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 IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore GX has not been tested, yet.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Buick is ranked 18th.
The NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 57 more horsepower (194 vs. 137) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 162) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The NX 300h’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 39 more horsepower (194 vs. 155) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder. The NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 80 more horsepower (235 vs. 155) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.
On the EPA test cycle the NX 300h gets better fuel mileage than the Encore GX 1.3 turbo 3 cyl. AWD Auto (33 city/30 hwy vs. 26 city/29 hwy).
The NX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (14.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The NX Series’ standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).
For better traction, the NX Series F Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore GX (235/55R18 vs. 225/55R18).
The NX Series offers an optional 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 GX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the NX Series’ wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Encore GX (104.7 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
The NX Series has 1.9 inches more front legroom, 3.2 inches more front hip room, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom, 6.4 inches more rear hip room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the NX Series’ rear seats recline. The Encore GX’s rear seats don’t recline.
The NX Series has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (54.6 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the NX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Encore GX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
Maximum trailer towing in the Buick Encore GX is limited to 1000 pounds. The NX 300h AWD offers up to a 2000 lbs. towing capacity.
The NX Series 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.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 24% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.
The NX Series’ 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 GX does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The NX Series’ 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 NX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Encore GX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the NX Series F Sport has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Encore GX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The NX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The NX Series’ 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.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the NX Series 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 NX Series 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 Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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