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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus UX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Buick Encore GX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the UX Series deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The UX Series’ side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Encore GX’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.
The UX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Front Seatbacks, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Front Seatbacks system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The UX Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The UX Series offers optional Parking Support Brake that uses 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 UX 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 UX Series and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, 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 blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
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 available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the UX Series the rating of “Top Pick” 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 UX 200’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 32 more horsepower (169 vs. 137) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The UX 200’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 14 more horsepower (169 vs. 155) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder. The UX 250h’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 26 more horsepower (181 vs. 155) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.
On the EPA test cycle the UX 250h gets better fuel mileage than the Encore GX 1.3 turbo 3 cyl. AWD Auto (41 city/38 hwy vs. 26 city/29 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the UX 200 FWD CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Encore GX FWD CVT 1.3 turbo 3 cyl. (29 city/37 hwy vs. 30 city/32 hwy).
The UX Series’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore GX’s standard 55 series tires.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the UX Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Encore GX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the UX Series’ wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than on the Encore GX (103.9 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
The UX Series has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room and 4.8 inches more rear hip room than the Encore GX.
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 UX 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 UX 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.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The UX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Encore GX doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the UX 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 UX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The UX Series’ optional rear and 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 UX 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 UX 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 UX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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