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The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the CX-5 and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 all-wheel drive and around view monitors.
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 CX-5 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.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the CX-5’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Encore GX’s camshafts. If the Encore GX’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 Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Buick is ranked 18th.
The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 50 more horsepower (187 vs. 137) and 24 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 162) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The CX-5’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 32 more horsepower (187 vs. 155) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 95 more horsepower (250 vs. 155) and 146 lbs.-ft. more torque (320 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.
An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
The CX-5 FWD’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 CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons).
For better stopping power the CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore GX:
CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The Encore GX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
For superior ride and handling, the Mazda CX-5 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 GX has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the Encore GX (106.2 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 1.7 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore GX.
For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Encore GX’s (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet).
The CX-5 has .1 inches more front legroom, 3.3 inches more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 3.6 inches more rear legroom, 7.8 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CX-5’s rear seats recline. The Encore GX’s rear seats don’t recline.
The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore GX with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 23.5 cubic feet). The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (59.6 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore GX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The CX-5’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Encore GX’s (2000 vs. 1000 pounds).
The CX-5’s 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.
The CX-5’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Encore GX’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore GX doesn’t offer cornering lights.
Both the CX-5 and the Encore GX offer available heated front seats. The CX-5 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore GX.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the CX-5 (except Sport/Touring) 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.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 3 years. The Encore GX has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Buick Encore by 51% during 2019.
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