2020 Mercedes GLC vs. 2020 Buick Encore GX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLC 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.

The GLC’s 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 GLC has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The GLC’s 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 GLC and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The Mercedes GLC weighs 618 to 976 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 front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLC its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 87 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore GX has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the GLC’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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the GLC has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Encore GX’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLC third among compact premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Encore GX isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

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The GLC’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 118 more horsepower (255 vs. 137) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 162) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The GLC’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 100 more horsepower (255 vs. 155) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The GLC has 4.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (17.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GLC’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore GX:

GLC

Encore GX

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

11.81 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

10.39 inches

The GLC’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Encore GX are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GLC has larger standard tires than the Encore GX (235/60R18 vs. 225/55R18). The GLC’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore GX (255/45R20 vs. 225/55R18).

The GLC’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore GX’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLC has standard 20-inch wheels. The Encore GX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the GLC 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.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes GLC 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 GLC has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLC flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The GLC offers an available 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.

The GLC has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLC’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLC’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Encore GX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLC’s wheelbase is 10.9 inches longer than on the Encore GX (113.1 inches vs. 102.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLC is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore GX.

Passenger Space

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The GLC has 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.

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

Cargo Capacity

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The GLC has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (56.5 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).

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

Towing

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The GLC’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Encore GX’s (3500 vs. 1000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The GLC 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.

The engine in the GLC is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Encore GX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Encore GX Essence, the GLC offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The GLC’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.

If the windows are left open on the GLC the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore GX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GLC’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.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the GLC to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore GX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the GLC offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore GX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the GLC to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Encore GX doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The GLC’s standard 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.

The GLC has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Encore GX. The GLC 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 GLC 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 GLC 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.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes GLC, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend selected the GLC as their 2017 Sport Utility of the Year. The Encore GX has never been chosen.

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