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Both the RDX and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Acura RDX weighs 510 to 1043 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 RDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 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 RDX’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.
The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 135 more horsepower (272 vs. 137) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 162) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 117 more horsepower (272 vs. 155) and 106 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.
The RDX has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (17.1 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the RDX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore GX:
For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Encore GX (235/55R19 vs. 225/55R18). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore GX (255/40R20 vs. 225/55R18).
The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 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 RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the Encore GX. The RDX A-Spec has standard 20-inch wheels.
For superior ride and handling, the Acura RDX 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 RDX has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RDX flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The RDX 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 RDX’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the Encore GX (108.3 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore GX.
For greater off-road capability the RDX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore GX (8.2 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The RDX has .7 inches more front legroom, 3.1 inches more front hip room, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom, 2.4 inches more rear hip room and 3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.
The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore GX with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 23.5 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore GX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Encore GX doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The RDX’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Encore GX’s (1500 vs. 1000 pounds).
The RDX 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 Acura service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 9% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.
The RDX’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 RDX 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 RDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Encore GX’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The RDX’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 RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Encore GX. The RDX Advance also has standard 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 RDX 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 RDX 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.
Both the RDX and the Encore GX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the RDX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore GX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.
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