2021 Buick Encore GX vs. 2020 Mercedes GLC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Encore GX are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The GLC doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Both the Encore GX and the GLC 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore GX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLC. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLC ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Encore GX’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLC’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 5 times as many Buick dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore GX’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 3 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Encore GX gets better fuel mileage than the GLC:

Encore GX

GLC

2WD

1.3 turbo 3 cyl./Auto

30 city/32 hwy

22 city/29 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

1.2 turbo 3 cyl./Auto

28 city/31 hwy

n/a

4WD

1.3 turbo 3 cyl./9-spd Auto

26 city/29 hwy

21 city/28 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the Encore GX’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLC doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore GX uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Encore GX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GLC doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Buick Encore GX higher (7 out of 10) than the Mercedes GLC (5). This means the Encore GX produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the GLC every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Encore GX has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The GLC doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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The Encore GX’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLC’s standard 60 series tires.

The Encore GX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GLC doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Encore GX has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the GLC; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the Encore GX’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the GLC’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Encore GX has a 2.5 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the GLC (7.5 vs. 5 inches), allowing the Encore GX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Buick Encore GX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 750 to 850 pounds less than the Mercedes GLC.

The Encore GX is 11.9 inches shorter than the GLC, making the Encore GX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Encore GX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GLC doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Encore GX has 1.9 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more front legroom than the GLC.

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore GX has a much larger cargo volume than the GLC with its rear seat up (23.5 vs. 19.4 cubic feet).

Towing

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The Encore GX AWD can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Encore GX can be unhitched and driven around locally. The GLC can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Ergonomics

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In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Encore GX’s available exterior PIN entry system. The GLC doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Encore GX’s available exterior PIN entry system. The GLC doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Encore GX has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLC only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 2020/10/26

The Buick Encore outsold the Mercedes GLC by 39% during 2019.

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