2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Fiat 500X

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 2020/10/23

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Buick Encore are height-adjustable, and the rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Fiat 500X has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Encore and the 500X 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500X. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500X ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the 500X’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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

Reliability

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The Buick Encore’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 500X’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Encore’s reliability 67 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Encore third among small suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 500X isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 131 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500X requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Encore has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (14 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Encore stops much shorter than the 500X:

Encore

500X

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The Encore’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X AWD’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 500X AWD.

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the 500X pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Encore AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the 500X Trekking (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Encore has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The 500X uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The Encore uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 500X doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Encore has .5 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more rear headroom and 1 inch more rear legroom than the 500X.

The front step up height for the Encore is 2.6 inches lower than the 500X (16.8” vs. 19.4”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 2.8 inches lower than the 500X’s (16.8” vs. 19.6”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 14.1 cubic feet). The Encore has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 39.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Encore easier. The Encore’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Fiat. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 114% lower rating, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Ergonomics

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The Encore has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 500X only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The Encore has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Encore has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

The Encore Preferred offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 500X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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The Encore is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the 500X, including $98 less for a water pump, $43 less for a starter, $307 less for fuel injection, $145 less for a fuel pump and $40 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/10/23

The Buick Encore has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Encore

500X

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Buick Encore outsold the Fiat 500X by almost 41 to one during 2019.

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