2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Lexus NX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Lexus NX Series has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Compared to metal, the Encore’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Lexus NX Series has a metal gas tank.

Both the Encore and the NX Series 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.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Buick Encore is safer than the Lexus NX Series:

Encore

NX Series

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

122

209

Neck Injury Risk

26%

46%

Neck Stress

298 lbs.

509 lbs.

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

24 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/313 lbs.

480/609 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

207

355

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.4 inches

Neck Injury Risk

38%

42%

Neck Stress

122 lbs.

295 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

249/289 lbs.

442/307 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Buick Encore is safer than the Lexus NX Series:

Encore

NX Series

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

192

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

148 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

317

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

49 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

HIC

382

542

Hip Force

707 lbs.

828 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

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There are over 8 times as many Buick dealers as there are Lexus 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 NX Series’ engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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 Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 12th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Encore gets better fuel mileage than the NX Series:

MPG

Encore

2WD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

4WD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

NX Series

2WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

4WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

F Sport 2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The NX 300 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Encore 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 NX Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Encore stops much shorter than the NX Series:

Encore

NX Series

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

142 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 NX Series’ standard 65 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the NX 300 F Sport AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the NX Series’ (36.7 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Buick Encore may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 800 pounds less than the Lexus NX Series.

The Encore is 1 foot, 2.3 inches shorter than the NX Series, making the Encore easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Passenger Space

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The Encore has 21.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the NX Series (92.8 vs. 71.6).

The Encore has 1.4 inches more front headroom and .7 inches more rear headroom than the NX Series.

The front step up height for the Encore is 1.3 inches lower than the NX Series (16.8” vs. 18.1”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 1.2 inches lower than the NX Series’ (16.8” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore has a much larger cargo volume than the NX Series with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 17.7 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 NX Series’ liftover is 31.2 inches.

Servicing Ease

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The Encore has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The NX Series doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

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The Encore’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The NX Series’ power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 NX Series doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Encore will cost $460 less than the NX Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the NX Series because it costs $718 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the NX Series, including $172 less for a water pump, $231 less for a muffler, $320 less for a starter, $489 less for fuel injection, $65 less for a fuel pump, $43 less for front struts and $599 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Encore will be $4481 to $9254 less than for the Lexus NX Series.

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 2020/10/25

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

Encore

NX Series

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Buick Encore outsold the Lexus NX Series by 74% during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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