2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

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 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid 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 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid has a metal gas tank.

Both the Encore and the Crosstrek Hybrid 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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The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Subaru 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s engine uses 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 rated the Encore third among small suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Crosstrek Hybrid isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 27th, 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Encore’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Crosstrek Hybrid:

Encore

Crosstrek Hybrid

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.6 inches

The Encore stops shorter than the Crosstrek Hybrid:

Encore

Crosstrek Hybrid

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

129 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The Encore 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 Crosstrek Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

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The Buick Encore may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

The Encore is 7.4 inches shorter than the Crosstrek Hybrid, 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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the Encore is .7 inches lower than the Crosstrek Hybrid (16.8” vs. 17.5”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 1.2 inches lower than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s (16.8” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek Hybrid with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 15.9 cubic feet). The Encore has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek Hybrid with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 43.1 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s liftover is 30.7 inches.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 28% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.

Ergonomics

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The engine computer on the Encore automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The Encore’s front and rear power windows all lower 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 Crosstrek Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

The Encore Preferred’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Encore’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Crosstrek Hybrid’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

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 Crosstrek Hybrid 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 Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 2020/10/27

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

Encore

Crosstrek Hybrid

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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