2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Toyota Rav4 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 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Encore and the Rav4 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 Rav4 Hybrid’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 60 percent more Buick dealers than there are Toyota 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 Rav4 Hybrid’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 17 points higher than the Rav4 Hybrid.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Encore third among small suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Rav4 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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 19th, below the industry average.

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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Encore stops much shorter than the Rav4 Hybrid:

Encore

Rav4 Hybrid

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

143 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

145 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 Rav4 Hybrid LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The Encore’s tires are lower profile than the Rav4 Hybrid XSE/Limited’s 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 Rav4 Hybrid LE/XLE.

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Rav4 Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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 Rav4 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 450 pounds less than the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid.

The Encore is 1 foot shorter than the Rav4 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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Encore has .1 inches more front headroom and 2.4 inches more rear hip room than the Rav4 Hybrid.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 17% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The Encore’s standard variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Rav4 Hybrid LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

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 Rav4 Hybrid has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/XSE/Limited.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Toyota charges extra for heated mirrors on the Rav4 Hybrid.

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 Rav4 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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 $550 less than the Rav4 Hybrid over a five-year period.

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

Rav4 Hybrid

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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