2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Volvo XC60

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 Volvo XC60 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Encore and the XC60 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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 Volvo covers the XC60. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the XC60 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 7 times as many Buick dealers as there are Volvo 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 XC60’s engines use 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 33 points higher than the XC60.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Encore third among small suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The XC60 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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 60 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 31st, 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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 86 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 6 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Encore gets better fuel mileage than the XC60:

MPG

Encore

2WD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

4WD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

XC60

2WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

4WD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

2.0 supercharged turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The XC60 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Encore stops much shorter than the XC60:

Encore

XC60

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

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 XC60’s standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The XC60’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The front and rear suspension of the Encore uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the XC60, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the XC60’s (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 650 to 700 pounds less than the Volvo XC60.

The Encore is 1 foot, 4.2 inches shorter than the XC60, 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 XC60 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Encore has 1.6 inches more front headroom and .8 inches more rear headroom than the XC60.

The front step up height for the Encore is 2.2 inches lower than the XC60 (16.8” vs. 19”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 2.7 inches lower than the XC60’s (16.8” vs. 19.5”).

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

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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 XC60’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Encore has standard extendable sun visors. The XC60 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 XC60 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Encore with a number “5” insurance rate while the XC60 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the XC60 because it costs $191 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the XC60, including $133 less for a water pump, $354 less for a starter, $358 less for fuel injection, $441 less for a fuel pump and $77 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Encore will be $8717 to $27180 less than for the Volvo XC60.

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

XC60

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Buick Encore outsold the Volvo XC60 by over three to one during 2019.

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