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For enhanced safety, the front and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the Buick Encore are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes GLA doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Encore and the GLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Encore the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 192 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.
Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLA. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLA ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLA’s (6 vs. 5 years).
There are over 5 times as many Buick dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.
The Buick Encore’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the GLA’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 GLA 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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 30th, 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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 3 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLA requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Encore has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA (14 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
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 GLA doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
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 GLA; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some tire options on the GLA don’t have a run-flat feature, either.
The Encore has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The GLA’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the GLA’s (36.7 feet vs. 37.4 feet).
The Encore is 5.2 inches shorter than the GLA, making the Encore easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
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 GLA 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 GLA doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Encore has .2 inches more front headroom and .7 inches more rear headroom than the GLA.
The Encore has a much larger cargo volume than the GLA with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Encore has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLA only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
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 GLA doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The Buick Encore has won recognition from these important consumer publications:
Consumer Reports® Recommends
Car Book “Best Bet”
The Buick Encore outsold the Mercedes GLA by almost five to one during 2019.
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