2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer vs. 2020 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/08/14

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Trailblazer are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Encore doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Trailblazer has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Encore offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Both the Trailblazer and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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 blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 48 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Trailblazer’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.

Engine

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The Trailblazer’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder produces 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Trailblazer’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder produces 17 more horsepower (155 vs. 138) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (174 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Trailblazer

FWD

1.2 Turbo 3-cyl.

28 city/31 hwy

1.3 Turbo 3-cyl.

29 city/33 hwy

AWD

1.3 Turbo 3-cyl.

26 city/30 hwy

Encore

FWD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

AWD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the Trailblazer’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Buick only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Encore w/Direct Injection Engine.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chevrolet Trailblazer higher (7 out of 10) than the Buick Encore (5). This means the Trailblazer produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Encore every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is on the Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

The Trailblazer has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Encore doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Trailblazer LS/LT/ACTIV’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (225/60R17 vs. 215/55R18).

The Trailblazer has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Encore doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Trailblazer’s wheelbase is 3.3 inches longer than on the Encore (103.9 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Trailblazer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Encore doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Trailblazer has .4 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 3.6 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

Cargo Capacity

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The Trailblazer has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (25.3 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Trailblazer has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (54.4 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

The Trailblazer’s cargo area is larger than the Encore’s in almost every dimension:

Trailblazer

Encore

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

32”/64.5”

28.5”/55.8”

Max Width

54”

39.5”

Min Width

41”

36”

Height

28.2”

31.8”

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Trailblazer LT/ACTIV/RS’ power liftgate can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

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The Trailblazer has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Encore has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Trailblazer’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch. The Encore has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Trailblazer’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Encore doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Trailblazer detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Trailblazer (except L/LS) offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Encore doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV/RS offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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