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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Buick Encore GX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Encore GX doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the XC40 and Encore GX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Encore GX’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Encore GX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The XC40’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the XC40 and the Encore GX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.
The Volvo XC40 weighs 435 to 829 pounds more than the Buick Encore GX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore GX has not been tested, yet.
The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore GX’s (12 vs. 6 years).
Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Encore GX.
The XC40 T4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 50 more horsepower (187 vs. 137) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 162) than the Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder. The XC40 T4’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 32 more horsepower (187 vs. 155) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder. The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 93 more horsepower (248 vs. 155) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 174) than the Encore GX’s optional 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder.
The XC40 has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (14.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the XC40’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore GX:
For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the Encore GX (235/55R18 vs. 225/55R18). The XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore GX (245/45R20 vs. 225/55R18).
The XC40’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore GX’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC40 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Encore GX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
For superior ride and handling, the Volvo XC40 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Encore GX has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The XC40 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the XC40 flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC40’s wheelbase is 4.2 inches longer than on the Encore GX (106.4 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XC40 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore GX.
For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore GX (8.3 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The XC40 has 2.8 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom, 7.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.
The XC40 has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (57.5 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Encore GX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Encore GX doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The XC40’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Encore GX’s (3500 vs. 1000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Buick Encore GX is only 1000 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.
The XC40 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Encore GX uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The XC40’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Encore GX’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the XC40 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Encore GX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The XC40’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Encore GX’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore GX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Encore GX doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC40 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Encore GX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC40 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The XC40’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore GX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the XC40 and the Encore GX offer optional heated front seats. The XC40 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore GX.
Both the XC40 and the Encore GX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the XC40 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore GX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Volvo XC40, based on reliability, safety and performance.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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