2021 Volvo XC60 vs. 2021 Buick Encore GX

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 2020/10/30

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC60 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 XC60’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 XC60 and Encore GX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC60 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 Volvo XC60 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. Buick doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Encore GX. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC60 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The XC60 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 XC60 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.

The XC60’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 XC60 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, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

The Volvo XC60 weighs 631 to 1049 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-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore GX has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC60’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore GX’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC60 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.

Reliability

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The battery on the XC60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Encore GX’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC60 has more powerful engines than the Encore GX:

Horsepower

Torque

XC60 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC60 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC60 T8 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

XC60 T8 P.E. 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

415 HP

494 lbs.-ft.

Encore GX 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder

137 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Encore GX 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder

155 HP

174 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC60 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Encore GX AWD (56 city/57 hwy MPGe vs. 26 city/29 hwy).

The XC60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 19 miles. The Encore GX must run its internal combustion engine to move.

The XC60 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (18.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XC60’s standard fuel tank has 5.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (18.8 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore GX:

XC60 T5

XC60 T8 P. E.

Encore GX

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

11.81 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

10.39 inches

The XC60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Encore GX are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC60 has larger standard tires than the Encore GX (235/60R18 vs. 225/55R18). The XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore GX (265/35R22 vs. 225/55R18).

The XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 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 XC60 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Encore GX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Volvo XC60 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 XC60 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the XC60 flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The XC60 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC60 T6/T8 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC60’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC60’s wheelbase is 10.6 inches longer than on the Encore GX (112.8 inches vs. 102.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC60 is 4 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Encore GX.

For greater off-road capability the XC60 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore GX (8.5 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the XC60 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The XC60 has .6 inches more front legroom, 4.5 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear legroom, 7.9 inches more rear hip room and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC60 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore GX with its rear seat up (30.2 vs. 23.5 cubic feet). The XC60 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore GX with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 50.2 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC60. The Encore GX doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The XC60’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Encore GX’s (3500 vs. 1000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The XC60 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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Encore GX Essence, the XC60 R-Design/Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The XC60’s front power windows 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 front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the XC60 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 lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore GX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC60’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 XC60 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 XC60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Encore GX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC60 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Encore GX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC60 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The XC60’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 XC60 and the Encore GX offer optional heated front seats. The XC60 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.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the XC60 Inscription keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Encore GX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The XC60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Encore GX.

The XC60 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Encore GX Select/Essence.

Both the XC60 and the Encore GX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the XC60 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.

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 2020/10/30

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volvo XC60, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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