Son's Automotive Group Compares 2016 BMW X3 VS 2016 Buick Encore Near Tucker, GA

Responsive image

2016 BMW X3

Responsive image

2016 Buick Encore

Safety Comparison

The X3 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The X3 offers optional City Collision Mitigation, 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 which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The X3 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Encore only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the X3 and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, front parking sensors, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

The BMW X3 weighs 672 to 993 pounds more than the Buick Encore. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Buick Encore:





5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

281 lbs.

298 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Buick Encore:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

222 lbs.

388 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

46 G’s

Hip Force

355 lbs.

707 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The X3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Encore’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Buick pays for maintenance for the Encore (4/50,000 vs. 2/24,000).

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the X3 has a standard 210-amp alternator (180-amp - X3 diesel). The Encore’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

Engine Comparison

The X3 s/xDrive28i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 102 more horsepower (240 vs. 138) and 112 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The X3 s/xDrive28i’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 87 more horsepower (240 vs. 153) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 177) than the Encore Sport Touring’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The X3 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 147 more horsepower (300 vs. 153) and 123 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 177) than the Encore Sport Touring’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 42 more horsepower (180 vs. 138) and 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 27 more horsepower (180 vs. 153) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 177) than the Encore Sport Touring’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 s/xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Buick Encore (base engine):



Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

9.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.3 MPH

79.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X3 xDrive28d gets better fuel mileage than the Encore AWD (27 city/34 hwy vs. 23 city/30 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the X3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Encore doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the X3’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 Sport Touring.

The X3 has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (17.7 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the X3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:



Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.6 inches

The X3’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 are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X3 has larger standard tires than the Encore (245/50R18 vs. 215/55R18). The X3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19 vs. 215/55R18).

The X3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore’s standard 55 series tires. The X3’s optional 245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Encore’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Encore doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the BMW X3 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 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The X3 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the X3 flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The X3 offers an optional 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’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X3’s wheelbase is 10 inches longer than on the Encore (110.6 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X3 is 3 inches wider in the front and 3.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Encore.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (26.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Passenger Space Comparison

The X3 has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and 4.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The X3 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (27.6 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The X3 has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

The X3’s cargo area is larger than the Encore’s in every dimension:



Length to seat (2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the X3. The Encore doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the X3 has a standard power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Encore doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

The X3 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Encore doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X3’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’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the windows are left down on the X3 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Comfort Access optional on the X3 allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick Encore doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The X3 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The X3’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’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the X3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore 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 X3 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Encore doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the X3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X3 offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The X3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the X3 and the Encore offer optional heated front seats. The X3 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore.

Both the X3 and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the X3 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the X3 offers an optional Active 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.

The X3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Encore doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The X3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the X3 will retain 49.61% to 51.23% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 42.5% to 43.47%.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW X3 has won recognition from these important consumer publications:



Consumer Reports® Recommends



Kiplinger’s Award



Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. With a Total Quality Index of 889, Strategic Vision rated the BMW X3 31 points higher than the Buick Encore for 2015.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.