The SUV segments have only become more competitive in recent years, with subcompact, compact, midsize, and large SUVs coming from nearly every brand. With so many options, there is bound to be similar models floating through the segments. The new 2020 Volvo XC40 and 2020 Buick Encore are two such similar SUVs that have so much in common it may be hard to see any difference at all.
The 2020 Buick Encore and Volvo XC40: how they’re similar
The 2020 Buick Encore and 2020 Volvo XC40 are both smaller SUVs, with seating for five passengers. Both offer at least three trim levels for buyers to choose from, standard front-wheel drive (with available AWD), and a standard, four-cylinder engine.
Although differently designed, both the Encore and XC40 offer around the same cargo capacity, at roughly 26 cubic feet. Their efficient powertrains result in similar fuel ratings, with both earning around 16 mpg in the city and 32-33 mpg on the highway.
The 2020 Buick Encore and Volvo XC40 fared nearly identically in Consumer Reports‘ testing, as well. The 2020 Buick Encore comes with an overall score of 71, a road test score of 69/100, and a reliability rating of four out of five. The 2020 Volvo XC40 comes with an extremely comparable overall score of 72, a road test score of 71/100, and a reliability rating of four out of five. Additionally, both the Buick Encore and Volvo XC40 SUVs performed well in safety testing.
What’s different with the 2020 Volvo XC40 and Buick Encore
The Volvo XC40 and Buick Encore have a lot of similarities, but that doesn’t mean they are identical. While Consumer Reports considers both of these vehicles “Luxury Entry-Level” SUVs, many other experts would place them in separate segments.
According to U.S. News, the 2020 Buick Encore’s 7.6/10 overall score places it sixth among subcompact SUVs; far from being considered for the luxury segment. The 2020 Volvo XC40 on the other hand is considered “an outstanding luxury subcompact SUV” and ranks second in its luxury subcompact SUV ratings with an overall score of 8.3/10.
Buick has long straddled the line between non-luxury and luxury segments, falling into a tier considered “premium,” while Volvo has always existed in the luxury stratosphere, albeit as an “entry-level” option for the segment.
This slight difference in brand placement also impacts what should be considered the biggest difference between the Encore and XC40 SUVs: pricing. While the 2020 Buick Encore’s base models start around $23,000 and $30,000 for upper trim levels, the Volvo XC40’s models begin at around $33,000 and can get up to nearly $40,000 for higher trims.
Other ever-so-slight differences can be found between these two SUVs as well. Both receive a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but the XC40’s larger 2.0-liter engine puts out 248 hp over the Encore’s 1.4-liter engine making 153 hp. The Encore is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the XC40 receives an eight-speed automatic.
The Volvo’s interior is slightly more “high-end,” with a standard 9-inch touchscreen over the Encore’s 8-inch screen. Volvo also offers more in the way of standard safety features, whereas many of the Buick Encore’s driver-assist features are considered available options.
With a lot of similarities, is one better than the other?
Although the Volvo XC40 comes with a competitive price in the luxury SUV segment, it still has the potential to cost more than $10,000 than the Buick Encore. And while there are certainly differences between the two subcompact SUVs, the 2020 Buick Encore comes close enough to the Volvo XC40 to make the Encore a better value.
Aside from the difference in starting prices, all other contrasts are barely worth mentioning. For buyers seeking the luxury of a Volvo, the XC40 is the way to go. For buyers looking for a better value, the Encore definitely fits the bill.