Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2020 Buick Encore is shown from the front on a rooftop parking garage.

The 2020 Encore vs the 2020 EcoSport: Spot The Differences

It can be challenging to choose between two similar models made by different brands. This is usually because there are competitive and similar features, making it difficult to weigh the pros and cons. This is especially true with the 2020 Buick Encore and 2020 Ford EcoSport. From the outside, viewing these two models is like playing “spot the difference;” even the colors are eerily similar! Considering this, the only way to make a relevant distinction between the two is to take a more in-depth look at each car’s makeup and features. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

A Model Overview

The Encore is equipped with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which is standard with all 2020 Encore models. The upgrades aren’t engine related. If you want the fancier tech and aesthetic appeal, you’ll want to go higher than the 1SV and look into the Preferred, Sport Touring, or Essence models. It’s also good to consider the Encore GX, which is an entirely different model. This one has a smaller engine, leading to better fuel-efficiency, but less power. The Encore GX is also larger than the regular Encore models, landing at 50.2 cu.ft. compared to the regular Encore’s 48.4 cu.ft. If you want more space, the GX may be your best choice.

The EcoSport, however, is more complex. It all depends on the model. For example, the EcoSport S, SE, and Titanium models are all FWD with 1.0-liter three-cylinder engines. If you want that big 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, you’ll either need to pay to upgrade or choose the EcoSport SES model since it comes with the 2.0 as is. Despite this, the 6-speed transmission stays the same regardless of what trim you choose.

In conclusion, all Encore models come with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while the EcoSport’s standard is only a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine. In short, you’ll have to pay extra to upgrade your EcoSport, but even the base-level Encore is equipped with at least four cylinders, making it more powerful for those who don’t want to upgrade to a higher cost model. With that said, right off the bat, the Encore takes the lead in the competition.

Aesthetic Appeal

An orange 2020 Ford EcoSport is driving on a blurred desert road.

These two cars are almost identical, minus the fact that the Encore has a more luxurious appeal. The EcoSport looks a bit more plain, largely due to its grill. The grill sets the mood for the whole vehicle in both cases, with the Encore having a much more pleasant appearance. Otherwise, these compact SUVs don’t have many visual differences. Really, what it boils down to is that the aesthetic choice will depend on your color preferences and the grill style you prefer. The best way to explain the grill issue is that the Encore looks like it’s smiling at you, while the EcoSport just seems indifferent.

Technology Comparisons

The 2020 Buick Encore is equipped with Apple CarPlay, but if you’re an Android user, you don’t have to feel left out this time. Buick is looking out for their Droid users, too; Android Auto compatibility is also included! This is all part of the Buick infotainment system, which is a touchscreen technology that’s planted right where those old-fashioned AM/FM radios used to be. The Encore GX comes with even more tech features, like a Yelp Reservations option, and wireless smartphone charging.

Additional services include a 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot, and the MyBuick Mobile App, which relates to Buick Connect Services. Since you probably already know what a Hotspot is, let’s start with the MyBuick Mobile App. This app gives you access to diagnostics and controls from a distance. It’s kind of like those fancy modern heating and cooling units that let you control the temperature from your phone. To say that this vehicle is jam-packed with technology would be an understatement.

The 2020 Ford EcoSport is packed with similar features, including the FordPass Connect feature, Alexa, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibilities. Connect is just like the MyBuick Mobile app, offering diagnostics and controls. So, with that in mind, it seems that as far as technology is concerned, both cars perform pretty well. However, the Encore GX appears to come out on top with the most extensive list of features.

Safety Features

A black 2020 Buick Encore is shown from the side in front of a red building after winning the 2020 Buick Encore vs 2020 Ford EcoSport comparison.

Most practical drivers will want up-to-date safety features because no other features matter if a vehicle cannot get you from one place to the next safely. And it’s safe to say that both cars do pretty well in that area. Let’s start with the Encore. The Encore includes side blind-zone alert, which does exactly what you’d assume: it alerts you when something is detected in your blind zone. It also has a rear vision camera, a rear cross-traffic alert, and OnStar. The GX offers even more safety features, including adaptive cruise control, automatic parking, and high-definition surround vision.

The Ford EcoSport also includes cross-traffic alert, and it has stop and start tech, and hill start assist, which helps you stay safe on messy terrain. Higher trims include a windshield wiper deicer, but overall, most safety features stay universal with the EcoSport. It is also optional to add a remote start for an additional price. The standard features are pretty similar between the two, so it looks as though safety is consistent in both the Ford and the Buick in this case. It really depends on if you have more trouble parking, or if you often find yourself cruising down a gravel backroad.

Pricing Overview

Now we get into the biggest part of the decision: which option fits into your budget? We’ll start with the base level Encore and then move to the EcoSport. Keep in mind that we’re looking at standard prices, so optional upgrades and add-ons aren’t factored in here. Now, let’s get to it. The Encore 1 SV has an MSRP of $23,200, and the Preferred trim starts at $25,595. The Encore GX comes in different trims as well, with Preferred being its base trim. This one MSRPs from $25,095, a bit cheaper for the reasons we discussed earlier. The Select trim starts at $26,695, and finally, the Essence starts at $29,495.

The EcoSport S starts at $19,995, followed by the SE at $23,450. The Titanium’s MSRP is $26,265, and the top-level SES starts at $26,265. There aren’t any special additions of the EcoSport to report on, but the price can definitely go up if you add special packages and options that aren’t included in the standard versions.

In summary, the Encore is a bit pricier, but as we saw earlier, its engine is standard across the boards. And when it comes to the EcoSport, you’re getting what you pay for. The lower tier EcoSport models are cheaper for a reason. If you care more about power, the Encore is worth the money, but if eco-friendliness is more important to you, the EcoSport is a good choice.

The Best Option For You?

Overall, choosing the best option for you depends on your preferences. And if you’re going to finance a new vehicle, the small price difference between the Encore and the EcoSport is generally worth it. You don’t have to go wild by getting the top-tier Encore to get your money’s worth. The Encore S has better benefits than the EcoSport S does, so at base-level, it’s worth the extra cost. So while the choice is up to you, we suggest the Buick Encore because it is equipped with the most features upfront.