The Buick Encore vs Toyota RAV4
The grandad of Subcompact SUV’s, having been on the market for almost 12 years now, the Toyota RAV4 is pinned against a younger opponent today. A case of experience Vs the power of youth you might be tempted to think, but the Encore proves to be wiser than its competitor, and this is why.
First of all, for a class that's so focused on personal comfort, it's odd how little emphasis Toyota has placed on the interior of their RAV4. It is littered with cheap materials and has an underwhelming style. In contrast, the Encore shines from within. Nothing but top shelf craftsmanship and the quality of the materials used isn’t lacking, anywhere you look. There’s a real sense of getting more than you paid for with the Buick and the complete opposite when it comes to Toyota. A very strange thing since personal comfort is second only to safety in this market segment.
Speaking of which, both the RAV4 and the Encore have scored top marks with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests. 5 stars throughout for both cars and a rearview camera is fitted as a standard in both models, but RAV4 also comes with Toyota Safety Sense P, a set of safety features that consists of a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane keep assist to name a few. There are also safety upgrades available for both cars with Buick and Toyota offering the whole works if you’re willing to pay some extra bucks.
Although the Toyota comes with quite a bit of standard safety tech it inexplicably lacks basic 2018 entertainment technology. There is are no wi-fi hotspot or Smart Device Integration such as Android Auto, or Apple Carplay available in the standard package and both can be found in every Encore model. Also, the Buick has an OnSpot service plan included and connected in the standard package plus an Onboard Hands-Free Communications System.
RAV4 comes with a single engine choice, the 176 HP producing 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine plus six-speed automatic transmission. Again, a fail in our book since this is neither powerful enough to give the Toyota great handling and nimbleness nor is it economical. It will produce just 22-23 miles per gallon in the city and 28-30 on the highway. The Encore has two engine options available, and although they don't excel in terms of performance either, there's at least better mileage per gallon as it gives out between 25 and 26 in city limits and 30-31 on the highway.
All in all, it seems like Toyota have hit the brakes with this version of the RAV4, and they are seriously behind not just the Encore, but the average Subsized SUV model as well. Significant improvements in terms of interior quality, entertainment technology and engine choice must be made to bring this old model in line with the current, modern models of its competition. Today, the race is clearly won by the Buick on almost all accounts.