2019 Buick Encore vs. 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Buick Encore are height-adjustable, and the rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Encore and the Santa Fe Sport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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

 

Encore

Santa Fe Sport

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

122

258

Neck Injury Risk

26%

29%

Neck Stress

298 lbs.

313 lbs.

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

25 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

207

284

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.4 inches

Neck Injury Risk

38%

42%

Neck Stress

122 lbs.

126 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

249/289 lbs.

342/259 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 Buick Encore is safer than the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport:

 

Encore

Santa Fe Sport

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

115

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

150 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

143

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

672 lbs.

686 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

50 G’s

Hip Force

707 lbs.

855 lbs.

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

Warranty

Buick pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Encore. Buick will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Santa Fe Sport.

There are over 2 times as many Buick dealers as there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 2 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Encore gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe Sport:

 

 

Encore

Santa Fe Sport

 

2WD

 

n/a

21 city/27 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (138 HP)/Auto

25 city/33 hwy

20 city/28 hwy

2.0T/Auto

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP)/Auto

26 city/31 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

2.0T/Auto Ultimate

4WD

 

n/a

20 city/26 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (153 HP)/Auto

25 city/30 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

2.0T/Auto

 

1.4 turbo 4 cyl. (138 HP)/Auto

23 city/30 hwy

19 city/24 hwy

2.0T/Auto Ultimate

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Encore w/Direct Injection Engine’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Santa Fe Sport doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Encore has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Santa Fe Sport doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Encore stops much shorter than the Santa Fe Sport:

 

Encore

Santa Fe Sport

 

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

145 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Encore’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Santa Fe Sport’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Santa Fe Sport.

Suspension and Handling

The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the Santa Fe Sport pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Encore AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Santa Fe Sport (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

Chassis

The Buick Encore may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 750 pounds less than the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

The Encore is 1 foot, 4.6 inches shorter than the Santa Fe Sport, making the Encore easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Encore uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Santa Fe Sport doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 36% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.

Ergonomics

The Encore’s front and rear power windows all open fully with one touch of the switches and its driver’s window also automatically closes, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Santa Fe Sport’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.

The Encore Essence’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Santa Fe Sport’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai charges extra for heated mirrors on the Santa Fe Sport.

When the Encore Essence is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Santa Fe Sport’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Encore offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Santa Fe Sport doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe Sport because it costs $252 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Santa Fe Sport, including $26 less for a starter, $171 less for fuel injection, $10 less for a fuel pump, $47 less for front struts and $580 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Buick Encore has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Encore

Santa Fe Sport

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Encore second among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Santa Fe Sport isn’t in the top three.

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

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