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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Encore GX are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Kona doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Encore GX Select/Essence offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Kona only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Both the Encore GX and the Kona have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
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 GX’s warranty.
The Encore GX has a solid front axle with a floating power axle for durability that the Kona 4x4’s independent front suspension and exposed front driveshafts don’t offer.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.
The Encore GX’s standard 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder produces 30 lbs.-ft. more torque (162 vs. 132) than the Kona’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.
On the EPA test cycle the Encore GX gets better fuel mileage than the Kona:
1.3 Turbo 3-cyl.
30 city/32 hwy
2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.
27 city/33 hwy
1.6 Turbo 4-cyl.
28 city/32 hwy
Regenerative brakes improve the Encore GX’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Kona doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Encore GX’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 Kona doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Encore GX 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 Kona doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Buick Encore GX higher (7 out of 10) than the Hyundai Kona (5). This means the Encore GX produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Kona every 15,000 miles.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Encore GX AWD, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Kona.
The Encore GX FWD has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Kona doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Encore GX has larger tires than the Kona (225/55R18 vs. 205/60R16).
The Encore GX’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kona SE’s standard 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore GX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kona SE.
The Encore GX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Kona doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For greater off-road capability the Encore GX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Kona (7.5 vs. 6.7 inches), allowing the Encore GX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The front grille of the Encore GX uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Kona doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Encore GX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Kona doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Encore GX has .1 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more rear headroom and 1.4 inches more rear legroom than the Kona.
The Encore GX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kona with its rear seat up (23.5 vs. 19.2 cubic feet). The Encore GX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kona with its rear seat folded (50.2 vs. 45.8 cubic feet).
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Encore GX’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Kona doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
The Encore GX has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Kona has no towing capacity.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 39% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.
When two different drivers share the Encore GX Essence, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The Kona doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Encore GX Essence’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Kona doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Encore GX’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Kona has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The Encore GX’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 Kona’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. The Kona SEL/Limited/Ultimate’s rear windows don’t open automatically.
The Encore GX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Kona SEL/Limited/Ultimate.
When the Encore GX 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 Kona’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
On extremely cold winter days, the Encore GX Essence’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Kona doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Encore GX Select/Essence’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Kona doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The Encore GX Essence has a 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 Kona doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Encore GX Essence’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Kona doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Buick Encore outsold the Hyundai Kona by 40% during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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