2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

The Niro has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Encore doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Encore offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Encore doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Niro and the Encore 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Niro its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

The Niro comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Encore’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Niro 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Buick covers the Encore. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Encore ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 9 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 1 more horsepower (139 vs. 138) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Kia Niro is faster than the Buick Encore:

Niro

Encore

Zero to 30 MPH

3.6 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.9 sec

11 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

6.6 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

17.6 sec

18.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

80 MPH

77.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

On the EPA test cycle the Niro gets better fuel mileage than the Encore:

MPG

Niro

FWD

LX 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

52 city/49 hwy

LXS/EX 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

51 city/46 hwy

Touring 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

46 city/40 hwy

Encore

FWD

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

AWD

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Encore doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro higher (7 out of 10) than the Buick Encore (5). This means the Niro produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Encore every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Niro offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Encore doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Niro stops shorter than the Encore:

Niro

Encore

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Niro Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (225/45R18 vs. 215/55R18).

The Niro Touring’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Kia Niro has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Encore has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Niro has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Niro flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Niro’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the Encore (106.3 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Niro is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Encore.

The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the Encore AWD pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring Special Edition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Encore’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

Passenger Space

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The Niro has 8.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (100.9 vs. 92.8).

The Niro has .5 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

The front step up height for the Niro is 1.3 inches lower than the Encore (15.5” vs. 16.8”). The Niro’s rear step up height is .6 inches lower than the Encore’s (16.2” vs. 16.8”).

Cargo Capacity

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

The Niro has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (19.4 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Niro has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (54.5 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

The Niro’s cargo area is larger than the Encore’s in every dimension:

Niro

Encore

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

31.8”/64”

28.5”/55.8”

Max Width

48.2”

39.5”

Min Width

41”

36”

Height

36”

31.8”

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

The Niro EX Premium’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Encore’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Niro has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Niro LXS/Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Niro EX Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Encore doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Niro has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Encore Essence.

Both the Niro and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Niro Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Niro Touring/Touring Special Edition/EX Premium has a standard Advanced Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Encore doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Niro EX Premium has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/03

The Niro will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Niro will retain 40.77% to 42.14% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 36.57% to 40.02%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Niro will be $1648 to $3496 less than for the Buick Encore.

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

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