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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 Kicks SV/SR are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Encore doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Kicks has standard Automatic 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Kicks has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Encore doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Kicks SR has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Encore only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Kicks SV/SR’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 Kicks and the Encore have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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 and rearview cameras.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Kicks the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 105 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore has not been fully tested, yet.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 7 places higher in reliability than Buick.
As tested in Consumer Reports the Nissan Kicks is faster than the Buick Encore:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the Kicks gets better fuel mileage than the Encore FWD (31 city/36 hwy vs. 25 city/30 hwy).
The Kicks 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 Encore doesn’t offer a CVT.
The Kicks 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 Encore doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Kicks’ wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Encore (103.1 inches vs. 100.6 inches).
The Kicks SR handles at .83 G’s, while the Encore pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Kicks SR executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Encore AWD (29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the Kicks’ turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Encore’s (34.1 feet vs. 36.7 feet).
The Nissan Kicks may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 650 pounds less than the Buick Encore.
The Kicks has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 2.9 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.
The front step up height for the Kicks is 1.3 inches lower than the Encore (15.5” vs. 16.8”). The Kicks’ rear step up height is .9 inches lower than the Encore’s (15.9” vs. 16.8”).
The Kicks has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (25.3 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Kicks has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (53.1 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).
Insurance will cost less for the Kicks owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Kicks will cost $120 to $845 less than the Encore over a five-year period.
The Kicks will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Kicks will retain 47.01% to 47.03% 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 Nissan Kicks will be $5850 to $10302 less than for the Buick Encore.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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