2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Hyundai Kona

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 2020/10/29

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 Kona has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Encore Preferred offers optional Ultrasonic Park Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Kona doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Encore 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, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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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

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The Buick Encore’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Kona’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Encore third among small suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Kona isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 10th.

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.

Engine

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The Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (148 vs. 132) than the Kona’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Buick Encore is faster than the Hyundai Kona 4 cyl.:

Encore

Kona

Zero to 30 MPH

3.8 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

11 sec

11.1 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

6.7 sec

6.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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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 Kona doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Encore’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Kona:

Encore

Kona

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

10.6 inches

10.3 inches

The Encore stops much shorter than the Kona:

Encore

Kona

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Encore has larger tires than the Kona (215/55R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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 Kona SE’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kona SE.

Chassis

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The Encore 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.

Passenger Space

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The Encore has 1 inch more rear headroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the Kona.

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kona with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 45.8 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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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.

Ergonomics

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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 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’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Kona’s passenger power window and power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Consumer Reports rated the Encore’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Kona’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Encore’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.

The Encore Preferred 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 Kona doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Encore with a number “5” insurance rate while the Kona is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Kona because it costs $82 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Encore than the Kona, including $70 less for a water pump, $21 less for a muffler, $123 less for a starter, $39 less for fuel injection, $22 less for front struts and $42 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/10/29

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

Encore

Kona

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Buick Encore outsold the Hyundai Kona by 40% during 2019.

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

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