2021 Buick Encore vs. 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Encore and the Santa Fe 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, 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:

Encore

Santa Fe

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

122

454

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

35 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/313 lbs.

374/622 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

207

244

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.5 inches

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:

Encore

Santa Fe

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

141 G’s

Hip Force

388 lbs.

401 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

100

179

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

54 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

54 G’s

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

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 Santa Fe’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Encore’s reliability 18 points higher than the Santa Fe.

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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As tested in Motor Trend the Buick Encore is faster than the Santa Fe 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder:

Encore

Santa Fe

Zero to 60 MPH

9.4 sec

9.6 sec

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 2020/10/25

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

MPG

Encore

FWD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

AWD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

Santa Fe

FWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

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 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Encore stops much shorter than the Santa Fe:

Encore

Santa Fe

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

134 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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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 SE/SEL’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 SE/SEL.

Suspension and Handling

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The Encore has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Encore handles at .82 G’s, while the Santa Fe AWD pulls only .81 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 (28.2 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the Santa Fe’s (36.7 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Buick Encore may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 700 pounds less than the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Encore is 1 foot, 7.4 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the Encore easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Encore has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Santa Fe uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

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 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the Encore is 1.2 inches lower than the Santa Fe (16.8” vs. 18”). The Encore’s rear step up height is 1.7 inches lower than the Santa Fe’s (16.8” vs. 18.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Encore easier. The Encore’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the Santa Fe’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

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 lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Santa Fe’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Santa Fe SEL/Limited’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Santa Fe SEL/Limited.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe because it costs $255 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Santa Fe, including $28 less for a starter, $180 less for fuel injection, $10 less for a fuel pump, $47 less for front struts and $592 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 2020/10/25

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

Encore

Santa Fe

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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