2021 Buick Encore vs. 2021 Kia Soul

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 2020/10/23

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 Kia Soul has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Encore offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Soul doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Compared to metal, the Encore’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Soul has a metal gas tank.

Both the Encore and the Soul 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Encore’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Soul’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

There are almost 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Kia 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 Soul’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’ 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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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

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

Transmission

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The Buick Encore comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Soul.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Encore

Soul

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

10.6 inches

10.3 inches

The Encore stops shorter than the Soul:

Encore

Soul

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Encore has larger tires than the Soul (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 Soul LX/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 Soul LX/S.

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 Soul doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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 Soul doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

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 Soul’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens 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 Soul’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Encore Preferred’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Soul’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

The Encore’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Soul EX/Turbo.

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 Soul doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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 2020/10/23

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Soul because it costs $237 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Soul, including $130 less for a starter, $163 less for fuel injection and $342 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 2020/10/23

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

Encore

Soul

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Buick Encore outsold the Kia Soul by 4369 units during 2019.

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

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