2021 Hyundai Kona vs. 2021 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 2020/10/29

The Kona has standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, 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 Kona’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 Kona and the Encore 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, 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, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Kona the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2016.

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 2020/10/29

The Kona 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.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Kona 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.

The Kona’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Encore’s (7 vs. 6 years).

Hyundai pays for scheduled maintenance on the Kona for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Hyundai will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Encore.

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 2020/10/29

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Kona has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Encore’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Kona has a standard 640-amp battery. The Encore’s 438-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Kona’s reliability 13 points higher than the Encore.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 12 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

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The Kona’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 9 more horsepower (147 vs. 138) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 37 more horsepower (175 vs. 138) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona is faster than the Buick Encore:

Kona 4 cyl.

Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate

Encore

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.4 sec

9.4 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

15.1 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

91.7 MPH

79.5 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 2020/10/29

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

MPG

Kona

2WD

1.6 Turbo 4-cyl.

28 city/32 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

4WD

1.6 Turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/29 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

Encore

2WD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

4WD

1.4 Turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

Transmission

© 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

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Hyundai Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

The Kona offers an available 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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For better stopping power the Kona AWD/1.6T’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

Kona AWD/1.6T

Encore

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

10.6 inches

The Kona stops shorter than the Encore:

Kona

Encore

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 better traction, the Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R18).

The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’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 Kona 4x4 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 solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Kona has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Kona 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 Kona’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Encore (102.4 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Kona is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Encore.

The Kona SEL 4x4 handles at .88 G’s, while the Encore pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Kona Ultimate executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.7 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (26.9 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

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

For greater off-road capability the Kona has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (6.7 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Kona to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Hyundai Kona may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 350 pounds less than the Buick Encore.

The Kona is 4.4 inches shorter than the Encore, making the Kona easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

© 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 Kona has .7 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear hip room and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

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 2020/10/29

The Kona has a larger cargo volume than the Encore with its rear seat up (19.2 vs. 18.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Kona easier. The Kona’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.5 inches, while the Encore’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

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

Kona

Encore

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

28.6”/61”

28.5”/55.8”

Max Width

48”

39.5”

Min Width

40”

36”

Height

30”

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 2020/10/29

The Kona Ultimate has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Encore doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Kona SEL/Night/Limited/Ultimate’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Encore’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Kona Ultimate detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Kona’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The Kona SEL/Night/Limited/Ultimate has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Encore.

The Kona Limited/Ultimate’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Kona Ultimate has a standard 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 Hyundai Kona SEL Plus/Limited/Ultimate has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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The Kona will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Kona will retain 44.01% to 46.2% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 34.79% to 38.48%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Kona is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost much less on the Kona than the Encore, including $214 less for front brake pads, $128 less for a fuel pump and $266 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Kona will be $2445 to $4429 less than for the Buick Encore.

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

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Kona and the Buick Encore, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Kona third among small suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Encore isn’t in the top three.

The Kona was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2019. The Encore has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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