Son's Automotive Group Compares 2018 Kia Sportage VS 2018 Buick Encore Near Braselton, GA

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2018 Kia Sportage

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2018 Kia Sportage

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2018 Buick Encore

Safety Comparison

The Sportage offers optional Autonomous 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 has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

Both the Sportage 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty Comparison

The Sportage 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.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 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.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Sportage has a standard 140-amp alternator (150-amp - Sportage SX Turbo AWD). The Encore’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sportage has a standard 600-amp battery. The Encore’s 438-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage second among small suvs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Encore was rated third.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 13th.

Engine Comparison

The Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 43 more horsepower (181 vs. 138) and 27 lbs.-ft. more torque (175 vs. 148) than the Encore’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Sportage’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 28 more horsepower (181 vs. 153) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 87 more horsepower (240 vs. 153) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 177) than the Encore’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 4 cyl. is faster than the Buick Encore:





Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.4 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.1 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

79.5 MPH

77.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Sportage has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore (16.4 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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


Sportage LX/EX

Sportage SX Turbo


Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.6 inches

The Sportage stops shorter than the Encore:





70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Sportage has larger standard tires than the Encore (225/60R17 vs. 215/55R18). The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Encore (245/45R19 vs. 215/55R18).

The Sportage SX Turbo’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.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage SX Turbo has standard 19-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Kia Sportage 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 rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Sportage has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sportage 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 Sportage’s wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the Encore (105.1 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Encore.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Encore pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the Encore Premium AWD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’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 Sportage has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Encore (6.8 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the Sportage to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Sportage has 5.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Encore (98.6 vs. 92.8).

The Sportage has .7 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front hip room, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Sportage’s rear seats recline. The Encore’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Sportage has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Encore with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 18.8 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Encore with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

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




Length to seat (2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width



To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sportage’s power liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Sportage’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Encore doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Sportage has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Sportage 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 Sportage SX Turbo has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Sportage and the Encore offer available heated front seats. The Sportage also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Encore.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except LX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Encore doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the Sportage and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sportage has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost less on the Sportage than the Encore, including $154 less for front brake pads, $32 less for a starter, $84 less for a fuel pump and $165 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

The Kia Sportage has won recognition from these important consumer publications:




Consumer Reports® Recommends



Car Book “Best Bet”



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