When we compare two crossover SUVs like the 2019 Buick Encore and the Kia Sportage, we have to remind ourselves that these are vehicles in two different classes. While the Encore is a subcompact SUV, the Sportage is definitely a compact. So of course the Sportage wins out in, for example, overall passenger space—but not, it just so happens, in front seat head- and legroom. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at what each SUV has to offer.
Price: 2019 Buick Encore
Perhaps because of its smaller size, the 2019 Buick Encore has the lower starting price of just $23,200. But, oh, the standard features! You definitely get your money’s worth, with alloy wheels, six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, flat-folding front passenger seat, push-button start, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, rearview camera, satellite radio, two USB ports, and IntelliLink infotainment system with 8-inch touch screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. You also get standard OnStar and Buick Connected Services as well as QuietTuning and Active Noise Cancellation for a quieter cabin.
The 2019 Kia Sportage costs more, which isn’t surprising since it’s wider and longer. That metal doesn’t come free. The Sportage starts at $23,700, which is surprisingly close to the Encore. But that bargain of a starting price makes sense when you look at the standard features. Hint: there aren’t too many of them. They include six-speed automatic transmission, rearview camera, six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB port, and 5-inch touch screen.
Reliability: 2019 Buick Encore
Reliability is a measure of quality and dependability. JD Power polls owners in their first and third year of ownership to see how well they like their vehicle and how well it’s held up. So a high reliability rating is good news when you drive the car off the lot and once you’ve owned it for some time. Well, get ready for good news because the 2019 Buick Encore leaves buyers feeling satisfied. The Encore scored a 4.5 out of 5 rating, which is almost unheard of in an industry where the average is a flat 3. The Sportage also does well, but gets a 4 out of 5, just a half-step down.
Fuel Economy: 2019 Buick Encore
Again, you think, it pays to be a bit smaller. But the reality is that the base Buick Encore is only 100 pounds lighter than the base Sportage. So what accounts for the Encore’s superior fuel economy relative to the Sportage. As it turns out, the Sportage is a bit of a gas guzzler. While the 2019 Encore gets as good as 26 city miles and 31 highway miles per gallon, the 2019 Sportage gets a subpar 22 city and 29 highway miles mpg. The Sportage’s thirsty engines are a bit of a killjoy. But the Encore is poised to please.