A closeup of the front end of a gray 2019 Buick Encore

The 2019 Mid-size SUV Showdown: Buick Encore vs Hyundai Kona


According to a 2017 study done by JATO Dynamics, the overall popularity of SUVs is on a steady rise. Between 2014 and 2017, global SUV sales increased dramatically, raising their market share from 22.4% to 34% within those three short years. Now with more options than ever in this booming market, the innovation and competition have become fierce. This article will make an in-depth comparison between the 2019 Buick Encore vs 2019 Hyundai Kona to find out which one holds more advantages, and which one ultimately comes out on top.


The Encore and Kona represent Buick and Hyundai’s take on the compact SUV. Both models feature smaller and sportier frames, similar to that of a hatchback or a crossover. These unique frames are ideal for a car buyer that is interested in having more space in their vehicle while still being able to enjoy a zippy performance and higher MPG.

2019 Buick Encore

Starting at $23,200, the 2019 Buick Encore offers the best of Buick’s classic design sensibilities in a sleek and modern package. The sculpted front fascia, sport exhaust tip, LED-accented taillamps, and distinctive grille design give the Encore a unique look that helps it stand out from the competition. You can also choose from a wide variety of wheel types and eight eye-popping colors to complete the look of your Encore and make its appearance one of a kind.

2019 Hyundai Kona

Starting at $19,240 for its baseline model, 2019 Hyundai Kona offers the same compact SUV design aesthetic with the distinct eastern aesthetic of the Hyundai brand. Available in eight eye-popping colors such as Lime Twist, Pulse Red, and Surf Blue, your Kona is guaranteed to stand out in a crowd. And while this particular Hyundai SUV may not have quite as many overall aesthetic options as the Buick Encore, it’s sure to appeal to a certain audience.


Now that we’ve covered just how good you’ll look in your new sporty SUV, let’s talk performance. Both the 2019 Buick Encore vs 2019 Hyundai Kona are outfitted to zip on the road and even get a little dirty on the trails if you’re feeling adventurous. Regardless of your choice, you would be hard-pressed to find a trip that these two SUVs wouldn’t be up for.

2019 Buick Encore


Starting with impressive stats right out of the gate, the 2019 Buick Encore comes standard with a 1.4L turbo engine that outputs 138 horsepower and a formidable 148 lb-ft of torque. All of this combined results in sporty performance and a high level of responsiveness and efficiency for a car of this size.

In addition to its zippy turbo-charged engine, the Encore really impresses with its various features dedicated to making your ride as smooth as possible. The available intelligent all-wheel-drive system constantly monitors all four wheels and delivers power between them to provide the smoothest and most controlled ride possible regardless of conditions. Working in tandem with the all-wheel-drive system is the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system. This advanced technology automatically applies quick and precise force to your brakes to stabilize your vehicle in instances of slippery roads or hydroplaning.

Lastly is the exceptionally nimble handling of this mid-sized SUV. With its compact design and tight turning radius, the Encore will surprise you with its ability to zip around corners and hug the road.

In their recent review of the 2019 Buck Encore, U.S. News and World Report called the Encore “a terrific daily driver,” going on to state that it “provides a cushioned ride even over rough roads, and [that] there is little body lean around tight corners.”

2019 Hyundai Kona

The 2019 Hyundai Kona comes equipped standard with a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine capable of cranking out 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Kona also features its own optional, unique all-wheel-drive system to keep you in control at all times. It also features an off-road mode, which splits the available torque evenly between the front and rear wheels.

In their review of the 2019 Hyundai Kona, the U.S. News and World Report also had glowing praise to offer for its overall performance. The author stated that the Kona is “comfortable to ride and drive in, with a multilink suspension that keeps it planted and absorbs most rough patches in the road, though sudden bumps can jostle the car.” However, the reviewer goes on to say that the vehicle has a “dull base engine” and criticizes the overall bumpiness you feel in the cabin.


With the exterior and performance aside, let’s focus a bit on what your new SUV is going to look like from the inside. Even if your car is up to challenges both on and off-road, it’s not nearly as fun to drive if you can’t get comfortable.

2019 Buick Encore

A black 2019 Buick Encore driving off with the win for 2019 Buick Encore vs 2019 Hyundai Kona

The Encore continues its impressive streak by offering an interior that looks to address comfort and convenience at every turn. To start, the Encore comes equipped standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and seating for five. Once you and your guests are settled into one of the five cushioned leather seats, you will soon notice the unique QuietTuning technology with active noise cancellation. Buick utilizes triple door seals, acoustic laminated windows and front side window glass to provide an unprecedented level of acoustic isolation between you and the outside world.

A few other interior features include flexible cargo space, push-button start, and an in-vehicle air ionizer, which leaves the air in your Encore clean and fresh.

When describing the overall interior of the Buick Encore, the Edmunds review states “…the Encore has plenty of space for front passengers,” and “the infotainment system is easy to learn, and combined with OnStar provides a robust set of features.”

2019 Hyundai Kona

The Kona’s interior offers an optional heads-up display, which provides speed, navigation, cruise control, and safety information. Hyundai also offers available wireless device charging pad and an available touchscreen audio display.

While the Edmunds review for the 2019 Kona is largely positive, the author criticizes a few of the key interior features, stating that although there is a “decent amount of room, taller drivers and passengers will encounter a few issues.” They also go on to say that the “cabin looks and feels very plasticky. The alternating textures break things up visually a bit, but there’s no hiding the dreary hard plastic.”


Now that we’ve compared the 2019 Buick Encore and the 2019 Hyundai Kona in a variety of categories, it’s time to really crunch the numbers and decide who comes out on top.

In terms of price, the Kona objectively starts at a lower point than the slightly costlier Encore. However, the baseline model for the Encore seems to offer more in the ways of feature and performance capability.

When it comes to the overall appearance and aesthetic of the vehicles, this largely comes down to personal taste. Standing as classic examples of eastern and western design philosophies, both of these vehicles offer their own unique take on the overall approach to the mid-sized SUV. However, for drivers that are looking for a car that feels more refined with less cheap plastic parts, the Buick seems to be ideal option.

So, if this article has you convinced to take a closer look at getting an Encore of your own, head down to your local Buick dealership and test drive one yourself.