|138-153 HP||Horsepower||122 HP|
|148-177 lb-ft||Torque||114 lb-ft|
|48.4 cu.ft||Max Cargo Space||32.3 cu.ft|
While full-size SUVs are great for some people, committing to such a large vehicle can be impractical for a lot of drivers. That is where a small SUV is such a great choice: fitting into people’s lives more easily while still providing a lot of interior space and comfortable features. The Buick Encore is a high-water mark for luxurious small SUVs due to its reputation for high-end performance and remarkable sophistication. By looking at the 2019 Buick Encore vs 2019 Nissan Kicks, the advantages of the Encore become even more pronounced.
Even if you choose a small SUV, you still want plenty of interior space, so the greater cargo capacity of the Encore is a strong selling point. The Encore’s standard engine is more powerful than what comes in the Kicks in every way, which creates greater potential for towing and makes for a more impressive ride all around – plus there is another option for the Encore with even more power. The Encore also has larger tires and an available power moonroof, while the Nissan Kicks lacks any option for a sunroof or moonroof.
Inside, the 2019 Buick Encore sets itself apart with a greater selection of luxury features, a more sophisticated interior layout, and options for a larger center Infotainment display than the Kicks. When you consider the full suite of safety features the Encore also has on offer, it simply takes the lead in every major area. While it is fair to point out that the Buick Encore starts at a slightly higher price than the 2019 Nissan Kicks, that difference is more than justified by what it has to offer.
While the engine in a small SUV might not be quite as important as those in heavy-duty pickup trucks or performance sports cars, it does still matter. The engine is the heart of the beast, so a strong engine is important for everything from towing a small trailer to just getting up a steep incline. The 2019 Nissan Kicks has only a single engine available. It is a 1.6L DOHC 4-cylinder engine that provides up to 122 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. That is certainly not a lot of power. It is enough to get around town on an average day, but when going up a steep incline or trying to haul any kind of weight behind it, the Kicks is probably going to struggle.
On the other hand, the 2019 Buick Encore has two different engines available, and both provide superior power compared to the engine in the Kicks. The standard engine in the Encore is a 1.4L DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder that provides up to 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. That is going to give you better performance than the Kicks, and that extra torque will be noticeable when going uphill or trying to tow something. For even more power, there is an available 1.4L SIDI Turbo engine with Start-Stop technology, which provides up to 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque—while also improving fuel economy.
These are both small SUVs, so you will not be able to pile as much into the back of them as you can into a full-size model. You should still expect to be able to get a lot into any SUV. The 2019 Nissan Kicks has only 32.3 cu.ft. of cargo volume with the rear seats down, whereas the 2019 Buick Encore has more than 48 cu.ft. of cargo capacity. That is a huge difference—about 50% more space for loading up in the Encore compared to the Kicks, which can make a day of tailgating, a weekend camping trip, or just running errands a lot easier.
When considering the exterior features of vehicles like the 2019 Buick Encore and Nissan Kicks, it is important to look beyond just the aesthetics. While it is true that the outside of the Encore is gorgeous, and it definitely makes an impression wherever it goes, there are also practical considerations to keep in mind.
For example, the tires on the 2019 Buick Encore are 18 inches in size, with different styles available. By comparison, the standard tires on the 2019 Nissan Kicks are only 16 inches in size with higher trim levels upgrading that to 17 inches. While that might not seem like a huge difference, in reality, that is definitely something you will notice if you go off-road at all, or just encounter rough streets in need of repair.
It is also worth pointing out that the 2019 Buick Encore has a power moonroof available at most of its trim levels, which adds a touch of sophistication and makes for a more pleasant driving experience. On the other hand, there is no option for a moonroof or sunroof on the 2019 Nissan Kicks. Even if you go for the highest trim level with the Kicks, you are stuck without any way to enjoy the stars overhead while out for an evening drive.
Interior features are always important—after all, you are going to spend most of your time with your SUV inside of it. The 2019 Buick Encore does not fall short in this area, providing a wealth of sophisticated luxury options with different trim levels to choose from. To get a sense of what is on offer, consider available features for both vehicles, just keep in mind they might be restricted to higher trims.
With the 2019 Buick Encore, you can get an 8-inch color touchscreen Infotainment system with available Navigation. There is an available 7-speaker Bose sound system, active noise cancellation for a more enjoyable ride, and an available 4-inch driver information display. The Encore also has available dual-zone climate control, a driver memory seat, and a heated steering wheel.
By comparison, the 2019 Nissan Kicks features a 7-inch touchscreen display with available Navigation. There is a standard 6-speaker sound system for each trim; though a Bose system is available at the highest trim level. The Kicks has air conditioning, cloth seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel at the highest trim level.
Safety is the single most important consideration when looking at any vehicle. No amount of towing capacity, impressive technology, or a gorgeous exterior matters if an SUV cannot keep you and your loved ones safe. Both of these vehicles have impressive safety features, but the Encore simply pulls ahead.
The 2019 Buick Encore has available forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror that is standard at the highest trim level. There is available lane departure warning, an available rear cross traffic alert that is standard for the highest trim, and 10 airbags. The Encore also has an available side blind zone alert and comes with Stabilitrak with electronic stability and traction control.
On the other hand, the 2019 Nissan Kicks also features numerous airbags and has vehicle dynamic control with traction control. There is an automatic emergency braking system, available blind spot warning, and available rear cross traffic alert. While those are good features all around, the lack of available lane departure warning and parking assist is an unfortunate oversight. These features add to the Buick Encore’s impressive safety package to make for a more powerful, sophisticated, and safer ride overall.