European quality and styling in with an American badge makes for a good mid-size sedan.
European quality and styling in with an American badge makes for a good mid-size sedan.
The Buick Regal offers fans of the brand a pretty good car with rich heritage, but more importantly some good looks as well as some decent features and options at a competitive price point. The base model Buick Regal does have a bit of a higher start off MSRP than some of the segment rivals at almost over $28,000, so it warrants a closer inspection to see if there’s a good enough reason for buyers to choose the mid-size sedan over options like the Honda Accord or the Ford Fusion, that starts off at around $22,000. What does that extra $6,000 get you? For one it’s not a Chinese-made car like the Buick Envision, this one has its roots in Europe thanks to sharing a platform with one of GM’s offerings over there, the Opel Insignia, and is put together just across the border in Canada. But is a re-badged European car reason enough for a higher sticker price? Quite possibly, this could be one of GM’s best-kept secrets.
The mid-range Sport Touring model offers the best of everything though and an affordable price point.
Once you open the door and climb inside the Buick Regal, you’re greeted with a rather premium-looking, semi-luxury sedan. Of course in the higher trim models this is more apparent than the entry-level model, but even that car impresses. The mid-range Sport Touring model offers the best of everything though and an affordable price point. There are stylish and comfortable front bucket seats with the driver’s seat being eight-way power adjustable to get that perfect seating position. The driver and passenger seats ate heated too for winter days. Once seated you’re faced with a really good-looking steering wheel that’s nice and thick to grab on to with easy to use multifunction controls on the sideways spokes. The controls allow access to everything from phone to the whole infotainment system, which is a proper selling point. There’s an Interesting dashboard design and layout, rounded and bulbous but it looks good, its actually quite sporty and luxurious and there’s just enough trimming to break the main color. You can see some shiny plastic around the center console and the aircon controls and it looks ok, but will quickly show dust and finger marks as it controls the dual zone automatic climate control. The buttons for the systems react to a soft touch and also have a good look and feel to them. A little lower down the shift lever looks good and is in easy reach, it maneuvers easily too. The center console fits two average sized water bottles, but there’s not much more storage space when you open up the lid to get access to the USB ports and charger.
Space up front is good, but being on an older platform means rear space suffers, there’s not a whole lot of legroom.
Centerpiece in the dash is crisp and clear 8-inch touch screen that heads up the infotainment system. Space up front is good, but being on an older platform means rear space suffers, there’s not a whole lot of legroom. Two full-size adults can fit ok, but if they’re taller than average they may feel a little squished up. Trunk space is ok, but again thanks to the older platform the space comes in a fair bit smaller than segment rivals, the Buick Regal has 14,3 cubic feet whereas the like of the Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord measure in at 15,8 cubic feet and the Ford Fusion 16 dead. There’s a high load edge but seeing as the trunk is a little smaller loading is not affected much. As usual, for bigger loads there are folding 60/40 spilt rear folding seats. Overall the build quality is excellent and things like the leather trim on the doors gives that premium European look and feel, which is never a bad thing.
For an even better drive you can option the all-wheel drive in the lower trim levels (around $2,400).
Undoubtedly. With the Buick Regal being a rebadged version of the Opel Insignia that’s sold in Europe, it means it has a very solid and competent feel when driving the car. European handling and tuning is probably not much different from that in other countries, and maybe the difference might just be thanks to an active and wishful imagination but it does feel different. Maybe an easier way to describe it is that the feeling the Buick Regal gives is of that of a bigger, more premium car when it actually isn’t. For a front-wheel drive car, the Regal is quite responsive and the handling is pretty good. For an even better drive you can option the all-wheel drive in the lower trim levels (around $2,400) or have it as standard in the GS trim. The system features an electronically controlled slip differential for the rear section and this makes the drive experience just a bit more fun. This is especially evident on the models with the turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplant. It makes the Buick Regal a much more fun and involving drive that many of its mid-size segment competitors like the Chevrolet Malibu.
If you want to go fast, the transmission keeps up with the engine revs perfectly.
On the transmission side of things the Buick regal, all models, can only be had with an automatic transmission. Luckily the Buick Regal has a very good one: shifts are seamless no matter if you’re taking a slow drive or nailing it from the line. In slower traffic the car will always be in the appropriate gear keeping the revs nice and low but making use of the torque band of the engine optimally. This is the case even with the lowest powered normally aspirated engine. If you hit a steep hill the transmission will drop gears as needed and it does so without out any jerking or struggle. There’s also no hunting for gears, the right gear is selected at the right time. If you want to go fast, the transmission keeps up with the engine revs perfectly. For the range-topping Buick Regal GS, the transmission was specifically created for the all-wheel drive system and makes for a great sporty drive.
The Regal 1SV, is fitted with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline.
There are five trim levels in the Buick Regal range and only the entry-level version, the Regal 1SV, is fitted with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline that produces 182-hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. While it’s the baby engine, it’s no slouch and gives good performance, if a little slow out of the blocks. Consumption is at 19 mpg for the city and 31 mpg on the highway. It’s not amazing, but offers a smooth run; it revs up freely and is good at the price point comparing well with rivals. This version can only be had in a front-wheel drive configuration and the all-wheel drive isn’t an option. The same goes for the next model up, the Buick Regal Sport Touring, there’s no all-wheel drive option available, but this model does have the bigger engine shared with the rest of the range too.
A responsive and powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline unit.
These four trims all share the same engine, a responsive and powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline unit with a rather healthy 259-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque on tap. As said, with the Regal Sport Touring the engine is only available with a front-wheel drive setup. With much more power available the car is obviously quicker in just about every aspect, and it manages to return consumption figures better than the normally aspirated model with 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg for the highway. The Regal, the Premium II and the GS also have this engine fitted but they have all-wheel drive, which as expected is a little heavier and that affects fuel consumption, so here we see 19 mpg for the city and 27 mpg on the highway. There is only an automatic transmission option for the whole range, but the GS sees fitment of specially tailored gearing and software to make it feel more alive and sporty, and it works.
In that price range you can also take a look at the likes of the Chevrolet Malibu and the Honda Accord.
The Regal AWD that starts at $32,390 (without options) is likely the pic of the range, but if you have the budget for the top-of-range regal AWD GS at $37,465 would certainly not disappoint. While the platform is starting to age and a completely new one is rumored for 2018, the Buick Regal looks to be a bargain, especially since the average car sold in the States today is going for around $33,000. In that price range you can also take a look at the likes of the Chevrolet Malibu and the Honda Accord, and if you make a bit of a stretch, even a lower spec Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series
The Buick Regal also received a 5 out of 5 crash test score from the U.S government testing.
We’ve already established that the interior of the Regal is a pretty good place to be, and the on board tech and driver aids just add to this. That 8-inch infotainment screen is really good, possibly one of the best in the segment, besides possibly the similar system found in the Ford Fusion and other new Ford models. The screen displays crisp, clear colors and doesn’t give off too much reflection making for easy use. It’s an intuitive system that makes accessing the radio, the navigation system and many other car functions a breeze, Apple CarPlay and Android too. It also makes use of Siri Eyes and Natural Voice Recognition. Driver aids include the likes of cruise control, stability control, traction control, a rear-vision camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, and a comprehensive array of airbags that includes dual-stage frontal driver and right-front passenger airbags, side-impact airbags for the driver and right-front passenger and head curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard seating positions. The Buick Regal also received a 5 out of 5 crash test score from the U.S government testing. It also received a good overall rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but strangely doesn’t have a top pick as many rivals do, but that’s probably down to the platform starting to show age and it would have been a top safety pick in the year it was first launched.
We’d have to say that it is, even though we say the same about some other cars. The reason is that this is probably one of the best cars that Buick makes today; it’s a fantastic mid-size premium sedan. It can be classed as an entry-level luxury brand; it’s not quite a Lexus competitor but can hold it’s own against rivals like the Acura TLX. If it were an all-out luxury car you want from then you’d need to look to something from Cadillac. While the Buick Regal starts off at a higher price than some competitors, it does offer a lot of value for the money you will pay. Overall, we definitely feel the Buick Regal is a vehicle you should consider.