2020 Buick Regal Sportback

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Review: Style Over Substance

by Morgan Carter

Breaking away from the rest of the midsize sedan pack, the Regal Sportback shows off a sloped roofline that hides surprisingly impressive cargo capacity beneath the hatch-like trunk lid. Based on the same platform as the European Opel Insignia, the Regal is available in either front- or all-wheel-drive. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque in the former guise, and 295 lb-ft in the latter. It also comes mated to either a nine-speed or an eight-speed automatic, respectively. For those looking to jazz up their daily commute without sacrificing practicality, the Buick Regal Sportback is definitely an option. But while it sports a pretty reasonable price tag, it gets only mediocre mileage figures and burns premium gasoline, so it may not be for everyone. A more well-rounded, affordable sedan is the Honda Accord, but it doesn't boast the same spacious cargo capacity and sleek good looks.

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs 2019 Regal Sportback?

Once again, Buick makes little effort to update its midsize sedan, with the Regal Sportback getting only token changes. For 2020, the Preferred II trim has been dropped from the line-up while the only change to standard features is the addition of dual-zone climate control across the range.

Pros and Cons

  • Capable turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain
  • Admirable performance and ride comfort
  • Commodious cabin and cavernous trunk
  • Comprehensive infotainment suite
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Clunky eight-speed automatic on all-wheel-drive
  • Advanced driver-assist features cost quite a bit extra

Regal Sportback Exterior

The almost identical twin to the Regal TourX, the Sportback, follows the standard three-box sedan design trend. However, it has a sloping roof that gives it a slightly bolder stance and the illusion of being quite a bit sportier than it is. The standard model rides on 17-inch alloys, while the upper trims get 18- or 19-inch wheels. Similarly, the standard automatic halogen headlights can be upgraded to LED variants, but the daytime running lights and available fog lights don't get the same treatment. Regardless of type, the headlights are pretty nondescript bricks resting astride the low grille, which plays host to the Buick logo winged with slim horizontal metal bars.

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Front View Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Rear View Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Rear View 1 Buick
See All 2020 Buick Regal Sportback Exterior Photos

Dimensions

While it may look a little sleeker than a standard midsize sedan, the Regal Sportback doesn't depart much from the standard dimensions for this segment. The 111.4-inch wheelbase is accommodated within the lengthy 192.9-inch body, but the slightly lowered roofline gives the Buick a total height of 57.3 inches. Don't let this fool you into thinking you can squeeze into tight spots, though, as the sedan stands 73.3 inches wide without its mirrors. The Sportback is also quite heavy for the midsize sedan segment, weighing in between 3,748 and 4,096 pounds. The more commuter-friendly Honda Accord maxes out at just 3,428 lbs.

Exterior Colors

A palette of seven colors is available to Buick Regal shoppers. The most basic trim only offers three of these, though, with Summit White being the only free option. All the metallic paints require extra investment, with Quicksilver and Ebony Twilight available on the Regal for $495. For the same price, the Preferred and Essence can also be dressed in Satin Steel, Rioja Red, or Dark Moon Blue, while White Frost Tricoat will cost you $1,095 over the base price. The Avenir has a more refined palette, but it gets the metallics for free, offering Satin Steel, Rioja Red, and Dark Blue Moon. At this tier, White Frost Tricoat only costs $600 extra.

Regal Sportback Performance

Performance may not be the Regal's strong suit, but it certainly isn't a disappointing drive. The turbocharged four-cylinder delivers 250 hp and either 260 lb-t or 295 lb-ft, depending on whether you go for the front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain, respectively. Either way, the powertrain is still capable of moving the hefty sedan with a decent amount of quickness. Give the turbocharger a second to kick in, and the Sportback can make the 0-60 mph sprint in a decent, if unimpressive, 6.3 seconds. Many V6-powered midsize sedans don't manage to do much better. Without a particularly noticeable change in performance, the all-wheel drivetrain should only be optioned on if you expect to be dealing with some tricky road conditions, as the eight-speed automatic gearbox that comes paired to it is not as smooth as the standard nine-speed.

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Front View Driving Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Rear View Driving Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Front Left Wheel Buick

Engine and Transmission

Only one engine is available to the Regal Sportback range, but its outputs are determined by the drivetrain it comes paired to. With the standard front-wheel drivetrain, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops 250 hp and 260 lb-ft, regulated by a competent nine-speed automatic gearbox. Switch to the all-wheel drivetrain available to the Essence, however, and the engine delivers an extra 35 lb-ft. Unfortunately, this configuration comes with a slightly less impressive eight-speed automatic transmission.

Regardless of configuration, the powertrain is eminently capable of moving the bulky sedan. The turbo takes a second to kick in, but power delivery is smooth once it gets going. Getting around town will never prove to be a hassle, and merging and passing on the highway can be managed without a fuss.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    8-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While certainly a commuter vehicle, the Buick Regal Sportback feels more like a car to be driven in rather than to drive. Ride comfort definitely seems to be a priority, with the suspension tuned for better absorption rather than improved handling dynamics. Similarly, the transmission seems a bit reluctant to downshift when pressed to deliver a little extra oomph.

Steering also seems geared towards the urban jungle. It's light and precise, making for easy parking lot maneuvers, but it fails to tighten up quite as much as we'd like at higher speeds. Keeping the steering wheel on-center can become annoying, and the steering never communicates what the wheels are doing. On the plus side, the brakes are strong and easy to modulate, keeping the car stable even during emergency braking.

Ride quality is one of the Sportback's greatest selling points. The suspension easily swallows all but the largest of bumps, but it never feels too floaty. However, this smoother ride comes at the expense of handling, with the body being a little too eager to lean or bounce, so high-speed maneuvers aren't advised.

Regal Sportback Gas Mileage

Fuel economy won't wow those with an economic mindset, but it won't leave them too disappointed, either. In its front-wheel-drive guise, the Regal Sportback gets an EPA-estimated 22/32/26 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Switching to the more torquey all-wheel-drive configuration sees these figures drop to 21/29/24 mpg. This is on par with other midsize sedans like the Lexus ES, which gets 22/32/26 with its stronger V6 engine. However, similarly affordable sedans like the Honda Accord get a much better 29/35/31 mpg, and they don't rely on premium gasoline like the Buick. Equipped with a 16.3-gallon fuel tank, the Regal is able to traverse 424 miles before needing to find a gas station.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/32 mpg
* 2020 Buick Regal Sportback Base FWD

Regal Sportback Interior

Despite its name, the Regal certainly wasn't designed with royalty in mind. The interior is utterly average in just about every regard. There isn't an impressive amount of passenger space, but it certainly isn't lacking, either. There's a decent amount of cargo space for a hatch-style sedan, though. The materials used could be better, but they manage to keep the price down for those looking for a good bargain on a handsome car. The controls are all laid out for relative ease of access, but there aren't all that many features, to begin with. The lack of standard advanced driver-assistance features is a bit disappointing in a car that has such large blind spots.

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Dashboard Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Infotainment System Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Gear Shifter Buick
See All 2020 Buick Regal Sportback Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Regal Sportback manages to be quite accommodating despite its sleeker styling. The low, sloping roofline does swallow a few inches of headroom, but most adults should still be able to fit in either row without too much fuss. There is plenty of legroom up front, too, but the rear seats aren't quite so generous. You could still fit two average-sized adults back there, but longer rides could lead to discomfort, and if you want to use all three rear seating appointments, you'll need to keep it to smaller children. The standard Regal only offers manually adjustable seats, but every model from the Preferred up comes with an eight-way power driver's seat, making it a little easier to find a comfortable driving position. Forward visibility is good, thanks to the wide windshield, but the sloping roof and broad rear pillars create large blind spots to the sides and behind.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

While it may try to look more upscale, the Buick Regal is not a true luxury vehicle, with the interior dressed in materials of middling quality. There is also evidence of some shoddy craftsmanship when it comes to stitching. The Regal and Preferred trims come upholstered in either Ebony or Shale cloth, while the Essence gets genuine leather in the same hues. Only the top-tier Avenir offers the plusher perforated quilt-stitched leather upholstery, available in either Ebony or Whisper Beige. The same Ebony interior accents come standard on every model. The armrests on the doors are wrapped in soft-touch leather, but there is still plenty of low-budget plastic on display.

Regal Sportback Trunk and Cargo Space

Though it may sacrifice a little interior room for the more stylish sloping roofline, the Regal Sportback is far from impractical. Behind the rear seats, it provides an impressive 31.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity, easily beating out rival traditional sedans like Honda Accord and Lexus ES, which each offer 16.7 cubic feet. You'll be able to fit your golfing gear in the trunk and still have space left over to pick up the groceries after a day on the green. But, if you still need a little more room, the rear seats can be folded down in a 60/40 or 40/20/40 split, depending on trim, to free up 60.7 cubic feet. While not the most practical vehicle for moving larger items, due to the low roofline, the Regal can still handle quite a bit in the trunk.

Small-item storage isn't lacking, either. The glove compartment is large and spacious, as is the center armrest cubby. Just ahead of that is a smaller storage bin with another concealed storage tray just below the center stack controls. The door pockets are deep and wide, easily fitting several water bottles.

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Trunk Space with Seat Folded Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Luggage Space Buick
2020 Buick Regal Sportback Rear View 2 Buick
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    60.7 ft³

Regal Sportback Infotainment and Features

Features

While not truly bare-bones, the Regal trim does supply only the basics. These include cloth upholstery, a six-way manual driver's seat, and a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Convenience features comprise keyless entry and ignition, and cruise control, while dual-zone climate control is a newly added standard feature. A rearview camera and teen driver system comprise the basic safety features, while a 3.5-inch monochromatic driver information display rests between the gauges. The Preferred upgrades to an eight-way power driver's seat and gives the passenger seat the six-way manual treatment. Both seats gain lumbar support, and the steering wheel comes wrapped in leather. Leather upholstery adorns the interior of the Essence, and the passenger seat is upgraded to an eight-way power seat, while both front seats get heating. The driver information display is upgraded to a 4.2-inch color screen, and remote start is added. The top-tier Avenir rounds out the standard features with four-way lumbar support for the front seats and a suite of safety features that includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, and rear parking assist. Further available features include a power moonroof, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and more advanced driver-assist features like forward collision avoidance and lane keep assist.

Infotainment

While it may be a bit dated compared to the more modern systems found in rival sedans, the infotainment suite on the Regal Sportback still comes with everything you need for your daily commute. The seven-inch touchscreen interface comes equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. The seven-speaker sound system also comes standard with AM/FM stereo. Two USB ports are provided for the front and rear seats, while a wireless charging pad is added to the Avenir. The Essence adds SiriusXM to the mix, while the top-tier model also gets HD Radio to go along with the upgraded eight-speaker Bose sound system. Navigation is also reserved for the Avenir, unless you opt for one of the lower-trim packages.

Regal Sportback Problems and Reliability

Since its redesign for 2018, the Buick Regal Sportback has not received a dependability rating from J.D. Power, but the sporty hatch has not received many consumer complaints, either. It has only been subject to a single recall for 2020, for insufficient weld on the front seat structure, while it was also recalled for insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons in 2019. Buick offers a 36,000-mile/36-month bumper-to-bumper warranty on new purchases, while the powertrain and roadside assistance plans are valid for 60,000 miles/60 months.

Regal Sportback Safety

The NHTSA has not yet tested the Regal Sportback for crash-test safety, but the IIHS has made at least a token effort to do so. In the areas of small overlap front: driver-side, moderate overlap front, and side crash-testing, the Buick received top scores of Good from the IIHS.

Key Safety Features

You get all the standard mechanical safety features you'd expect from a modern car, including ABS, stability and traction control in the Regal. Surprisingly, there are also a whopping ten standard airbags: dual front, front knee, front side, rear side, and side curtain. The entry-level model comes with a rearview camera and teen driver system, while blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, and rear parking assist are reserved for the top-tier model. Available through the optional packages is a following distance indicator, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Buick Regal Sportback a good car?

While it may be visually distinctive from the run-of-the-mill midsize sedans cluttering up the market, the Regal Sportback doesn't actually stand out all that much. Its capable powertrain is undermined by an unrefined turbocharger and uninspiring handling dynamics, while the impressive cargo capacity is similarly weakened by reduced passenger space and very average tech features for the cabin.

It's certainly a comfortable driver, though, bordering on luxury levels at the higher end of the trims, but it will never be as opulent nor as sporty as its name suggests. The lack of advanced safety features on the lower trims is certainly a blow, though, and even the top-tier Avenir requires extra packages to get the high-demand forward collision avoidance tech. The sedan is further hindered by its middling fuel economy and reliance on premium gasoline.

We certainly wouldn't actively dissuade shoppers from looking at the Buick Regal Sportback, but there are more well-rounded sedans out there, like the affordable Honda Accord, or the more luxurious Lexus ES.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Buick Regal Sportback?

While it may try to look a bit more dashing than your run-of-the-mill sedan or hatchback, the Regal Sportback doesn't ask you to pay through the nose. The extra cost will likely come from the premium gasoline it burns. The base-level Regal starts the bidding at $25,370, while the Preferred only increases this to $27,970. Price climbs above the $30k mark on the Essence, with the FWD version asking for $31,770, while the AWD will cost you $33,870. The top-tier Avenir adds $4k over the price of the standard Essence, at $35,770. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and Buick's $925 destination charge.

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Models

The Preferred II trim has been dropped from the Regal Sportback line-up for 2020, leaving the Regal, Preferred, Essence, and Avenir models. Regardless of trim-level, each hatchback is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that directs 250 hp and 260 lb-ft to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Only the Essence gets access to the all-wheel drivetrain, which improves torque to 295 lb-ft, but drops a gear with its eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base-level Regal comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic halogen headlights, daytime running lights, and LED taillights. Inside, the Buick is dressed in cloth upholstery and provides dual-zone climate control to keep occupants comfortable. The driver's seat offers six directions of manual adjustment, complemented by a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Cruise control, and keyless entry and ignition make up the convenience features. There is a 3.5-inch monochromatic driver information display within the gauge cluster, and a seven-inch touchscreen display comes standard. From here, users can operate the Bluetooth features, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Two USB ports are provided to the front and rear passengers, and a seven-speaker sound system plays back the audio. A rearview camera and teen driver system comprise the standard safety suite.

The Preferred trim upgrades the front seats, giving the passenger seat six-way manual adjustability, while replacing the driver's seat with an eight-way power seat. Both front seats get two-way lumbar support and the steering wheel comes wrapped in leather.

The penultimate Essence trim rides on larger 18-inch alloys and adds fog lights to its exterior. Leather upholstery replaces the cloth, and the passenger seat gets the same level of adjustability as the driver's. Both front seats get heating functionality along with the steering wheel. The driver information display is upgraded to a 4.2-inch color model, and the infotainment screen is enlarged to eight inches. SiriusXM and remote engine start are added to the standard features list.

Rounding out the range is the Avenir, riding on 19-inch alloy wheels. Extra safety features are now included, such as blind-spot monitoring, lane change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking assist. Both front seats get four-way lumbar, and a wireless charging pad is added for extra convenience. The infotainment suite is upgraded with HD Radio, navigation, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,370
Preferred
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$27,970
Essence
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,770
Avenir
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$35,770
See All 2020 Buick Regal Sportback Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There are a number of ways to tailor the Regal Sportback to meet your personal requirements, but they all require you to upgrade to at least the Preferred model. Available to each of the mid-tier trims is the Sights and Sounds Package ($945 - $1,720), which adds remote start, navigation, HD Radio, a 4.2-inch color driver information display, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system. For the same models, there is the Driver Confidence Package ($1,245). This adds 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, and blind-spot monitoring on both, while only the Essence gets the wireless charger, four-way front-seat lumbar, and Memory Package. The Driver Confidence Package II ($1,090) is available to the Essence and Avenir, and adds adaptive cruise control, a following distance indicator, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection.

πŸš—What Buick Regal Sportback Model Should I Buy?

Those on a budget will certainly be drawn to the Regal model, with its low $25,370 price tag, but it isn't actually the best value for money. Every trim comes with the same engine, performance figures, and gas mileage - none of which are actually that stellar - so you will need to look at the overall feature package to determine what the best buy is. The power front seats on the upper trims are definitely a must, and the enhanced infotainment suite on the Preferred and Essence make either of these a better choice than the Regal. However, many modern buyers will want the advanced safety features that only come standard on the Avenir. Luckily, the Essence can be outfitted with these at some extra cost, and it comes standard with leather upholstery. Therefore, we think that the penultimate trim is the perfect option for value for money.

Check out other Buick Regal Styles

2020 Buick Regal Sportback Comparisons

Chevrolet Malibu Chevrolet
Honda Accord Honda

2020 Buick Regal Sportback vs Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevy Malibu can be had in one of two power levels, the standard 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder with 160 hp and 184 lb-ft, or the 2.0-liter turbo inline-four that develops 250 hp and 260 lb-ft. The latter is certainly closer to the Regal's base engine, but it performs quite a bit better, making the Malibu the more athletic of the two sedans. Both powertrains also beat out the Buick in terms of fuel efficiency, with the thirstier of the two matching the FWD Buick's 22/32/26 mpg. However, the Chevy also relies on premium gasoline, so there isn't much cost-saving here. The Regal Sportback is far superior in terms of practicality, easily trumping the Malibu's 15.7-cubic-feet trunk while still supplying plenty of passenger space. Unfortunately, Chevrolet buyers will fall into the same trap as Buick patrons, as advanced safety features are, once again, locked behind a paywall. The Chevy Malibu may be a bit cheaper than the Regal at $22,090, and a lot more fun to drive, but the more practical choice is the Buick.

See Chevrolet Malibu Review

2020 Buick Regal Sportback vs Honda Accord

A little cheaper than the Regal Sportback, at $24,020, and a lot more unassuming, the Honda Accord is actually one of the most capable midsize sedans on the market. Its 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine may develop a far less impressive 192 hp and 192 lb-ft, but the Accord gets a lot more distance with impressive fuel economy figures of 29/35/31 mpg. Switch to the stronger 2.0-liter option, and you get 252 hp and 273 lb-ft, while still staying ahead of the Regal with its 23/34/27 mpg consumption figures. The Honda may fall behind when it comes to cargo capacity, with only about half as much as the Sportback, but it makes up for it in terms of tech. The Accord comes with far more safety features as standard across its trim levels, earning it great acclaim as a dependable family sedan. Unless you are lugging your camping gear around on a daily basis, the Honda Accord is the better value-for-money buy when it comes to a daily driver.

See Honda Accord Review

Buick Regal Sportback Popular Comparisons

$25,370 - $35,770
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Buick Regal Sportback
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