by Morgan Carter
Station wagons are a bit of a dying breed in the States, and even those that do remain have had to evolve with the times to survive in the more modern market. As such, it's no surprise that the Buick Regal TourX looks so much like the crossover Sportback it's styled after. As Buick's first new wagon in the last 22 years, the TourX is faced with tough competition from the Subaru Outback and Audi A4 Allroad. It stands up well against them, at least on paper, thanks to its capable turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, but it doesn't offer the same level of versatility due to its lower ground clearance. Around town, though, the Buick is an excellent contender, with a smooth ride, plenty of cargo capacity, and engaging handling dynamics.
Still relatively fresh off the design boards, introduced in 2018, the Buick Regal TourX receives no significant changes for the new year. However, automatic dual-zone climate control has been made standard across the range.
The Regal TourX is built on the same platform as the Buick Sportback, so it's no surprise that many of the SUV's aesthetics carry over too. Sleeker and sportier than the average station wagon, the TourX is fronted by a broad grille with vertical bars, hosting the Buick logo winged by a thicker horizontal bar. Automatic halogen headlights come standard, along with daytime running lamps and both front and rear fog lights. Every trim level gets 18-inch alloy wheels, and the bumpers, side sills, and wheel arches are underlined with black plastic.
Slightly larger than the standard Regal Sportback, the TourX wagon measures in at 196.3 inches, but it gets the same 111.4-inch wheelbase. Similarly, the TourX gets the same width of 73.3 inches, but it stands a bit taller at 58.4 inches and gets slightly more ground clearance at 5.8 inches above the tarmac. While this is a bit low for the segment, the Buick's weight is more average at 3,708 - 3,849 pounds.
Every Buick Regal TourX is powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 250 hp and 295 lb-ft. These outputs are directed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain is by no means inadequate, but it's not impressive either. The wagon pulls off relatively quickly, but it takes the turbo a moment to realize it's needed. Once the turbo kicks in, the TourX accelerates quite smoothly, and passing on the highway isn't an overly difficult affair. The transmission is a bit too tuned towards efficiency and will cling to a higher gear rather than shifting down when a little extra power is needed. Nevertheless, the Regal TourX isn't actually slow, making the 0-60 mph sprint in a respectable mid-six-second time, in independently conducted tests - about half a second behind its more accomplished competitors.
With sharp, precise steering, the TourX is a bit more agile than what you'd expect from a long, bulky station wagon. Despite this lightness, the wheel does have some heft, to give the Buick a sportier feel. Combined with a relatively soft suspension, this makes the TourX far more of a town car than anything else. Small bumps are absorbed without too much fuss, but larger ones can be quite unsettling.
With its low ground clearance and floaty suspension, the Buick will never be the capable off-roader that its rivals, such as the Subaru Outback, claim to be. But the standard all-wheel drivetrain does give it pretty decent grip, allowing it to handle well even at higher speeds, or ignore unfavorable road conditions like rain or sleet. The lower center of gravity that comes with such poor ground clearance actually allows the wagon to handle more like a sedan.
The TourX's powertrain isn't overly thirsty, but it isn't quite as efficient as what some rivals are offering. The four-cylinder engine under the hood gets an EPA-estimated 21/29/24 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, while the Subaru Outback gets 26/33/29 mpg (although the turbocharged variant comes closer at 23/30/26 mpg) and the Volvo V90 gets 21/31/25 mpg. With a 16.5-gallon fuel tank filled to the brim with premium gasoline, the Regal can cover up to 396 miles before needing to search out a gas station.
While the TourX has seating appointments for up to five passengers, the seats are a bit narrow and don't promote comfort as you would expect from a cross-country family hauler. There is plenty of headroom all-around, but rear legroom could be a bit better. The lower trim levels come upholstered in cloth with manually adjustable front seats, while the upper ones get leather-appointed eight-way power front seats with two-way lumbar. Heated front seats are also available further up the trim levels. Due to the wagon's long length and broad rear pillars, visibility isn't overly good, and the lack of any standard driver-assistance features only exacerbates this. Getting in and out is easy enough, and the cabin is well-built with mostly high-quality materials.
Cargo capacity is certainly one area in which the wagon excels. Behind the rear seats, a respectable 32.7 cubic feet of space is supplied, which is more than enough for any errands around town, or even to store the family's gear for a weekend camping trip. But, if you need to move particularly large items, the rear seats can be folded down in a 60/40 split to free up a total of 73.5 cubic feet. The low roof does limit exactly what you can store, though. The top-tier Essence provides even more versatility thanks to its 40/20/40 rear seats, which allow you to store longer items without sacrificing passenger space.
Small-item storage is more than adequate for up to four passengers, with a pair of cupholders up front and in the rear. All four door pockets also provide plenty of storage space, complementing the standard glove compartment and a reasonable center armrest cubby. A small bin is also present ahead of the gear shifter, with a small tray up front.
TheTourX might not be as flush with features as some more expensive luxury wagons, but even the entry-level model comes with a pretty respectable list. Cloth upholstery is standard, with a six-way manual driver's seat, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and automatic dual-zone climate control. Keyless entry and ignition, and cruise control add a degree of convenience, while a rearview camera and teen driver system comprise the basic safety suite. The Preferred upgrades the driver's seat with eight-way power-adjustability and lumbar, while adding an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. At the top of the range is the Essence, which replaces the cloth upholstery with leather while adding heating functions to the front seats and steering wheel. Remote engine start is also added at this level, along with a 4.2-inch multi-color driver information display. The upper trims allow the addition of certain driver-assistance features, such as lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist. A panoramic power moonroof can also be equipped to the Preferred or Essence.
The infotainment suite on the TourX includes all the essentials, even on the base model, and is remarkably user-friendly. The lower trims get a seven-inch touchscreen interface that supports Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, paired with a seven-speaker sound system. A larger eight-inch screen comes standard on the top-tier Essence along with SiriusXM. Navigation and HD Radio are optional add-ons, and the sound system can be upgraded to an eight-speaker Bose set-up. Two USB ports come standard, but a wireless charger can be optioned on if you need more charging points for your devices.
While it has been around for three years, the Buick Regal TourX has not received a dependability rating from J.D. Power. It has also been recalled twice over the past year - once for insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper, and again for insufficient weld on the front seats. Buick only offers a very basic warranty plan on new purchases, with a 36,000-mile/36-month bumper-to-bumper warranty, while the powertrain warranty and roadside assistance plan are valid for 60,000 miles/60 months.
The Buick wagon has not been tested by the NHTSA for safety, but the IIHS has evaluated it in three categories - small overlap front: driver-side, moderate overlap front, and side - for which it received the highest rating of Good. Every TourX comes equipped with ABS, stability and traction control, a rearview mirror, and ten airbags: dual front, front knee, front side, rear side, and side curtain. No trim gets advanced safety features as standard, but the upper trims can option on blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision avoidance, lane change alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and rear park assist.
In a market dominated by crossover SUVs, big and small, wagons have a hard time making a place for themselves. And what little space has been made is crammed with more refined and capable contenders like the Subaru Outback or Volvo V90 Cross Country. But, rather than compete with them on their own terms, the Buick Regal TourX has taken a different approach.
While it stands barely higher than the average sedan, the TourX looks a bit more rugged with black-clad underbelly and wheel arches. However, this illusion is broken the moment you take it off-road, where it struggles to remain composed over even moderately uneven ground. This is no fault of the all-wheel drivetrain, though, which is extremely capable in its own right.
Capable of handling most poor weather road conditions and offering impressive interior space for both passengers and cargo, the Regal TourX is certainly more a city animal than one meant for the great outdoors. However, a somewhat lacking powertrain and unrefined transmission undermine the sportier wagons handling dynamics.
The Buick Regal TourX certainly has some good points that make it worthy of consideration for those who need a bit more space inside their town car, but there are better options out there that can meet a larger variety of needs at a similar price and value proposition.
The Regal TourX is one of the more affordable wagons on the market. And, despite some of its shortcomings, it's great value for money at a starting MSRP of $29,370 for the base model. Upgrading to the Preferred increases the bill by $3,600, while the top-tier Essence starts out at $35,070. However, the base models come relatively sparsely equipped, with many desirable features locked behind the available packages. Throwing on some packages and premium paint can push the price up to $40k. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and Buick's destination charge of $925.
The entry-level TourX trim comes relatively sparsely equipped and doesn't offer all that many methods of customization. Most of the desirable packages only are only made available from the mid-tier Preferred up. For around $2,000 more than the Preferred, you can get the leather-appointed Essence, which includes heated front seats, an upgraded infotainment suite, and access to all the advanced safety features that come with the Driver Confidence I and II packages. These add features that one would expect to be standard on a family wagon, such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision avoidance; but even fully specced, the TourX is still pretty affordable, although there are better value-for-money deals out there.
Where the Buick Regal TourX only gives the impression of being a competent off-roader, the Subaru Outback has the genuine grit to back up its claims. Several extra inches of ground clearance and a capable all-wheel drivetrain gives the Outback the freedom to go where the more timid TourX simply can't. The Buick may feel a bit more comfortable around town, with its soft ride and sharper handling, but it can't compete with the practicality of the Subaru, with its larger trunk and excellent safety ratings. Both the NHTSA and IIHS give it top scores, with the latter naming it a Top Safety Pick+. Despite offering a weaker base engine and a similarly powerful 260-hp turbo four-cylinder, the Outback is able to tow more than twice as much as the Regal - 2,600 lbs to be exact. If you never intend to leave the safety of the concrete jungle, the Buick TourX should meet your needs, but the Subaru Outback is certainly the better all-rounder, and it's cheaper, to boot.
The biggest deterrent you are likely to face when choosing between the TourX and the Volvo V90 Cross Country is the price tag. At a starting price of over $50k, the Volvo won't even make most buyers' shortlist, which is a shame. True, the Buick makes more sense as an affordable family hauler, with impressive passenger and cargo capacity, but the V90 has it beat in just about every other area. Its turbocharged four-cylinder is no stronger at 250 hp and 258 lb-ft, but it's far more refined and fuel-efficient. However, the available 316-hp powertrain gives the Volvo an edge here, too. Add to this the supremely luxurious interior of the Cross Country, an almost ridiculous number of standard features, and more capable off-roading ability, and it's not hard to see which is the better vehicle. However, it will all come down to whether or not you can afford the better option.
Check out some informative Buick Regal TourX video reviews below.