2012 Buick Regal

Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 auto trans

2012 buick regal Reviews and News

2012 Buick Regal GS Front Right Side View
The Gran Sport name has had plenty of peaks and valleys since it first appeared on a Buick back in the mid Sixties. The most recent offerings were nothing special, and the moniker was retired for a while. Now, the slimmed-down General Motors has fewer brands to feed, giving it more leeway to resurrect the idea of a sporting Buick, in the hope of giving the division the cache enjoyed by premium European (and Japanese) brands. With the Buick Regal GS, it is doing so with an actual European car, as the underlying architecture is primarily that of the Opel Insignia (and, also, the Chevrolet Malibu). And although the idea is laudable, the execution is wanting, chiefly in some of the subjective areas that the old pros in the sports sedan game usually get right.

Big HP Numbers

The GS uses one of the hottest version of GM's Ecotec 2.0-liter four, which combines turbocharging with direct injection to make an impressive 270 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Regal's big engine output numbers exceed most competitors' (such as the BMW 328i's 240 hp and 255 pound-feet) but its factory-estimated 0-to-60 time of 6.7 seconds is no better than average -- perhaps due to the Buick's 3710-pound curb weight, which is heavy for this class.
No version of the Ecotec inspires with its engine note, and that's again the case here, although that's mostly because you can't hear an engine note. What you do hear is the whistle of the turbocharger. That may be because the turbo is working hard, and its prominence makes for throttle response that's not very linear.
Buick launched this car with a six-speed manual transmission; but my test example had the recently added six-speed automatic instead (a no-cost option). The automatic does exactly what you want it to do, but drivers who want to call the shots themselves might be disappointed by the lack of shift paddles, which is a little surprising in a car with such lofty sports sedan ambitions.
Sadly, Buick elected to leave the Opel Insignia's all-wheel-drive system back in Germany, so the Regal GS sends its 295 pound-feet torque to its front wheels. GM fits its HiPer Strut front suspension to this car in order to keep a lid on torque steer, and for the most part it does a good job.

Capable Chassis

Besides the aforementioned HiPer Strut front suspension, the GS version of the Regal also gets Brembo front disc brakes and a firmer suspension. Its Drive Control System changes the damping rates (as in the Regal Turbo), and its GS mode additionally alters steering effort and transmission shift quality. As exciting as that sounds, there's little discernable difference among the three modes. The steering is artificial-feeling, although it's not overboosted. The suspension tuning is more successful, snubbing body motions while delivering an acceptable ride even on the extra-large, 20-inch wheels shod with high-performance rubber.

Mild Style

Those 20-inch wheels are one of the major GS differentiators outside; another is a new front fascia punctuated by huge, silver-rimmed nostrils that do little to sex up the Regal's otherwise generic exterior. At the rear is a subtle trunk lid spoiler and dual exhaust outlets.
The interior materials are all of good quality, although the overall design again is somewhat muted. As in other Regals -- and most other GM sedans -- the center stack is a sea of too-similar black buttons. Buick's IntelliLink touch-screen audio system is standard. The Regal's driving position isn't particularly sporty, and lacks a dead pedal. The biggest letdown in the cabin, however, was that I found the GS's sport seats to be excruciatingly uncomfortable, with a power lumbar support that is too prominent even on its lowest setting and ultra-stiff lateral bolsters that make for a narrow, confining seat cushion.

An Unexpected Comparison

As it happened, I had the Regal GS right after spending a week in a Volkswagen Jetta GLI. Both are the sportiest offerings of their respective model. Both have turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter fours. Both had 6-speed automatics (a DSG in the case of the VW). And, driving home the parallels even further, both were red over black.
Frankly, I enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the Jetta much more than in the more expensive Regal. Sure, the Buick's turbo four delivers 95 more horsepower than the VW's, but the GS isn't any quicker than the smaller, lighter Volkswagen. And while the Jetta may be smaller, it has more back seat space, and (subjectively) a much more comfortable driver's seat and a better driving position. The Buick does have a more sophisticated suspension, and decidedly nicer interior finish. Neither car is particularly stellar in the tuning of its electric power steering. With base prices that are more than $10,000 apart, these sport sedans aren't direct competitors, but that's my point: Aside from its adaptive suspension and nicer interior, it's hard to see why you'd spend more for the Regal GS.
GM threw a lot of impressive-seeming equipment at the Regal GS (295-hp engine, available stick shift, adaptive suspension, Brembo front brakes), but more work needs to be done on the subtleties of the sports sedan experience before this latest GS marks another high-water mark for the Gran Sport name.

2012 Buick Regal GS

Base price (with destination): $35,720
Price as tested: $36,745
Standard Equipment:
270-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine
6-speed manual transmission
Speed-sensitive power steering
Brembo front brakes
HiPer strut front suspension
Interactive drive control system with sport and GS modes
Power windows w/one-touch up/down for all windows
Power door locks w/remote
Passive entry and keyless ignition
8 air bags
Body-color power mirrors
Sports seats w/8-way power driver's and passenger's seat
Leather seats
Heated seats
Premium, 9-speaker touch-screen AM/FM/XM audio system w/CD player, USB port
OnStar w/6 mos. Directions & Connections, auto crash response, turn-by-turn navigation
Tilt and telescoping steering column
HID headlamps
Cruise control
HID headlamps
Regal GS bodywork
Dual-zone automatic climate control
19-inch wheels
Front audible parking assist
Options on this vehicle:
20-inch polished alloy wheels - $700
Crystal red paint - $325
6-speed automatic transmission - $0
Key options not on vehicle:
Power sunroof - $1000
Audio system with navigation - $895
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
19/ 27 / 22 mpg
Engine:
2.0L turbo I-4
Horsepower: 270 hp @ 5300 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
Drive:
Front-wheel
Transmission:
6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 3710 lb
Wheels/tires:
20-inch aluminum alloy
255/35ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tires
Competitors:
Acura TSX
Audi A4
BMW 328i
Infiniti G25
Lexus IS250
Volvo S60
2012 Buick Regal GS Front View
How does a European sport sedan dovetail with an American luxury brand that exists because the Chinese want to ride in the back of pillowy four-doors? It's a mind-melting philosophical question, but the answer is simple for the masters of brand management. After a seven-year sabbatical, the forty-seven-year-old Gran Sport name is back.
2011 Buick Regal GS Rear Left Side View
The Buick Regal GS has its roots in Europe's Opel Insignia OPC, but don't call this a badge-engineering exercise. Buick opted not to use the OPC's strident 2.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 and Haldex all-wheel-drive system in a play for lower weight and higher fuel economy. Instead, our GS has a high-output version of the Regal Turbo's direct-injected, boosted four-cylinder driving the front wheels. Even so, compared with an Audi A4, the GS is about 200 pounds too heavy (at 3710 pounds) and comes up at least three miles short for every gallon of gas it swills (at 19/27 mpg city/highway).
Dialing the boost pressure from 15 psi to 20 psi pushes power from 220 hp to 270 hp and smooths out some of the awkward surges that plague the Regal Turbo. Despite the more civilized power delivery, the GS-tuned engine is still afflicted with subtle, uneven pulses at part throttle, and the turbocharger whistles and whirs like it's bolted into a Class 8 truck. At full tilt, it doesn't sound more exciting than any other frenzied four-cylinder, but the 2.0-liter turbo delivers prolonged bursts of power that stretch all the way to redline. Its 295 lb-ft of peak torque isn't reached until 2400 rpm, which translates to a single breath of lag leaving the line.
To combat torque steer, the GS employs the so-called HiPer Strut front suspension that decouples the steering and suspension geometries. It can't eliminate every tug at the steering wheel, but it does reduce the severity enough to turn punches into prods. The Sachs adaptive dampers are similarly adept at softening blows -- at least in their most compliant standard setting. There's now a mode (on top of sport) called GS that makes the ride -- and body control -- substantially tauter. Few adaptive suspensions manage to effect changes that are both as palpable and as constructive.
The nicely contoured steering wheel is backed by quick responses and a natural effort, although there isn't much feedback from the front wheels. New sport seats offer excellent bolstering without being too aggressive, and the six-speed manual swiftly clicks through light throws. (A six-speed automatic becomes available in early 2012.) Driven quickly over back roads, the Regal GS displays obedient fluidity, impressive composure, and surprising balance. The optional twenty-inch Pirelli PZero summer tires stick impressively through corners, and the chassis responds positively to trail-braking. The Regal GS doesn't have the connected, organic feel of the best sport sedans, but it is much sharper and more fun than an Acura TSX V-6 and more alert than an Audi A4.
The Saturn Aura Redli -- er, Regal GS -- may be an anomaly among the current Buick lineup, but it makes for a convincing modern interpretation of the Gran Sports of the late 1960s, when the name was synonymous with fast-and-fabulous grand touring machines. All this upscale sport sedan needs is a bit of powertrain polish. After all, it does wear a Buick badge.
The Specs
ON SALE:
Now
PRICE: $35,310
ENGINE: 2.0L turbo I-4, 270 hp, 295 lb-ft
DRIVE: Front-wheel
EPA MILEAGE: 19/27 mpg
2012 Buick Regal
2012 Buick Regal
Although it's not yet Buick's best-selling model, the Regal has become the center of gravity for the brand. Not only does it sit in the heart of the lineup -- below the LaCrosse and above the new Verano -- but it also has the widest range of variants. All Regals are derived from the Opel Insignia and have a firmer, more-European-style chassis setup than you might expect from Buick. The Regal Turbo and the GS add driver-adjustable steering effort and adaptive dampers. The base Regal is powered by an adequate but uninspiring 2.4-liter four. Add the eAssist system, however (a $2000 option), and the Regal becomes economical and more responsive. Fuel economy shoots up from 19/31 to 25/36 mpg, which is exceptional for this class. For those seeking power rather than economy, the Regal Turbo gets 220 hp from its 2.0-liter four and can be had with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Regal GS has all kinds of serious sport-sedan hardware, with one major omission. Among the highlights are a 270-hp version of the 2.0-liter turbo four, deeply bolstered sport seats upholstered in leather, Brembo disc brakes, a lower ride height, a redesigned front suspension, and a standard six-speed stick (with an automatic option due midyear). The glaring omission is all-wheel drive, as the high-output turbo's 295 lb-ft of torque is an awful lot to send through the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available on this chassis in Europe but not here; as a consolation, the GS gets what GM calls its HiPer Strut front suspension, which helps minimize torque steer.
2012 Buick Regal GS Front Right Side View
If sales volumes accurately predicted quality, we might think Justin Bieber were a better musician than Mozart. But in many areas of life, the most popular things are not always the greatest. That certainly holds true for cars: the Ford F-150 and Toyota Camry may be the two top-selling vehicles in America, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are absolutely the best new cars on the market.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

2012 Buick Regal GS Profile
Two General Motors engineers will once again race a Buick Regal GS in a 90-mile Nevada road rally this month, after coming first in class last year. Whereas last year the Buick Regal GS competed in the 120-mph class, this year it will try the much more difficult 135-mph grouping.
2012 Buick Regal GS Front Right Side View
Comments left on previous articles about the Regal GS generally fall into two distinct groups: those who are irked that the new GS isn't a re-pop of the rear-wheel-drive Grand National they adored as a kid, or those who are irked that GM didn't just import the Opel Insignia OPC's driveline -- peaky twin-turbocharged V-6, all-wheel-drive, and all -- into the United States.

2012 Buick Regal GS

2012 Buick Regal GS Historical Group Shot 2
Following the announcement that classic car insurer Hagerty placed the 2012 Buick Regal GS  on its "2012 Hot List," General Motors decided to see how the Regal GS would stack up against other past collectibles from the Buick bloodline if it were to become a collector's car.

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Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Buick Regal Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price
$16,775

Used 2012 Buick Regal Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$27,055

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2012 Buick Regal
2012 Buick Regal
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
19 MPG City | 31 MPG Hwy
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2012 Buick Regal
2012 Buick Regal
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
$27,055
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2012 Buick Regal
2012 Buick Regal
Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
182hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2012 Buick Regal Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
2.4L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
19 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
31 MPG
Horsepower:
182 hp @ 6700rpm
Torque:
172 ft lb of torque @ 4900rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain
100,000 miles / 60 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 72 months
Roadside
100,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:20
Component
EXTERIOR LIGHTING
Summary
GENERAL MOTORS (GM) IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2012 BUICK REGAL VEHICLES MANUFACTURED FROM FEBRUARY 22, 2011, THROUGH FEBRUARY 22, 2012 FOR FAILING TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 108 ¿LAMPS, REFLECTIVE DEVICES AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT.¿ DUE TO A SOFTWARE ERROR, THE PARKING LAMPS DO NOT ACTIVATE WHEN EITHER THE PARKING LAMPS OR HEADLAMPS ARE TURNED ON.
Consequences
INADEQUATE LIGHTING COULD REDUCE THE VISIBILITY OF THE VEHICLE, INCREASING THE POTENTIAL FOR A CRASH.
Remedy
GENERAL MOTORS WILL NOTIFY OWNERS, AND DEALERS WILL REPROGRAM THE BODY CONTROL MODULE FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON MARCH 29, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT GM AT 1-800-521-7300.
Potential Units Affected
3,633
Notes
GENERAL MOTORS LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:21
Component
EXTERIOR LIGHTING:TURN SIGNAL
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Buick Regal and model year 2013 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles. These vehicles are equipped with two turn signal bulbs in each front turn signal. If one of the two front turn signal bulbs burn out in either front turn signal lamp, there is no indication to the driver. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."
Consequences
If the driver is not aware that a turn signal is not functioning properly, the driver may continue to drive the vehicle. If half of a front turn signal is not illuminating, other driver's may not be aware that the affected vehicle is turning, thereby increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, dealers will update the body control module software, free of charge. The recall began in September 2014. Owners may contact Buick at 1-800-521-7300 or Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 12212.
Potential Units Affected
120,426
Notes
General Motors LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Summary
General Motors (GM) is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Buick LaCrosse and Regal, and model year 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco vehicles equipped with eAssist. These vehicles may have a condition in which the Generator Control Module (GCM) may not function properly. This could cause a gradual loss of battery charge and the illumination of the malfunction indicator light.
Consequences
If the vehicle is continued to be driven, the engine may stall and/or the vehicle may not start. In addition, there may be a burning or melting odor, smoke, and possibly a fire in the trunk.
Remedy
GM will notify owners and dealers will test the GCM and replace it, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on June 11, 2013. Owners may contact GM at 1-800-521-7300. GM's recall campaign number is 13136.
Potential Units Affected
42,904
Notes
General Motors LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:40
Component
SEATS:FRONT ASSEMBLY:POWER ADJUST
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Chevrolet Camaro, as well as certain 2010-2012 Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles, equipped with power height adjustable driver and passenger seats. In the affected vehicles, the bolt that secures the driver's and passenger's power front seat height adjuster may fall out causing the seat to drop suddenly to the lowest vertical position.
Consequences
If the driver's seat unexpectedly drops, the distraction and altered seat position may affect the drivers' control of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the height adjuster shoulder bolts, free of charge. The manufacturer distributed interim letters to owners on September 11, 2014. The recall began on December 26, 2014. Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-800-521-7300 (Buick), 1-800-458-8006 (Cadillac), 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), or 1-800-462-8782 (GMC). GM's number for this recall is 14271.
Potential Units Affected
414,333
Notes
General Motors LLC


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
5
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
4
NHTSA Rating Front Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Overall
5
NHTSA Rating Rollover
4
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
IIHS Best Pick
1
IIHS Rear Crash
Good
IIHS Roof Strength
Good

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 Buick Regal

Depreciation
23.3%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$7,576
23.3%
Insurance
$6,190
19%
Fuel Cost
$10,543
32.4%
Financing
$1,816
5.6%
Maintenance
$4,788
14.7%
Repair Costs
$1,226
3.8%
State Fees
$367
1.1%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $32,506 What's This?
Value Rating: Average