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.
Trim Levels: Regal, Turbo, GS
Engines: 2.0L turbo I-4, 220/270 hp, 260/295 lb-ft
2.4L I-4, 182 hp, 172 lb-ft
2.4L I-4 with electric motor, 182 hp, 172 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 96.8 cu ft
Cargo space: 11.1-14.2 cu ft
The Regal launched last year as a single model with a 182-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Two more versions and a new engine have been added. The Turbo gets a 220-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four and a six-speed manual or automatic. The GS is powered by a 270-hp version of the same turbo four and comes with a manual only. For economy-minded shoppers, the eAssist option is a battery-powered electric motor fitted to the 2.4-liter to improve fuel economy.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; stability and traction control; and seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters are standard. Rear-seat side air bags come with the Premium II trim level or higher. OnStar includes crash response and emergency assistance and is included for six months.
All: 18-25 mpg city/27-36 mpg highway
- Fuel economy with eAssist
- Agile chassis
- Power in the Turbo and GS
- Outward visibility
- Some interior materials
- Torque steer in the GS
Buick’s Euro-flavored mid-size: mild, medium, or extra spicy.
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