The Regal is about to join the LaCrosse in offering an eAssist hybrid variant. For the 2012 model year, the Regal eAssist model is being introduced at the Chicago Auto Show and is expected to be rated 26/37 mpg city/highway.
For those who are keeping track, that's one mile per gallon more in the city for the Regal eAssist hybrid than Buick predicts the LaCrosse eAssist hybrid will achieve in the EPA's hands. Both cars feature a 115V lithium-ion battery and a 15-kilowatt motor/generator. The engine at the heart of the cars is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower on its own, and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The same 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels (and low rolling resistance tires) are used on both Buicks. Thanks to the Regal's smaller size, however, the wheels don't appear as undersized as they do on the LaCrosse. If the driver is in an especially green mood, the car can be put into a fuel economy optimizing mode with the AC unit that allows for more frequent and longer engine stop periods.
Regenerative braking is, of course, part of the package. Unfortunately, so is reduced cargo capacity. Trunk space on the hybrid Regal is 11.1 cubic-feet (down from just about 14 cubic-feet on the regular Regal), still a smidge bigger than the LaCrosse eAssist's 10.9 cubic feet.LaCrosse is expected to start around $30,000. We'll have more details soon, live from the show floor.