Buyer’s Guide: Buick Reintroduces An American Car with European Flair

Off the market for a few years, the Regal returns with a few changes and more bang for your buck

Regal makes a strong comeback for 2011 (Source: GM)

2011 BUICK REGAL CXL

  • MSRP: $29,785 (Base Regal starts out at $26,995)
  • Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/182
  • Fuel Mileage: 19-city/30-hwy
  • Highlights: The sporty Regal includes heated front seats; leather seats; 12-way power driver’s seat; electric parking brakes; 18-inch wheels; a one-year subscription to GM’s OnStar System; Bluetooth compatibility
  • Competition: Acura TSX, Audi A3 and Suzuki Kizashi

WHAT’S NEW:

Everything! The Regal last appeared in 2004 as a bland midsize family sedan. However, six years later, the newly redesigned Regal has returned to the Buick line up as a sporty midsize sedan, with a European flair.

PROS:

Buick’s new fuel-efficient Regal, with its quiet-tuned European chassis and structural systems, were developed in Germany. Unlike previous models, this one handles more like an entry-level premium import. Much like with Buick’s Lacrosse sedan and Enclave crossover, the new Regal continues the resurrected brand’s recent success of offering an upscale, luxury-oriented interior and a 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

In the vehicle I reviewed, the well-appointed Buick was equipped with a $2,790 Comfort and Convenience Package, which included a power front (passenger) seat, rear parking assist sensors (a substitute for a rear view camera), a power sunroof, rear-seat mounted airbags and an upgraded premium sound system. Additional features include a turbo model, a nav system, 19-inch wheels and a manual transmission (turbo only).

Plush leather drapes the interior, helping the Regal live up to its name (Source: GM)

CONS:

While the sexy looking Regal, with the cramped rear seating area, has a youthful appeal, it lacks some of the amenities found in many of its competitors: a back-up camera, a keyless push-button starter, a soft-touch keyless radar-controlled door opener and a heated steering wheel. A new lower-priced subcompact Buick, which is expected to hit the market soon, will be equipped with a heated steering wheel. Go figure?

FINAL VERDICT:

If GM had not been pushed into reorganization mode two years ago, we’re not sure if the Regal name would have ever returned to the Buick line up. In fact, this stylish midsize sedan was scheduled to end up as the next-generation (now defunct) Saturn Aura, until the vehicle reappeared in Buick’s product portfolio.

The well-built, fun-to-drive Regal offers a lot of promise. The premium pricing of this German engineered vehicle signifies that this Buick isn’t competing with general market midsize vehicles like the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry. In fact, this new Buick is going head-to-head with premium entry-level imports.

Look for Buick to offer a few variations of the new Regal soon, a tricked out GS with a turbo engine along with a hybrid-like vehicle in the very near future. As one can tell, Buick is back to stay this time.

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com.

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