Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

I first spotted the redesigned Buick Regal in 2010 while I was living in Tennessee and thought it was a great looking car. I have to give Buick credit for the designs of their current vehicles. The Regal competes against the Acura TSX, Audi A4, Infiniti G25, Lincoln MKZ, and the Volvo S60. There are many things that I like and dislike about the Regal. The Regal is the first Buick that I have ever driven. The Regal is front-wheel drive and powered by a 2.4 L inline 4 cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 172 lb-feet of torque. I drove a base model Regal that came in at over $26,500.

 The Regal rides on General Motors' Epsilon II platform, which the Buick LaCrosse, the Saab 9-5, and the new Chevrolet Malibu are also built on. There are 3 Regal trim levels to choose from. The trim levels range from the CXL, the CXL Turbo, and the GS. The CXL turbo trim uses a 2.0 liter turbo charged engine that pushes out 220 horsepower. The fuel economy for the turbo is rated at 18 city and 28 highway. The GS trim uses a 2.0 liter high output turbocharged engine that produces 270 horsepower. New for 2012 is the use of Buick's new eAssist mild hybrid technology on the base trim level variants. 

The exterior of the Buick Regal is very attractive and sporty. A lot of people are very impressed with the styling and many can't believe it's a Buick. The Regal definitely stands out among the other cars in its class. Unlike the LaCrosse, the Regal's front end is toned down. I would have liked to see a bolder front end on this car. I think that the rear of the car is what really stands out. The color of the Regal I drove was called midnight blue metallic, which I wasn't too fond of. 

The interior of the Regal is another selling point of this car. The materials used were of high quality which made the vehicle feel luxurious. What really stood out for me were the front seats. I found them very comfortable and supportive. I thought they were some of the best car seats I've sat in recently. The back seats of the Regal were also comfortable as well. There was more than enough head room and leg room for me. One thing that I didn't like so much was the center console. There are just too many buttons for me. I felt that Buick could have come up with a more elegant center console. The Regal I drove came standard with a 6 speed automatic transmission with manual mode, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, 3 free months of XM radio, and a USB and IPod port. The trunk of the Regal offers 14.2 cubic feet of storage. 

Buick calls the Regal a midsize sport sedan but I wouldn't quite agree with that after driving this non-turbo model. I think that the 2.4L engine denies the Regal from truly being labeled a sport sedan. For a midsize car that weighs over 3600 lbs., the 182 horsepower engine was not impressive. I also wasn't impressed with how the Regal accelerated, it is just too slow. The Regal accelerates from zero to sixty in 8.7 seconds. I was very impressed with how smooth the ride was and how quiet the cabin was at highway speeds. I was also impressed with the steering feel and how well the Regal turned into corners.

I can say that I had an interesting time behind the wheel of the Buick Regal. The Regal's design will definitely attract young buyers to the Buick brand. Even though the Regal is attractive and rides smoothly, I still wouldn't consider buying one. I just have a big issue with the 2.4L engine in the CXL trim level; maybe the GS model could change my mind. Buick has been on a roll lately and I don't see them slowing down any time soon. With a few improvements I think the Regal can become an actual sport sedan. If you like sporty and attractive cars and horsepower isn't a concern for you then take a look at the Buick Regal. 

How do you feel about the Buick Regal? Is it a true sport sedan?

For more information the Regal check out Buick's website:

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