Now in its fifth generation, but first year in the United States since 2004, the Buick Regal is back in 2011 to meet the stiff competition in the midsize sedan category.
Based on the Opel Insignia, the Regal re-emerged in China in 2008 as a 2009 model and is available in the U.S. in only a CXL trim level. It’s the latest offering of the midsize car introduced by General Motors for the 1973 model year.
The 2011 edition is a departure and catapults the Buick into the modern age. Standard equipment includes: 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated sideview mirrors, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, full power accessories, OnStar, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, trip computer, a 60/40-split rear seatback, a seven-speaker stereo (with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, iPod/auxiliary audio jacks and steering-wheel-mounted controls) and Bluetooth connectivity.
Options include a sunroof, rear parking sensors, a hard-drive-based navigation system with digital music storage, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system and a power passenger seat.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
Like Cadillac several years ago when body styles dramatically changed, the Buick Regal is not much like it used to be.
Lots of folks said, “It’s not your daddy’s caddy anymore.” And same the same holds true for the new Regal. Lots of folks said, “That’s a Buick? It’s a nice-looking car. It looks more like an Audi or a Volvo.”
My weekly drive with the 2011 Regal was a good mix of city and highway miles, none disappointing. The Buick isn’t the fastest sedan around, nor is it the plushest or the most spacious. But it offers a lot in those categories and in others. Thus, it’s far up the road from its previous life and it’s well ahead of many stalwarts in the midsize sedan category.
Interior design is simple, straightforward and features satin-metal-look trim and leather seats. It’s not top-of-the-line, but it’s quality stuff for a $30,000 car.
Easy ingress and egress. Overall comfort surprising.
Spacious front and back seat leg and head room.
Nice feel to the dual-constructed steering wheel.
Small, oddly shaped side mirrors.
Push button parking brake. It’s a small lever on the console between the front seats and it’s easy to forget.
Rear view not the best.
2011 Buick Regal: Facts & Figures
Acceleration: 0-60 mph (not available)
Airbags: Front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags
Antilock brakes: standard
Engine/Transmission: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: Not tested
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $26,245.00
Price as tested: $29,980.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.buick.com
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion: 6 years/unlimited miles; Roadside assistance, 5 years/100,000 miles.
What Others Say:
“Like the Buick LaCrosse, the Regal is far removed from the floaty-boat reputation that has cursed the brand, along with an aging demographic that Buick is desperate to change. The Regal now looks and performs in a class-competitive manner. ” —- Car and Driver.
“What it is, it turns out, is a very well tuned, near-luxury sport sedan that, in terms of sheer driving pleasure, surpasses anything else in its class made in Detroit these days, not to mention imports like the Acura TSX and the Lexus ES350.” — Automobile Magazine.
“Put another way: If you like your old Buick, this ain’t it. But if you like the kind of work Acura has done with the TSX, the all-new Regal will be a pleasant surprise.”—- AutoWeek.
What The Wife Says:
“It has a solid feel when opening and closing the doors and the inside door handles are sturdy and well-positioned so you never feel like a door is going to get away from you.”
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“With its new look and new feel, the Buick Regal joins the already tough midsize sedan competition. Now lead by the Hyundai Sonata, the old reliable front-runner Honda Accord has further worries. In short, the Buick Regal is regal again.”