What's New for 1996
The Series II 3.8-liter V6 is standard on Limited and Gran Sport, optional on base Custom models. Standard equipment now includes dual ComforTemp climate controls and a cassette player. Revised wheels, available in chrome, are standard on the Gran Sport. Base V6 is upgraded, and both engines feature long-life engine components.
The current front-wheel drive Regal started life in 1988 as a replacement for the hugely successful rear-wheel drive coupe of the same name. Blocky styling and vinyl roof treatments gave way to rounded corners and a less ostentatious amount of chrome trim. Sales dropped like the proverbial rock, leaving Buick scratching its head in puzzlement. The addition of a four-door in 1990 helped somewhat, but sales levels never climbed back to mid-Eighties highs.
The Regal is an attractive car, depending on how it's optioned out. GS versions sport the best appearance, eschewing chrome and skinny tires for a more luxury-sport look. This year, Regal Limited and Gran Sport get the powerful Series II 3.8-liter V6 engine, which pumps 205 horsepower through an electronically controlled four-speed automatic. Torque is up as well. Base Custom models make do with the standard 3.1-liter 160-horsepower V6.
Four new colors debut for 1996, and dual ComforTemp climate control is now standard. Revised wheels are available on Gran Sport, including an optional chrome finish. Extended-life spark plugs and long-life engine coolant find their way under the hood. Also included on all Regals are antilock brakes and dual air bags.
With base prices starting at about $20,000, Regal is a relatively good value. However, there are plenty of coupes and sedans on the market that offer more style and performance than this rapidly aging effort.