2011 Buick Regal Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Buick Regal Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Buick Regal Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 182 hp @ 6700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Buick Regal

  • The 2011 Buick Regal proves the old "what's in a name" adage; the tri-shield division has produced a car worthy of consideration by those who truly enjoy driving.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sporty handling; high fuel economy; upscale cabin; lots of standard features.

  • Cons

    Pokey acceleration; confusing electronics interface; narrow trunk.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the Buick Regal nameplate returns after a six-year hiatus. Only now, it's affixed to a Euro-bred sport sedan.

Full 2011 Buick Regal Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Buick Regal nameplate returns after a six-year hiatus. Only now, it's affixed to a Euro-bred sport sedan.


Mention the words Buick Regal and you're bound to get one of three responses. Some folks will give you blank stares. Others may remember a nice-riding but otherwise nondescript sedan with that name (that retired after 2004). And older folks may recall hood ornaments, pillowed velour bench seats and padded landau tops. With the all-new 2011 Buick Regal, the company is looking to change all that and give this nameplate a more modern and memorable persona.

The personality transplant comes by way of Europe ? the donor being General Motors' Opel division. The 2011 Buick Regal is based on the Opel Insignia and as such shares that smart sedan's athletic handling and well-sorted European ride. The Regal is a midsize sedan, but it rides on a 107.8-inch wheelbase, which is about 4 inches shorter than what you'll find on the recently introduced Buick LaCrosse. This means the Regal is a bit smaller, with a tighter backseat. Basically, you can consider this Buick's midsize car.

The 3,600-pound Regal is available with a 2.4-liter inline-4 that sports direct fuel-injection technology and high fuel economy (up to 30 mpg highway), but we've found its 182 horsepower inadequate for motivating a car with luxury aspirations -- most midsize sedans without luxury aspirations are quicker. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine sporting 220 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque is also offered and is a much better choice. It's hardly an acceleration champ either, but its punchy low-end power makes it seem quicker than it actually is.

Buick is positioning the 2011 Regal against the likes of the 2011 Acura TSX and 2011 Lexus IS 250. In the past, cross-shopping a Buick against these two well-known luxury sport sedans might have seemed as odd as adding liverwurst along with pizza and a cheeseburger to lunchtime considerations. But things have certainly turned around recently for Buick. If you can set aside your preconceived notions and take a 2011 Regal for a spin, chances are you won't forget to add this Buick to your sporty midsize sedan consideration list.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Buick Regal is a midsize family sport sedan available in two trim levels: CXL and CXL Turbo. 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, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a 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.

Opting for the Regal CXL Turbo will add rear parking sensors and a 12-way power-adjustable front passenger seat -- both of which are available on the standard Regal CXL as part of the optional Comfort and Convenience package. Options exclusive to the turbo model include 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights and an Interactive Drive Control system with Sport, Tour and Standard modes. Options for either Regal include a sunroof, a hard-drive-based navigation system with digital music storage and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Buick Regal is offered with the choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.0-liter turbocharged variant that produces 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic (with manual shift capability) is standard for both engines; the turbo is also offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

The EPA estimates fuel economy at 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 23 mpg in combined driving for the 2.4-liter engine. The CXL Turbo achieves an estimated 18/28/22.

In testing, a 2011 Regal with the base 2.4-liter required a very long 9.9 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. This is considerably slower -- in some cases, by more than 3 seconds -- than the competitors. The Turbo improves that time to 8.4 seconds, which is obviously better, but still slow for the class.


Standard safety equipment for all 2011 Buick Regal models include antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, OnStar, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear-seat thorax airbags are available as an option on all Regals, while brake assist is included only on the turbo model.

In Edmunds brake testing, both versions of the Regal came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is about average for cars in this class.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2011 Buick Regal as one of its "Top Safety Picks," awarding it the highest score of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Regal's cabin has a clean, no-nonsense design aesthetic, though a few splashes of metallic trim brighten things up a bit. The low-mounted climate controls are easy to decipher, though the audio setup has too many flat, look-alike buttons.

Adding the navigation system brings with it even more usability issues. The GM nav system is intended to utilize a touchscreen, but the Regal doesn't have this, instead relying on an odd redundancy of two multipurpose control knobs (one on the dash and the other on the center console). Also, the six radio preset buttons do not work unless the display screen has the audio menu highlighted -- it's odd and anathema to cars with navigation systems.

The front seats have plenty of support for spirited driving and comfort for long-haul trips. Those riding in back, however, may find the rear seatbacks a bit flat and uncomfortable, though a wide center armrest adds a measure of comfort back there. Trunk capacity is respectable at 14.2 cubic feet, but the trunk is narrow, meaning there's less space for golf bags than you'll find in some other similarly sized luxury sedans.

Driving Impressions

Those expecting a disconnected feel and a floaty ride are in for a big surprise with the 2011 Buick Regal. Quick steering and a firm, unwavering attitude on a winding road give the Regal plenty of sport sedan credibility. We're big fans of the optional Interactive Drive Control that provides three distinct settings for steering, suspension and throttle tuning. Sport mode noticeably improves the Regal's sportiness, while Tour gives the car a compliant ride without a hint of old-school Buick float.

Unfortunately, acceleration is far from sporty, at least with the base 2.4-liter engine. Under full throttle, this engine seems to generate more in the way of noise than power. In our opinion, the turbocharged engine is certainly worth the price premium. Despite its unimpressive timed runs at our test track, the Turbo offers a broad power spread, plenty of gusto around town and sufficient punch for charging up on-ramps.  The six-speed automatic clicked off smooth, timely shifts and unlike some other recent GM autoboxes, this transmission didn't seem obsessed with upshifting early in order to maximize fuel economy.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


by on
Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Has anyone experienced the noise coming from the air conditioner of the Buick Regal? I have taken it to the dealership several times, but of course, they can't hear it. I asked them to check the air conditioning unit, because when I turn the a/c off, the noise stops. Apparently if it doesn't show up in the computer, they won't do anything. I just want to know if anyone else has experienced this. By the way, I love my Regal, but the noise bugs me.

Love, love, and love

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Love love love my Buick! Just purchased a 2011 CLX, the color I was not thrilled about because it was triple black but once inside WOW! I'm in my 60's but sassy and this is me all the way. Back in 1972 I had a tan Regal it was sporty as well and then it went to the parent look.. I tell you when I get in this car it makes me feel wonderful, its not to small but not big either, I looked at the Lacross it was much to large for me my children are all grown and on their own so I told the dealer it fit me and my purse just fine. If you have not driven it you own it to yourself to take a test drive you will be sold, another thrilled Buick owner.

Just ok

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

The ladies love the sporty look, but, if you are more than 5'8" you'll be challenged to enter this car. It's quieter than my 2006 Malibu Maxx, which I kinda miss, but the transmission is very busy and you can hear every move it makes. It's hard to keep the RPMs under 2200 because it keeps shifting arpumd town. It is a pleasure to drive on the highway. I was hoping the 6-speed, 4 cylinder Regal would get better mileage than my v-6, 210 hpw Malibu Maxx...wrong. It's about the same. I like the car and hope to have it for 5 or more years, which I typically do.

Great car - so so

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Bought my 2011 Regal used with 18K miles on it. The car is great, and way more fun to drive than I thought. My navigation keeps resetting the time to an hour ahead, no matter how many times I set it. The navigation thinks I live in DC. I even paid for the $200 nav update disk and still the same. No traffic updates and no blue tooth streaming. I would not have bought this car had I known how horrible the nav is. The driver's heated seat does not work, and the auto a/c is way off. I have to set it to 80 degrees to get warm and 70 to cool off. I'm hoping a visit to the dealership will fix these issues but I shouldn't have to with 18K miles on it.

Traded in my a4 for

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

6 weeks ago, I decided to say goodbye to my Audi Service Department, where I spent way too much time with my A4. I located a Certified Regal with 2500 miles on the odometer and fully loaded with options - and built in Germany! Now that I am settling in with my new car, I can honestly say that it is a beautiful automobile. The cabin is very comfortable and quiet, the engine has plenty of power, and it is fun to drive. Despite being FWD, I find little difference in handling from the AWD Audi.I have the 6-speed Automatic which is a grand transmission - it always seems to be in the right gear and the shifts are very smooth. Fuel mileage is comparable to the Audi.

Traded in a4 for buick

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

After a disappointing ownership experience with my 2009 A4, I decided that I wanted a different brand and I opted for a very low mileage 2011 Buick Regal Turbo. After just two weeks, I am very impressed with the looks of the vehicle and the way it drives. There is plenty of room in the cabin, seats are very comfortable and the vehicle handles the way a German built car should. My initial fuel mileage is better than the Audi as well.

Talk About The 2011 Regal

2011 Buick Regal Discussions See all Started By

I picked up my new 2014 Base Regal 2 weeks ago to replace my 2011 Base Regal. What an improvement! Turbo is a rocket compared to the starndard 4 I had previously. Suspension is tighter and the car...

Today I viewed pictures of the 2911 Buick Regal , which will be introduced in the second quarter of 2010, on Edmunds and another site. Both the exterior and interior styling look excellent to me. Th...


Read more about the 2011 Buick Regal

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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