2011 Buick Regal CXL 2.0T: Santa Rosa and Back, Part 2
June 28, 2011
I had plenty of time to consider the ride quality in our long-term 2011 Buick Regal CXL 2.0T during my 900-mile weekend road trip. Overall, I'd call it pretty good, but I'm not convinced the adaptive dampers provide that much of a benefit... over the conventional shocks on the Regal 2.4.
In the default Normal mode, the Regal is compliant enough for me on most roads, but definitely on the firm side. As soon as we hit the Grapevine/Cajon Pass stretch of Interstate 5, though, my boyfriend pointed out that the ride was getting pretty busy, as the suspension and tires weren't filtering out enough of the small, quick impacts. So we switched to Tour, and sure enough, as James wrote, this mode subtly but usefully softens up the damping response and improves comfort over rougher pavement.
Although it's nice to be able to call up some extra compliance on our turbo Regal, the conventional dampers on the base Regal 2.4 I drove worked just fine. Ride quality was actually the thing I liked most about the Regal 2.4, and I remember that our test car was particularly adept at insulating its occupants from small impacts. The setup on our Regal 2.0T is certainly acceptable in Normal/Tour, but I'd bet I like this car as much or more on the base 2.4 suspension.
Further, I don't care for the Sport damping mode on our Regal CXL Turbo. It's too harsh for most roads and it doesn't do much to make the Regal feel sporty. I drove on some back roads in Sonoma County, but I wasn't about to use Sport. Too much of a compromise.
On a completely unrelated note, our Regal's nav system brings up this screen whenever it activates the low fuel warning. This is an incredibly handy feature when you're driving in an unfamiliar city, and I took advantage of it in Santa Rosa.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,220 miles