2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Touring Tryptophan
March 17, 2011
The surface icons on these buttons are appropriate to their function.
Sport: checkered flag motif. Bit of an exaggeration, but really the only mode this car can be driven in.
Touring: two flat bars. That's about right; flat. Times two.
There's the default Standard mode as well, about as sleepy and lazy as Touring. Similar balky shifting that plagues our Cruze, although not as pronounced and the transmissions are produced oceans apart (HydraMatic in our Cruze, Aisin in the Regal). Sport reminds you there's a car underneath, not just a fuel saving machine. Pushing it past about 2,000 in sixth lets loose a satisfying turbo whine, quiet and imperceptible unless the radio's off. Dipping into it when the lanes open is pretty addicting.
We've talked about the featherweight steering, Audi-like center stack and control illogic, and stubby front seats already. The Regal's got some flaws relative to the company it wants to join. But the cabin's nice. The leather is smooth and the thoughtful stitching adds a premium look. The doors offer a solid thunk when closed and offer some auditory confidence in the chassis.
Buick lists the Acura TSX and Volvo S60 as the Regal's target competitors. Both sticker for $3k-5k more than the Regal - and not without reason. Buick might covet that elusive young, hip professional buyer, but the Regal still trails the TSX's dynamics (sleepy though it has increasingly become) and the Volvo's interior. Gonna be hard to lure that buyer without some incentive, perhaps a lifetime supply of Ed Hardy denim disasters.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor