Would 'Blind Tasting' Help? - 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo Long-Term Road Test

2011 Buick Regal Long Term Road Test

2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Would 'Blind Tasting' Help?

May 02, 2011

Buick Regal at SM Airport.jpg

In 1976, a blind tasting that came to be known as the Judgment of Paris turned the wine world on its head. Two wines from California's Napa Valley, the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and the 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, beat out their French competitors (and it was French judges doing the tasting). Quel scandale.

I thought about that tasting this weekend when my car-loving husband was driving the Buick Regal CXL Turbo. He didn't love it -- didn't hate it, but was decidedly unimpressed. "It's a Buick," he said repeatedly, as though that explained everything. (I should add that the last American car he owned was a very sad little used Gremlin. It's been Japanese and German cars ever since.)

"What if you couldn't see any badges or logos?" I asked. "What would you think you were driving?" He pondered that. "A Japanese luxury brand," he said. I somehow think GM wouldn't mind hearing that, even if the Regal was engineered in Europe. It beats what some people say about Buicks.

It's too bad that we can't blind test-drive cars (as opposed to test-driving blind -- not advisable). There's so much baggage associated with a car's history and its marketing that it can be hard to shake that off when you get behind the wheel. GM is featuring Buicks in its Main Street in Motion events in the belief that if it can get people to just drive the cars, for crying out loud, they'd like them -- perhaps despite their name.

So what do you think? Can a car's history drag it down? Is it possible to test-drive with a completely open mind?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @5,210 miles

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