2011 Buick Regal Long Term Road Test

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: We Did It!

August 03, 2011

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One of the things we wanted to achieve with our Regal Turbo during its short stay with us was to get it to 10,000 miles before we had to give it back to Buick. Well, as you can see from the Regal's odometer, Mission Accomplished.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 10,100 miles.

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: The China Syndrome

July 27, 2011

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Try as I might, I can't imagine our Buick Regal in China. I know that Buick has sold more than 3 million cars in China since 1999, but I can't picture that classic American grille on the streets of Shanghai.

But my friend Michael Ellis got my head straight. He's a principal partner in 5 Design , a pretty snappy architecture firm in Los Angeles that does commercial work throughout China. Ellis spends about two weeks every month there and just got back from visiting projects in Dongguan, Jinan, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Zibo.

Basically I've got to stop imagining the Regal parked in front of some tacky American chop suey restaurant from the 1950s. Because China isn't like that, Ellis reminds me.

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: That'll Buff Right Out

July 11, 2011

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...and it did buff out thanks to the guys at our favorite car wash. There is one scratch, however that did remain from the initial smudge, but it's barely noticeable.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 8,775 miles

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: That Left a Mark

July 11, 2011

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I walked up to the Buick this weekend and saw this mark on the passenger-side A-pillar. No, I wasn't driving when this happened because, yes, I'd remember it. Perhaps I missed the previous blog when it first occurred. From the look of it (mostly black smudges that come off with some thumb-nail scraping) my best guess is a flying tire tread. There's also a fairly significant abrasion/line of scratches in the paint above the smudge and, following my theory, might be from the steel belts(?).

I'll have a run at it with some car-care products today.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 8,634

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Doing It the Old-Fashioned Way

July 07, 2011

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Our Buick Regal is not equipped with a backup camera. Not a problem, I'll just turn my head and look around by myself.

It's amazing, though, how quickly we get used to little luxuries and modern safety features.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Bring in the Wagon

July 05, 2011

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Last week I was in Germany visiting Jaguar's test center at the Nurburgring. Yes, I got to drive the new XKR-S on the Nordschleife. Yes, it was unbelievably cool. Yes, everyone should get to drive that track atleast once in their lifetime. Yes, I'll shut up and get to the point of this blog post.

And that point is this Opel Insignia wagon, which I spotted parked up the street from the Nurburgring, about 100 feet from Jaguar's test center.

Look familiar? That's right, it's a Buick Regal wagon. Or atleast it would be if GM imported this bodystyle into the United States.

Considering Cadillac has sold 7 or 8 CTS wagons this year I doubt GM is seriously considering this, but it would be cool. What do you think?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: The Young and the Converted

June 24, 2011

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I'm fifty-fifty on the Regal. One the one hand, it's a comfortable, well put-together car, and when I haven't seen it for a while, I'm surprised at how handsome its exterior really is. On the other hand? Meh. The car just doesn't rate high on my excitement scale.

But that's me. Recent buyers of the 2011 Buick Regal are giving it big props in our consumer reviews. More than 30 of them have weighed in, with most opting for the base 2.4-liter engine, not the turbo. There are only seven takers for our car in this group.

Several people had owned German and Japanese luxury brands such as BMW or Infiniti, along with the odd Saab. And so they started their shopping among the usual import "suspects." But they bought the Regal instead. It's very interesting that several buyers volunteered that they are in their 30s or 40s, and seem a little surprised at themselves for having chosen a car that's historically been the favorite of the pension crowd.

The Regal gets five stars from this mini-group of buyers. "Imports in this price range have something to be concerned about," one buyer wrote. Another, thinking of his comparsion class of Acura, Audi, Saab and BMW models, said "I always thought to myself, 'Why doesn't the U.S ever build cars like (that.)' Maybe they just did."

That's got to be music to GM's ears.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @7,292 miles

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: It's a Regal. Regal. Regal.

June 21, 2011

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I have absolutely no feeling about our long-term Buick. I'm so plain blah to it, that I can't even remember what model it is.

I get in thinking "Lacrosse?" and get out thinking, "Lucerne?..Wait do they even make that anymore?"

It's not that there's anything specifically wrong with the Regal for me. It's just that there's nothing compelling either.

Someone, please. Make me care about this car.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,186 miles

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Our Favorite Caption

June 17, 2011

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Thanks to ergsum for this week's favorite caption. Here are the others that made us roll.

At the Hotel Cortez, you can check in, but you can never leave. (ralphhightower)
Hourly rate for AARP members? (stephned1003)
Slot Car (ergsum)
Proof that Cortez never discovered the fountain of youth... (deagle13)
It's not your grandfather's Buick, but it is his hotel. (throwback)
What happens in the Regal, stays in the Regal. (ergsum)
The Regal goes in for its first dealer visit. (aleclance)
Pokey and the One-Armed Bandit (ergsum)
Regal CXL Turbo, it's no stripper. (ergsum)
Buick puts its owners on a pedestal (noburgers)
If you stare at this photo long enough, a car will appear (greenpony)
Lagging, baby? I know a place we can rest... (finn4723)
Would Takahashi hide in this trunk? (greenpony)
Will one of the prize choices be an island shirt? (technetium99)
You have arrived at your destination, thank you for using OnStar. (finn4723)
Edmunds' low per diem rate forces female journalist to stay in dodgy part of town. (agentorange)
What happens in the Buick, stays in the Buick. (finn4723)
Buick Regal, don't roulette out. (ergsum)
Poker?! I don't even know her! (ergsum)
Erin had a choice between a loafer or a high heel. (ergsum)

What was your favorite?

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: You Write the Caption

June 17, 2011

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Senior Editor Erin Riches sent me this photo from her trip to Las Vegas. Looks like the Buick was trying to make time with this lovely dancing lady.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Buick Regal: Not an Old Man's Car

June 08, 2011

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My grandfather owned a black Buick LeSabre T-Type, which was quite possibly the last cool Buick ever made. When he had to switch company cars, the T-Type was out of commission and he had to get a regular old LeSabre instead. Despite being in his 60s, he lamented the fact that he was driving an "old man's car."

Well, I think he would like this new Regal. It's not as cool as that T-Type, but it certainly isn't an old man's car.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Buick Regal CXL: Blends In

June 07, 2011

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I'm going to go ahead and agree with Monsignor Takahashi that the 2011 Buick Regal CXL is one of the finer vehicles in our fleet at tuning out the world and simply commuting. In this regard, I'm thrilled with the Regal: It's not numb, it's easy. Astronauts living on the space shuttle say that it's a disconcerting feeling being so separated from Mother Earth and this is, unfortunately, the way some car makers view isolation. The 2011 Regal isn't like that. The steering is light but feels connected to something. The suspension does the work of absorbing virtually all road imperfections, but there's an audible and reassuring *pfft* of compression to let you know that something happened -- think Audi suspension or that of our G8 GT. The brakes slow the car without requiring effort. And maybe most of all, the engine does everything I need on a commuting basis without beating me over the eardrums that there's an engine with a turbo in this thing.

These aren't enthusiast traits and that's okay. Not all cars have to be enthusiast cars and not all enthusiasts have to want to commute in a race-spec Miata. I've tried that. It's not fun. There is, however, one area the Buick falls flat: Visibility. And not the kind you're thinking of....

Driving some 150-200(?) +- cars a year, you not only get a sense of what different vehicles are like, but how they're perceived by the public at large. You want road respect? Grab an S-Class; people get out of the way. You want to steer clear of cops but still make time? Acura RL. You want to pick up chicks? Get a Wrangler. Trust me. You want to get cut off by every person trying to merge onto the roadway? Drive a Buick Regal.

It's like this car is invisible here in LA. I can't remember a car that has been so blatantly ignored by the driving public and not just today. I've been ranting in the office about this for a while now. Maybe it's the color. Maybe I'm so busy being isolated from the world I'm leaving gaps. I don't know. I only know that when I drive the Regal, I get cut off. A lot. Good thing about those light brakes, ey?

Any traffic respect stories our there? I know one of you has family with a Unimog, that's gotta do something to people...

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 6,375 miles

PS: Unrelated, but I saw more Veyrons this weekend than I did Regals with a final count of 3:1.

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Buckle Up Like It's 1987

June 01, 2011

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First off, I know I'm horrible for dwelling on this detail. But second off, it disappoints me every time I get in the car. It's the seatbelt buckle. I haven't run across a seatbelt buckle like this in over a decade. It's big, clunky, and reminscent of the buckle in my family's '87 Olds Custom Cruiser -- except it's unsatisfying plastic instead of metal.

This buckle in no way impacts comfort, but it's out of place in what's supposed to be a cooler, smaller, better-handling Buick. No, it doesn't make the car any slower or less agile, but it makes the car seem older than it really is every time you go for a drive. And it invites the question "If Buick couldn't spend money here, where else did the executives try to save a dime?"

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,166 miles

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2011 Buick Regal: Buy a Lacrosse Instead

May 26, 2011

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I got a chance to drive a Buick Lacrosse home last night and was once again impressed by a sedan that truly deserves the prefix "luxury." Seriously, the Lacrosse needs a lot more love than it gets. However, it got me thinking about our long-term Regal and how underwhelmed I've been by it. The driving experience and interior haven't lived up to the expectations I had for the Regal after reading about the Opel Insignia upon which Buick slapped badges. It's a shame, because I think it looks great.

Now, even though I was driving a fully loaded $40,000 Lacrosse, I was curious to know how much one would be if it was equipped to the level of our long-term Regal. Now, the two can't actually be equally equipped due to packaging differences, but with a few features missing and a few others added on, a comparable Lacrosse CXL with the V6 would cost $36,660. It wouldn't have our Regal's good looks, 2 mpg advantage, 19-inch wheels, xenon lights or interactive drive control (wouldn't need the latter), but the Lacrosse would have a bigger sunroof, a better stereo, more interior space, a higher quality cabin, a usable navigation system, a more powerful engine and actual steering feel. You'd also have access to even more optional goodies.

Frankly, I think that's worth an extra two grand over our Regal's $34,435 price tag. Sure, the Lacrosse isn't a sport sedan, but A) I don't think the Regal is much of one to begin with and B) I don't think most people who'd consider one of these two cars would care. If you had a choice, buy the Lacrosse.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Buick CXL Turbo: Flirtatious Keys

May 26, 2011

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As you can see, I have five keys. I'm sure some of you have more and some of you have less. By the way, please don't turn this into a key chain pissing match. I will be severely disappointed.

Anyway, as you can see, when I'm comfortably situated in our Regal, my keys tickle the top of my leg in a flirtatious manner. Had the keys been attractive, I wouldn't have minded, but as they're metal and incapable of love, it really bugged me.

It seems like a fairly obvious oversight, yes? Keyless start would do the trick, or maybe I should get over my fear of sensual metal.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 6,021 miles

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

May 02, 2011

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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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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: 5,000 Miles

April 28, 2011

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Since Tuesday evening I've driven our long-term 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo more than 500 miles. And this afternoon, on the way back from Mojave, CA, it broke the 5,000 mile mark on its odometer.

So far the Regal has proven problem free and the more I drive it the more I like it. As the miles pile up I'm fast becoming a Regal fan.

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Like the LEDs

April 13, 2011

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The LED accent lights on our Regal seem pretty well integrated to me. They certainly look better than what I've seen on some other cars (E-Class, 911) where it looks like the automaker did little more than tape on a strip of LEDs in a last-minute burst of fashion-driven, Audi "me-too!" jealousy.

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Steering Needs a Bump Stop

March 29, 2011

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I've encountered this on various cars before and it's annoying every time. I'm referring to steering systems that aren't damped when you get to the end of their travel. Seems trivial until you parallel park something a few times. Nothing worse than feeling -- and hearing -- that hollow pop.

The Regal does this and I'm not sure why. Most cars in this class have damped glove box doors. The least the Regal could have is a steering wheel that doesn't feel like it's hitting a racket ball every time you turn full lock. See what I mean in the video after the jump.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Reglyphics

March 28, 2011

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How not to sell a German-made American car to Americans: use cryptic icons instead of English.

Suggestion: "Cruise On." "Cruise Off." Drop the Audi thumbwheel in the middle. And play tracks from my elderly iPhone 3G. Regal infailtainment system loads up the tracks, artists and playlists fine from USB connection. Just doesn't actually play them (seriously).

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Bye-Bye, Booster

March 23, 2011

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That's it, after nearly 11 years of lugging my daughter's carseat from test-car to test-car, she has finally graduated out of her last child safety seat.

I took her Recaro booster for a farewell ride this morning, happily tucking it into the Buick Regal's trunk instead of strapping it in the backseat.

Had to twist the box to fit it into the opening.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 3,193 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Buick Regal in WA is:

$144 per month*
* Explanation
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