Although the Buick Regal nameplate has been around since the mid-1970s, the most common examples for automotive shoppers will be either the new, European-influenced model or the previous generation that debuted back in 1997. Between the two generations there was a six-year hiatus, and although these cars have the same name, they couldn't be any more different. The current Regal offers sophisticated styling and road manners, while the previous generation is much more in the traditional Buick mold, meaning squishy seats, an isolated driving experience and a roomy but old-fashioned cabin accented by some cheap plastic trim.
The older generation makes for an inexpensive family car, as there are plenty available, and there's even a supercharged version for those who'd like a midsize sedan with some kick. The current Regal's exterior styling combines traditional Buick elements (such as a chrome waterfall grille) with neatly tailored European lines, no mere coincidence considering the Regal is based on GM's European Opel Insignia. The cabin is likewise attractive, with splashes of metallic trim to brighten things up a bit. The latest Regal provides an entertaining drive along with the strengths that Buick has long been known for: a smooth ride and very quiet cabin. As such, this well-rounded midsize sport sedan should appeal to driving enthusiasts who never thought they'd consider a Buick.
Current Buick Regal
The Regal's base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 259 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available as an option. A six-speed automatic transmission is the only choice unless you spring for the GS, which offers an optional six-speed manual with front-drive (the GS AWD is automatic-only). A 2.4-liter four-cylinder with mild hybrid technology called "eAssist" is offered as an option on the Premium I trim. It's good for 182 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque, with shifting duties handled by a six-speed automatic. EPA combined fuel economy with the mild hybrid rates in the high 20s.
The Buick Regal comes in four trim levels: base, Premium I, Premium II and GS. The base Regal's standard highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, Bluetooth, OnStar and a seven-speaker sound system. The Premium 1 trim adds keyless ignition and entry, rear parking sensors and a power passenger seat, while the Premium 2 trim adds amenities like adds automatic xenon headlights, a navigation system, an upgraded sound system and rear passenger side airbags. The Regal GS comes with all of the above along with Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats and unique exterior and interior accents. A sunroof is optional on all Regals, while a touchscreen navigation system and lane-departure, blind-spot and forward-collision warning systems are available in optional packages on certain trims.
In reviews, we've praised the Regal's upscale-looking cabin. The standard front seats provide plenty of support for spirited driving and comfort for long-haul trips, though they may be a bit snug for wider folks. Those riding in back, however, may find the rear seatbacks a bit flat and uncomfortable, and tall adults will likely bemoan the lack of headroom. The Intellilink infotainment system is easier to use than the previous button-heavy interface, and looks better to boot. An abundance of infotainment media options should please technophiles.
On the move, the turbocharged base model is spunky and quick, though there's a slight delay after the gas pedal is floored before the car really hits its stride. However, we'd recommend skipping the 2.4 "eAssist" version. Though it gets decent fuel economy, its acceleration is sluggish for a car in this price range. On a curvy road the Regal displays impressive athleticism, especially in the GS version. Some drivers may find the precise steering too light (except on the GS) and disconnected for their tastes, but for most buyers this won't be an issue. The Regal's ride is hard to fault, as the suspension flattens out bumps and ruts and the cabin remains hushed at highway speeds. The GS also gets adaptive dampers that can firm up the ride or make it comfier at the press of a button.
Read the most recent 2016 Buick Regal review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Buick Regal page.