The Buick nameplate may be as American as baseball and apple pie, but the Regal Sportback has European roots. Like the Regal sedan that preceded it, the Regal Sportback is based on the Opel Insignia, a car largely designed by and for Europeans. Unlike its predecessor, the Regal Sportback has an even-more-European twist: Despite its sedanlike shape, it's actually a hatchback, with a big trunk opening that makes cargo loading a breeze. This is a space-efficient format that European buyers prefer over traditional sedans, and it makes just as much sense here in the States. (Buick will also offer a wagon version of the Regal called the TourX, reviewed separately.)
We don't mean to imply that the Buick Regal Sportback is lacking in American character. The upscale interior is exactly what American buyers expect from Buick, and the ride is smooth, composed and as quiet as a library. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides adequate power, while the V6-powered Regal GS cranks up the excitement level. This is an American luxury car with a European sense of practicality, and while the Buick badge may not be terribly popular with buyers, we think those who test-drive the Regal Sportback will find it extraordinarily useful.
Current Buick Regal Sportback
Buick sells the Regal Sportback in four models, called Regal, Preferred, Preferred II and Essence. The names may not roll off the tongue, but all models come with a healthy list of standard equipment, including keyless entry and ignition, an Android Auto- and Apple CarPlay-compatible stereo, a subscription-based 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and five years of OnStar, GM's telematics system, which — among other abilities — will automatically call for help in the event of a crash. Options include a Bose stereo and driver aids such as collision warning with automatic braking.
The Buick Regal Sportback gets its power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine tuned for 250 horsepower, and it is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The former uses a nine-speed automatic transmission, while the latter gets an eight-speed automatic. Engine tuning is also slightly different, with front-wheel-drive models developing 260 pound-feet of torque and all-wheel-drive versions getting 295 lb-ft. The Regal Sportback GS gets a 310-hp V6 and standard all-wheel drive.
At the time of writing, we had taken only a brief drive in the Buick Regal Sportback at General Motors' proving ground in Milford, Michigan. The four-cylinder models we sampled felt quick and quiet, though the ride was a bit softer than we expected. The Regal Sportback GS offers better and more composed handling with its adjustable suspension, though the increase in thrust with the V6 engine isn't as pronounced as we would have liked.
When it comes to practicality, the Buick Regal Sportback will be hard to beat. It offers 31.5 cubic feet of cargo area, more than twice that of the outgoing Regal sedan, and folding down the rear seatback (a 60/40-split seat is standard, with a three-section 40/20/40-split seat optional) opens up 60.7 cubic feet, enough to put the Regal Sportback squarely in small SUV territory.
Used Buick Regal Sportback Models
The Buick Regal Sportback made its debut as an all-new model for 2018, replacing the Buick Regal sedan (reviewed separately).
Read the most recent 2018 Buick Regal Sportback review.