2018 Buick Regal Sportback

2018 Buick Regal Sportback Review

The new Buick Regal Sportback adds an extra dose of style and utility to the traditional sedan.
7.9 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is an all-new model that adds a slight twist to the formula used for Regal sedans of the past. Instead of a traditional trunk on most cars in the class, the Regal Sportback has a hatchback that gives it a sleeker, coupelike profile and an added dose of utility. It's something that German automakers have been doing for a while now with vehicles such as the Audi A7 and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Compared to the previous Regal, the Sportback offers more than twice the cargo capacity (31.5 cubic feet) and a more flexible, easier-to-access cargo area. Folding the rear seats down further expands the cargo area to 60.7 cubic feet, which is even more than Buick's Envision compact SUV offers.

You wouldn't know it was so big inside from looking at it, however. But the Regal Sportback rides on a wheelbase that's 3 inches longer than the previous Regal, a change that gives it a long, low profile. Overall, the Regal Sportback is slightly longer in both overall length and wheelbase than the Acura TLX, a car that shares a similar price range.

The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in the front-wheel-drive model. With the optional all-wheel drive, the torque number jumps to 295 lb-ft. Front-wheel-drive models come with a nine-speed automatic, and all-wheel-drive models get an eight-speed automatic transmission.

If you're interested in even more performance, there's the new Regal GS, which shares the same body style but comes with a 310-horsepower V6 and standard all-wheel drive.

We'll know more about the 2018 Buick Regal in the coming months once we obtain one for testing.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is an all-new model. Its new liftback-style design makes it more like a hatchback and less like the previous generation of Regal sport sedan it replaces.

We recommend

Considering the price, the Regal Sportback base and Preferred trims are nice enough. The Preferred doesn't offer significant upgrades over the base trim, except for a power-adjustable driver seat, but it does open the door to options unavailable on the base. But we say skip the line and jump to the Preferred II. It comes with all of the useful tech (8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple and Android integration), nicer wheels and the more flexible 40/20/40-split folding rear seats.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is available in four trim levels: Regal 1SV, Preferred, Preferred II and Essence. A sporty RS trim is expected to debut later in the model year.

The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (250 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque) in front-wheel-drive models. With the optional all-wheel drive, the torque number jumps to 295 lb-ft. Front-wheel-drive models come with a nine-speed automatic, and all-wheel-drive models get an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Regal 1SV offers standard features including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated power side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, OnStar (with a 4G LTE connection and Wi-Fi hotspot), and a seven-speaker audio system with a 7-inch touchscreen interface and USB port.

Moving up to the Preferred adds a power-adjustable driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It also offers options such as the Driver Confidence package that includes 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Sights and Sounds package adds a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen (with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration), dual rear seat charge-only USB ports, and a Bose eight-speaker audio system with HD radio. A sunroof is also available as a stand-alone option.

The Preferred II comes with the upgraded 8-inch touchscreen plus 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a driver information screen between the gauges. All-wheel-drive models also feature active noise cancellation through the audio system. You can get the optional Driver Confidence package with this trim as well. It offers the same features listed above plus wireless device charging, while the Sights and Sounds package adds navigation and the premium Bose audio system.

The range-topping Essence trim bundles the standard features of the lower trims and adds leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power-adjustable passenger seat. The optional Driver Confidence package adds the same features as on the lower trims but also tacks on driver-position memory and an auto-dimming side mirror for the driver. A second Driver Confidence package (called Driver Confidence II, naturally) pads on adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning and intervention. This package is only available for the Essence and requires the Driver Confidence I package.

We expect the Regal GS' main upgrades to include a 310-hp V6 engine, a sport-tuned suspension, larger wheels, Brembo brakes and sport seats.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Buick Regal Sportback (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 9-speed automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.9 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability7.5 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort7.5 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10
Climate control7.5 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use7.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.5 / 10
Driving position9.0 / 10
Roominess8.0 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Utility

9.0 / 10

Small-item storage5.5 / 10
Cargo space9.5 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation7.5 / 10
Smartphone integration9.0 / 10
Driver aids7.5 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving7.5

The Regal Sportback is powered by a powerful and efficient turbo 2.0-liter that offers acceleration on par with some V6s. Confident brakes and quick steering are also highlights, but a soft, comfort-oriented suspension and slow-to-downshift transmission take the sport out of this Sportback.

Acceleration8.5

The Regal's turbo 2.0-liter engine is punchy and provides a surprising amount of thrust. It takes a moment for the engine to build boost, but once you're going, acceleration is more than adequate for its purposes. In testing, the Regal hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, comparable to a V6 engine's time.

Braking8.0

The Regal delivers smooth and easy braking response that's also very stable and reassuring if presented with a sudden panic stop. Its ABS system is fast-acting and relatively quiet in operation. The Regal needed 124 feet to stop from 60 mph in testing, which is comparable to the segment average.

Steering7.5

The steering is quick and has light effort, which makes it easy to wheel around the city and in parking lots. The effort at highway speeds is too light, however, requiring many corrections to go straight. Otherwise we like its directness and aren't too bothered by low amount of road feel.

Handling7.0

We would not call this Sportback "sporty." The Regal swaps some handling prowess for ride comfort, and that's OK in this case. Overall, it's composed but exhibits pronounced body movement with every bump it encounters.

Drivability7.5

This is an easy car to drive, but it's not without faults. The auto stop-start cannot be defeated, so you have to learn to drive around it if traffic merging is to be done quickly. Downshifts from the nine-speed transmission can be on the slow side, but shifting is otherwise smooth and seamless.

Comfort8.0

Buick is typically a standout when it comes to quietness, and the Regal Sportback is no exception. The comfort-tuned suspension also pays off, delivering good ride quality without feeling disconnected from the road. It receives only a couple of small strikes for the seats and climate controls.

Seat comfort7.5

The seats lack breathability and the material feels cheap, but the cushions balance firmness and compliance well. There's a good amount adjustment including four-way adjustable lumbar support. Lateral support is average, and the armrest padding on the doors is thin.

Ride comfort8.0

Ride comfort is quite agreeable. Bumps big and small are generally dispatched without the Regal feeling overly floaty or disconnected. There is a little more body movement in exchange for the softer ride but it isn't anything to complaint about.

Noise & vibration8.5

Buick excels at keeping the loud out of the cabin. At city speeds or when cruising the highway at 75 mph, the Regal's cabin is quite quiet. Wind and ambient noise is attenuated especially well, and road noise only permeates at a low level. No creaks or rattles to be heard.

Climate control7.5

The climate controls are straightforward save for the vent modes you must access through the touchscreen. All other controls such as fan speed have real buttons but can also be changed via the touchscreen. The seats have no ventilation but the heaters work great. The air conditioning is powerful.

Interior7.5

There's nothing fancy about the Regal's cabin, but at least its controls are straightforward. Drivers can find a comfortable driving position with relative ease, which is important. The sleek Sportback roofline entails some trade-offs in ease-of-entry and visibility.

Ease of use7.5

Nothing overly clever, the controls are fairly straightforward and easy to manipulate. The touchscreen is responsive, but — typical of touchscreens — is not as easy to operate on the move as a rotary knob. Oddly enough, there's no trunk release in the cabin or on the key fob.

Getting in/getting out7.5

The rear sloping roof cuts into rear headroom a bit. The door opening looks wide but pinches down at the foot area, making it slightly awkward and less convenient than it appears. Getting into the front is otherwise easy, with a shallow stepover and decent head clearance.

Driving position9.0

Its driving position should be ideal for most people. The seat drops down quite low for tremendous headroom or can be raised up high for a more commanding view of the road. The tilt-and-telescoping steering column offers a decent amount of adjustment, too.

Roominess8.0

The dashboard's bulk cuts into knee clearance, but the easy-entry driver's seat helps alleviate this issue. Ample head- and hiproom up front. Plenty of rear legroom with a buffer of soft, concave front seat backs. Generous enough to fit five with decent headroom for the middle seat.

Visibility7.5

The windshield is wide, but the side mirrors sit at the pillar and door intersections, and the mirror partially obstructs the view in left turns. The rear pillars are bulky, making the backup camera quite useful. Rear visibility is more sedanlike due to the flatter slope of the rear hatch window.

Quality7.5

The cabin quietness and design of the interior are appealing, although its parts-bin switchgear and garish chrome highlights definitely detract. Details such as these, plus a notable lack of arm padding, chip away at the Regal's regal-ness.

Utility9.0

A massive rear hatch with 31.5 cubic feet of storage, a number of in-cabin storage solutions for personal effects, and easy-access car-seat anchor points make the Regal Sportback a wagon with exemplary utility benefits.

Small-item storage5.5

There are fairly deep door pockets up front with slightly less sizable ones in the rear. The armrest bin is average with cellphone-specific storage/charging space. Of three front cupholders, one is oversized to fit larger bottles. A small space upfront can conceal valuables under a sliding door.

Cargo space9.5

With 31.5 cubic feet of cargo space, the Sportback's trunk dwarfs any comparable sedan trunk. The rear seats have a 40/20/40-split arrangement and fold virtually flat, giving you nice convenient options. These cargo advantages have no downsides, so why would anybody choose a sedan over a Sportback?

Child safety seat accommodation8.0

With a fairly roomy back seat and easy-access LATCH anchors under plastic flip doors, car seat installation should be relatively easy. The lower roofline might require some extra bending, but this isn't far off a standard sedan.

Technology8.0

General Motors has a strong tech game of late. Device integration is among the most comprehensive in the industry and a standard Wi-Fi hotspot is an unexpected luxury. Our Regal came with just a few advanced driving aids, which is a little uncommon for a premium midsize sedan or wagon.

Audio & navigation7.5

The upgraded Bose audio system delivers decent clarity and adequate bass and should satisfy the average person's audio needs. The quiet cabin helps as well. The navigation system is modern but unremarkable. Its interface is a little fussy at first but becomes easier with practice.

Smartphone integration9.0

Optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well, as does the standard media interface. Wi-Fi with 4G LTE internet is standard (limited trial) and connects up to seven devices. There are three USB plugs and wireless phone charging. Bluetooth pairing is easy and can be done via voice command.

Driver aids7.5

Our Regal came with a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise is offered but wasn't equipped on our car. Everything works relatively well but there's nothing special, which you'd expect at this class level.

Voice control8.0

Voice controls have quick response time. You can make calls, find an address, check weather, or tune to any radio station including satellite. Long button presses call up Siri or Google, too. Tolerance for natural language is quite good. The help menu is rather extensive.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.