2011 Buick Regal CXL: Better Than the TSX. Maybe
March 25, 2011
Having spent successive evening and morning commutes with both fine automobiles, here's why the Buick Regal is cooler than the TSX wagon:
-Mini iDrive-style dial controller falls right to hand fore of the armrest. The TSX's graphic user interface offers better color, contrast and larger font, but you have to lean to the center stack to use the dial. Longer periods of wandering the sat radio stations, or working the phone functions, necessitate dropping your shoulder and resting your elbow on your knee.
-On the same theme: scanning through the sat radio stations displays not only channel name, but current artist playing. Great for restless DJ'ing.
-Phonebook loads automatically on pairing. Easy to scroll through the phonebook and see who you can road dial.
-Regal sounds cooler than any alphanumeric name.
-Lets not use the f-word (ffff ..floaty sorry), but the Regal, intentionally or otherwise, keeps the road at a distance. If you're an old dude like Takahashi, that may be exactly what you want.
-Boost whistle is fun!
-Made for Americans by Germans.
Now, why the TSX wagon owns the Regal:
-Tighter chassis. Bushings, shock valving, spring rates, unibody "hoop" structure - whatever's responsible, the TSX is just tighter, more responsive and offers better relationship with the road. For some - perhaps the legacy Buick buyer - the TSX will be too stiff. For others, it's welcome and invigorating.
-More refined transmission. The TSX hangs onto revs better, and isn't as eager to shift as the Regal. Factor in the Regal's turbo lag - not unusual or excessive - and you end up bogging in sixth coming out of a hot corner more often than not. Caveat: this applies to standard D mode in both cars, but you can instantly grab a paddle for a downshift in the TSX in D-mode. Yes, I know you can grab the Regal's shifter, yank it into "manual" mode and push up for a downshift. TSX wins on simplicity.
-Better armrest than the Regal's sliver of support, impeded by two cupholders. So when I sweep my arm distractedly while talking to my agent about the meager percentage he negotiated, I can also knock my venti latte all over my leather passenger seat.
-TSX looks similar to Mazda6 wagon. Regal looks like Acura RL. Almost a tie, but decision goes to TSX for better inspiration.
-Made for Europeans by Japanese, and now a test case to see if Americans like the taste.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor