August 01, 2011
I stepped into our long term 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo without a lot of preparation and with a little bit of a prejudice against it. Perhaps the stereotyped picture of the blue-haired little old lady was in my mind. But as soon as I got it on the open road I felt a nice surge from under the hood. Nothing showy with blaring exhaust notes. Just a nice, confident pull, coupled with a smooth-shifting automatic.
Back in the office I got two surprises. This 220-hp engine is an inline 4 (okay, it's turbocharged). Surprise number is on the next page.
The fuel economy promised by the EPA (18 city/28 highway/22 combined) is actually being exceeded in real life. I logged in the numbers today and our lifetime average is 23.8 miles per gallon. So often, manufacturers game the EPA testing system to show numbers you'll never get. This Buick quietly exceeds expectations -- in a number of ways.
Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 9,975 miles
June 28, 2011
I had plenty of time to consider the ride quality in our long-term 2011 Buick Regal CXL 2.0T during my 900-mile weekend road trip. Overall, I'd call it pretty good, but I'm not convinced the adaptive dampers provide that much of a benefit... over the conventional shocks on the Regal 2.4.
In the default Normal mode, the Regal is compliant enough for me on most roads, but definitely on the firm side. As soon as we hit the Grapevine/Cajon Pass stretch of Interstate 5, though, my boyfriend pointed out that the ride was getting pretty busy, as the suspension and tires weren't filtering out enough of the small, quick impacts. So we switched to Tour, and sure enough, as James wrote, this mode subtly but usefully softens up the damping response and improves comfort over rougher pavement.
Although it's nice to be able to call up some extra compliance on our turbo Regal, the conventional dampers on the base Regal 2.4 I drove worked just fine. Ride quality was actually the thing I liked most about the Regal 2.4, and I remember that our test car was particularly adept at insulating its occupants from small impacts. The setup on our Regal 2.0T is certainly acceptable in Normal/Tour, but I'd bet I like this car as much or more on the base 2.4 suspension.
Further, I don't care for the Sport damping mode on our Regal CXL Turbo. It's too harsh for most roads and it doesn't do much to make the Regal feel sporty. I drove on some back roads in Sonoma County, but I wasn't about to use Sport. Too much of a compromise.
On a completely unrelated note, our Regal's nav system brings up this screen whenever it activates the low fuel warning. This is an incredibly handy feature when you're driving in an unfamiliar city, and I took advantage of it in Santa Rosa.
June 27, 2011
Over the weekend, our 2011 Buick Regal CXL 2.0T and I went off on another adventure, this time to Santa Rosa, California, some 428 miles to the north, for a wedding.
This was a lot of mileage to pack into 52 hours, so I didn't attempt any fuel economy heroics and just stayed with the flow of traffic on Interstates 5 and 580, and U.S. 101. The drive back on Sunday was littered with numerous traffic delays due to the Sprint Cup race at Infineon and roadwork near Bakersfield. So I didn't come close to my 30.8-mpg average for the Vegas trip.
June 16, 2011
I'm back from Vegas, and I'm pretty satisfied with our turbocharged 2011 Buick Regal as a road trip car. Although the Regal 2.0T never feels that potent leaving the line, it had adequate mid-range torque for climbing all the passes between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and the turbo 2.0-liter engine never felt strained.
June 15, 2011
Nope, this isn't our CXL, that's the 2012 Regal GS which was just announced to have 270 horsepower from a 2.0-liter I4. Highest specific output of any engine certified by the SAE. Oh, and it's available with a manual. Our CXL makes due with only 220 horsepower and an automatic.
This one should be fun....
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line
June 13, 2011
Here's the latest installment in your favorite Long-Term Road Test blog series "Inside Line Editor Goes to Vegas Under the Guise of Business." This time, it's true, though. I'm going there to drive a couple new cars. And I'll be using our Buick Regal Turbo for the 566-mile round trip.
I'm looking forward to it, as I drove the Regal over the weekend. Already, I've decided that the 220-horsepower, turbocharged and direct-injected, 2.0-liter four-cylinder should be the base engine on the Regal CXL, not the step-up option. Straightline performance is just fine with this engine. There's just enough torque for passing, even in this heavy car, and you hear the turbo every now and then. It's kinda good -- far better than the normally aspirated 2.4-liter.
Also, I'm really liking the ride quality over LA freeways and city streets, and I haven't even bothered with the Tour and Sport modes yet. So this bodes well for the next 283 miles ahead of me today.
If you have any questions about the Regal that I might be able to answer over the next 3 days, post them here and I'll do my best to respond.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor, @ 6,542 miles
June 08, 2011
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
June 07, 2011
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.
May 26, 2011
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
May 10, 2011
The last time I drove our long-term Regal, I was pretty tired and just wanted to get home. It was the perfect car at that moment. Last night, however, I still had some spring in my step, so I wondered how the Buick would fare in this state of mind. Generally speaking, I still think it's a well-rounded and very comfortable ride. But...
My girlfriend and I were making our way to get some of the best tacos in my area (Pinches Tacos on Sunset, if you must know). I was at a stop sign, waiting for a break in cross traffic. Finally, there was a three-second window and I punched it.
I said, "I punched it."
Rather than a quick dash across the intersection, I was greeted by a wheeze and a slow crawl halfway through the boulevard. About three-quarters of the way through the intersection, the engine finally sprang to life, and I kept my foot planted so as not to impede my fellow motorists.
This experience was as deserving as one of my flowcharts as our diesel Jetta was. I'm wondering if it turbo lag was solely responsible for this lack of response. In any case, the next time I need a shot off the line, I'll get a running start.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
April 27, 2011
Our long-term 2011 Buick Regal Turbo isn't the quickest sedan around, but it does have an impressive top end. Like 144 mph impressive. That's right, 144 mph. And it likes life at that velocity. Dead stable. No drama. Felt like it could cruise at that speed all day.
Remember is was born in bred in Germany kids.
April 27, 2011
Swapped test cars with Brent Romans midway between the office and his place out in the Central Valley. He took the Mustang GT and I came away with the 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo, which sounds like a bad deal for me.
Only it didnt turn out that way.
We made the swap at the Dennys at the foot of the Grapevine. The last weather of April was blowing through and it was one of those days where you turn your head sideways at every crossroads and look down roads where youve never been before.
Lucky for me there was a Sig Alert on Interstate 5 at Templin Highway, so there was no getting back to L.A. on the freeway. Instead I turned the Regal toward the old Ridge Route, a road that no sane person would think to drive a Buick. Hey, its a short cut, I told myself.
April 20, 2011
At last Ive figured out the reason why theres all this whining about the Buick Regal CXLs steering. Its big biceps.
These young guys around here have these big biceps, so naturally they seem to think that they should be using them all the time while theyre driving. You know, whipping the steering wheel back and forth, maybe sweating a little. Afterwards they beat their chests.
For them its all about steering effort, not steering. If its heavy, it must be good. Never mind communication, precision, quickness, linearity (or non-linearity) or a dozen other terms that encompass the vocabulary of steering. Instead heaviness prevails above all, perhaps because it is associated with straight-line stability.
Maybe it comes from my time with cars that have skinny tires and bad suspensions, but light-effort steering is fine with me. You drive with your fingertips, just like you do in a fast corner when youre trying to feel the limit of adhesion from the tires. Steer too much and you can feel the tires sag and then give up, and then the car slows down. You can whip the steering wheel around and muscle the tires through a corner, but its an exercise largely for entertainment, not speed.
Light-effort steering just doesnt bother me. Now that I no longer have biceps of any consequence, I no longer feel compelled to exercise them on the steering wheel. Maybe this puts me in the traditional Buick demographic, eh?
Michael Jordan, 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo
April 15, 2011
A friend of mine saw on the blog that I was driving our Regal CXL Turbo. "How does it compare to my IS 250?" he asked me. It was an interesting question. "I'm not sure," I told him. "Meet me for lunch with your IS and we'll find out."
My friend's Lexus IS 250 is rear-drive with six-speed automatic and 18-inch wheels. I was curious to drive the two cars as it's been a while since I've driven an IS. Plus, I think it's fair to say that the two cars are pretty close competitors.
His car is a 2008, but the IS haven't had any major mechanical updates since then. Here are a few 2011 Regal and 2011 IS 250 specs.
Regal IS 250
Base MSRP $28,745 $33,815
Power 220 hp 204 hp
Torque 258 lb-ft 185 lb-ft
Weight 3671 lbs 3435 lbs
EPA Combined 22 mpg 24 mpg
I drove the cars back to back on a 20-minute loop that included city streets and some highway. It wasn't much, but it was enough to get some general impressions.
Powertrain: Neither car held a big advantage here. Around town the Regal is a bit quicker and more responsive, which makes sense given its greater amount of torque. Both transmissions have a manual mode; the Regal's shifts more quickly in manual mode, and has rev-matched downshifts as well.
April 04, 2011
If you've been watching college basketball recently and not skipping too many commercials with your DVR, you've probably seen Buick's spot for the Regal Turbo (here and after the jump). It's a pretty cool commercial on its own and nicely conveys a message that Buick isn't the fuddy-duddy brand you used to know.
But there's one thing that could have made it even better.
There are quick cuts (five of them, actually) showing the driver using the manual shift gate for the automatic transmission. OK, sure, I get it. This is a driver's car, and driving equals shifting. But manually shifting an automatic just isn't much fun, at least compared to a traditional manual gearbox. And the cuts are made to make it look like he's shifting a manual.
April 01, 2011
One time in a previous life I had to come up with an on-the-spot video standup for a Bentley Continental GT Speed. One of my colleagues at the time stared at the car, and offered: "Hmm...looks good, goes good, drives good. There you go." Gee, thanks a lot for the help, knucklehead.
Obviously the Bentley deserves more hyperbole than just "goes good."
I was reminded of this exchange as I drove the Buick home yesterday. "Looks good, goes good, drives good" is a pretty apt description of the Regal Turbo. And I don't mean that in a negative way in the least.
Looks good: Okay, this is a pretty subjective category. But in my humble opinion the Regal is a sharp looking sedan, with chiseled lines and a set of stylish 19-inch wheels filling up the fenders. Even better, when I look at the Regal I don't instantly think: "Buick."
Goes good: You'd think with 258 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm the Regal Turbo would be quick. But a healthy case of turbo lag means it hesitates off the line, and then can't even spin the front tires under full wood. But once it's moving, the little turbo-four offers more than adequate midrange punch. It's smooth, too, although the engine's sound is completely devoid of character. The quick (but overly light) steering works with a chassis that's definitely not afraid of corners.
Drives good: Much like Mark Takahashi mentioned a few posts back regarding the Regal, sometimes you just want to get home, with no need to be bowled over by a car's sportiness. The Regal's quiet interior, cushy seats (which actually do offer a minor amount of lateral support), good armrests and supple but composed ride do the trick just fine. In other words, the Regal Turbo is a damn good piece with which to while away the miles and traffic.
No, it's not going to blow you away with its capabilities in any one particular area, but yeah, the Regal Turbo does look good, go good and drive good. And sometimes, that's enough.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 3,502 miles.
March 30, 2011
So Im just getting into the traffic, anticipating the next 90 minutes it'll take to get there, and I spot a nicely equipped Honda Accord EX-L V6 in front of me. It starts at, what, $29,400?
And I say to myself, Well, at least Im not in that.
I couldnt believe I said it. The words just came right out of my mouth.
Times have changed, eh?
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 3,414 miles
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
March 24, 2011
I'm not the target demographic for the Buick brand. I like ridiculous modes of transportation that are either inconvenient, dangerous or both. Say what you will about Buick's push for a more youthful audience, but I think the brand will always appeal more to the older folks. I think that driver places performance and driver engagement low on their priorities -- well below comfort and ease of use.
Last night, however, I was that driver.
It's been a busy couple of days. I was drained. The rain was coming down and traffic was backed up for miles. I just wanted to get home to my girl, my cat and my TV. I didn't want to be entertained by slick-road powerslides or a roaring exhaust -- my ears were still ringing from the last motorcycle I rode. I was tired, probably on the edge of being annoyed. I looked at the Regal and said, "Don't try to impress me, just get me home, ok?"
In the process, the Regal did manage to impress me, because it was just what I needed. It didn't keep me busy, or demand anything past the basics of driving skills. It was quiet, allowing me to just relax. The ride was smooth and the steering was featherlight. Nobody hassled me by trying to get me to drag race them at a signal, I just anonymously faded into the background. Perfect.
My complaints were few, which was surprising, since I was on the verge of being cranky when I left the office. I forgot my iPod cable on my desk and the Regal doesn't have streaming Bluetooth. Oh well. Parking in my backyard requires some sharp maneuvers in very cramped quarters and there's no backup camera. Rear visibility is pretty poor, but the parking sensors did their job just fine.
While there's no such thing as a perfect car, the Regal was perfect for me-- at least it was last night. I'm hoping to get the bounce back in my step real soon.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
March 21, 2011
My first whirl behind the wheel of our longterm 2011 Buick Regal came this weekend, and the impressions arrived in my cerebral cortex in convenient bullet point format.
- It's quiet
- It's got quite a stiff chassis. Feels very solid; bodes well for upcoming performance-oriented variants
- Dynamically, there's no one home
- The overall ride quality has been well exectued -- compliant without resorting to numbing softness. The stiff chassis helps here.
- There is some unnecessary busy-ness that I attribute to the very short tire sidewalls
- Or perhaps it could be heavy wheels. Sometimes it's discern to tell the difference between sidewall impact harshness and 'heavy wheel feel'.
- The steering is quick
- Yup, real quiet
- Looks pretty sharp, especially in the front three-quarters view
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
March 17, 2011
The surface icons on these buttons are appropriate to their function.
Sport: checkered flag motif. Bit of an exaggeration, but really the only mode this car can be driven in.
Touring: two flat bars. That's about right; flat. Times two.
There's the default Standard mode as well, about as sleepy and lazy as Touring. Similar balky shifting that plagues our Cruze, although not as pronounced and the transmissions are produced oceans apart (HydraMatic in our Cruze, Aisin in the Regal). Sport reminds you there's a car underneath, not just a fuel saving machine. Pushing it past about 2,000 in sixth lets loose a satisfying turbo whine, quiet and imperceptible unless the radio's off. Dipping into it when the lanes open is pretty addicting.
We've talked about the featherweight steering, Audi-like center stack and control illogic, and stubby front seats already. The Regal's got some flaws relative to the company it wants to join. But the cabin's nice. The leather is smooth and the thoughtful stitching adds a premium look. The doors offer a solid thunk when closed and offer some auditory confidence in the chassis.
Buick lists the Acura TSX and Volvo S60 as the Regal's target competitors. Both sticker for $3k-5k more than the Regal - and not without reason. Buick might covet that elusive young, hip professional buyer, but the Regal still trails the TSX's dynamics (sleepy though it has increasingly become) and the Volvo's interior. Gonna be hard to lure that buyer without some incentive, perhaps a lifetime supply of Ed Hardy denim disasters.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
March 16, 2011
Quick! What's the rediline on our 2011 Buick Regal CXL turbo? Don't Sherlock Holmes this photo or enlarge the shot. Allow yourself nothing more than the same half-second (or less) glance you'd take if you were consulting the tach before your next upshift.
March 13, 2011
Okay, okay, we've heard enough about the super-light steering on our 2011 Buick Regal CXL turbo when it's on the street. It's time to find out what that steering does when the conditions are right for us to open up the taps and chuck our long term Buick around the test track.
Reminder: The Buick CXL Turbo makes 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and puts that to the ground via the front tires through a six-speed automatic.
Follow the jump for the full specs and results including 0-60, quarter mile, slalom and skidpad...
Vehicle: 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injection I4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998/122
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 220 @ 5,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 258 @ 2,000
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch ventilated with single-piston calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.4-inch ventilated with single-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts with dual lower ball joints, coil springs, driver-adjustable 3-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Tire Size (front): P245/40R19 94W
Tire Size (rear): P245/40R19 94W
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle RSA
Tire Type: All Season
Wheel size: 19-by-9.6 inches
Wheel material (front/rear): Painted alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,759
0-30 (sec): 3.3 (3.4 with t/c off)
0-45 (sec): 5.4 (5.5 with t/c off)
0-60 (sec): 8.2 (8.4 with t/c off)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.8 (7.8 with t/c off)
0-75 (sec): 11.5 (11.8 with t/c off)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.9 @ 90.0 (16.1 @ 89.4 with t/c off)
30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 125
Slalom (mph): 65.8 (65.0 with t/c on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.83 (0.79 with t/c on)
Db @ Idle: 44.9
Db @ Full Throttle: 69.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.6
RPM @ 70: 2,100
Acceleration: Absolutely refuses to leave the line with any verve. Refuses / punishes pedal overlap so best launch was "slap'n'go" first run. Power is at first meager then builds at @3,500 rpm all the way to redline. Got some time back from the bad launches by manually shifting as drive short-shifts 500 rpm shy of redline (half-hearted rev-matching).
Braking: Good pedal feel, aggressive jump-in and minor (but progressive) fade. First stop was shortest. Zero ABS hum/flutter and straight as an arrow. Slight odor.
Handling: Skidpad: In "sport" with ESC "off" there's good balance right up to the point when understeer begins to creep in. Surprisingly grippy. Springy steering doesn't provide any feel of the tires. In normal with ESC on, the throttle goes away first, then the brakes begin to pulse. Slalom: Remarkable balance that doesn't threaten to spear in a straight line or spin (in sport w/esc off). Crisp turn-in but little feel of what happens next makes it more of a rhythm exercise than a probing-the-limits one. With ESC on, slow-in fast out with a tight line nearly matched best ESC off pass. Good ESC w/minimal intrusion.
March 03, 2011
It's the first thing I noticed as significant when I jumped in the Regal two nights ago for my commute home. This thing has no steering effort. Even at Speed. None.
Remarkably, there's a conventional belt-driven power steering pump providing hydraulic assist to the rack. And according to GM's specs, the 2.0-liter turbo version even gets variable effort. If it's variable it's imperceptibly so.
I'll admit that one-fingering the steering while sitting in my driveway is a gratuitous demonstration of my point. And, let's face it, this is a Buick. But come on. This is a car which hasn't ignored the idea that people like to drive in both its styling and its chassis tuning. So why do so when it comes to steering?
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
February 23, 2011
No, we didn't take a third car on my bachelor party. This past weekend I ventured to another one for my buddy Chris (the blond guy in aviators), this time taking our long-term Buick Regal.
Unlike the smooth sailing we enjoyed to Vegas for mine, this time around, Mother Nature had the audacity to rain us, turning our Friday night drive into a living hell. With the added thanks of a blown-out traffic light, it took us an hour and a half just to get from Los Feliz to East Pasadena, a trip that should normally take 22 minutes. From there, I had to deal with driving rain, poor drainage in I-210's carpool lane (I consequently did not observe that double yellow), traffic up I-15 through clouds, massive wind and other motorists. We arrived in Vegas at 12:30 six hours after we left ... it sucked.
As for the Regal, I thought it handled it well. I left the car in Sport to maximize my control in such crap conditions. The steering is never as tactile as I'd prefer, but it's firmness on center is at least reassuring. There is also a noticeable difference in the suspension settings -- to appease the hungover bachelor on the drive home, I left it in Tour, which does a spot-on job of smoothing out junk pavement without float.
I was also pleased with the engine. It's not going to put up stellar numbers at the track, but its torquey, turbocharged power delivery makes it quite strong on the freeway when passing left-lane dawdlers. Turbocharging also makes it a champ as elevations rise.
The Regal is no Equus when it comes to bachelor party transportation, but it was hard to flaw the way it drove. It does have other issues, however, which I'll get into tomorrow. For now, I'm going to stop writing/thinking. I'm zonked.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,564 miles
February 17, 2011
Drove the Buick Regal for the first time last night. Miraculously, the freeway was clear. Don't know what was up with that, but I got to actually drive this thing at highways speeds.
It smoothly gets up to speed. Not too much effort, not too much noise from the engine. The throttle is easy. But I have to agree with Ed about the overly light steering. It is too light for this turbocharged car. Driving around city streets, it feels really light. And when you jump on the highway, it gets super light and provides no feedback to the driver. It's definitely this car's weakest attribute.
Nice looking car, though. I know some of you think it's bland, but I like its styling inside and out.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
February 16, 2011
Am I lazy for using a shot from the intro of our Buick Regal long termer? Yes. Am I completely justified in doing so since I drove for this particular shoot? Yes again.
And what do I think about this new Regal?
The Good: Turbo engine feels suitably powerful and refined. No, this car is not fast. In fact, you'll get cooked by any number of V6 family haulers from a stoplight. But more importantly, the engine is quiet and remains that way throughout its powerband. For a turbocharged four-cylinder, it feels pretty solid.
The suspension isn't bad either. Put it in Sport mode and the car will whip around turns like the one pictured above with considerable speed. It doesn't sway or flop around either, so if you really want to make time down a twisty road this Regal would not embarrass itself.
The Bad: Numb steering. It's overly light at slow speeds and doesn't really stiffen up or deliver much feedback in Sport mode either.
It could use some better seats too. They're not uncomfortable, they just don't have any contouring to them. I wasn't expecting Recaros here, but I like to feel something, anything.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line