2017 Buick Regal Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2017 Buick Regal occupies a unique space in the midsize sedan segment. It's a small notch above run-of-the-mill sedans but doesn't quite make the leap to entry-level luxury, as the Cadillac ATS does. The Regal will appeal to buyers who prioritize value, with its solid foundation of standard features and approachable cost of entry.
The 2017 model year marks the end of the current Regal generation, so few changes beyond a couple paint colors and new wheel designs separate the 2017s from last year's models. The base front-drive model comes with a 2.4-liter engine that returns slightly underwhelming acceleration and fuel economy. All models above the base 1SV trim receive a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a much livelier output of 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and that's the engine we recommend getting. Buick's ambitions to present the Regal as a more premium model aren't as effective as when it first came out, though, mostly due to the rising quality of its competition. Also, its lack of rear passenger space, namely in the head- and legroom departments, is something to consider if you plan to carry a full load of taller adults regularly.
Some other models that you should compare to the Regal include the Acura TLX, which starts a bit higher in price but provides better rear seat accommodations, excellent cargo space and a generous list of standard features. And while you're checking out the TLX, its close cousin, the 2017 Honda Accord, is definitely worth a look as well. Straddling a similar line between standard and luxury cars is the Toyota Avalon. It sports a clean, comfortable cabin design with generous rear passenger accommodations and is powered by a strong yet fuel-efficient V6 engine. And finally, there's the 2017 Lincoln MKZ, another feature-rich entry-level luxury sedan that makes a bold styling statement.
The 2017 Buick Regal comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are standard on the Premium II and GS. The standard OnStar system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, a stolen vehicle locator and remote door unlock.
The optional Driver Confidence 1 package includes blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a frontal collision warning system. The Driver Confidence 2 package adds adaptive cruise control and a more sophisticated frontal collision mitigation system that initiates automatic braking in potential crash situations.
In Edmunds brake testing, a turbocharged Regal came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is shorter than average for a car in this class. A GS with the optional 20-inch summer tires managed to stop in an even shorter 113 feet, although most other sport sedans with summer tires fare even better.
In government crash tests, the Regal received the top five-star rating overall, including four stars for total frontal-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Regal its highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Regal's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Buick Regal is a midsize sedan that comes in 1SV, Sport Touring, Premium II and GS trim levels.
The base 1SV Regal starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), a power, height-adjustable passenger seat (with manual adjustments), split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system (with an 8-inch touchscreen), a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free (giving iPhone users voice control over a range of functions via the Bluetooth microphone), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for enhanced smartphone functionality, a Wi-Fi hot spot with 4G LTE data, OnStar emergency communications, and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and two USB ports.
The Sport Touring trim adds a more powerful turbocharged engine and dual exhaust outlets as well as unique 18-inch wheels with black-painted pockets and a rear spoiler.
The Premium II adds front LED signature lighting, rear parking sensors, rear-seat side airbags, keyless entry and push-button ignition, remote start, a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power passenger seat (with two-way power lumbar), a 110-volt power outlet, a navigation system and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
The range topping Regal GS comes with 19-inch wheels (20-inch wheels with summer tires are optional), unique front and rear fascias, front and rear parking sensors, a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, two selectable drive modes (influencing suspension, steering and shift calibration), Brembo front brakes, body-color sport rocker panels, an enlarged and configurable gauge-cluster information display, unique pedals, sport front seats and a three-spoke sport steering wheel.
Most of these GS features are exclusive, but the sport-tuned suspension (minus the adaptive dampers) is also specified on non-GS Regals with AWD. Optional on the Premium II and GS are two Driver Confidence packages. The first adds numerous safety technologies (including a blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision alert) as well as driver memory settings, while the second — which requires the first — adds adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.
Stand-alone options, depending on trim, include some of the higher trims' standard features plus a sunroof and 18-inch chrome-clad wheels.
The base 2017 Buick Regal 1SV employs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy ratings, 23 mpg combined (19 city/30 highway), are disappointingly low given the modest output and comparison to the competition.
In Edmunds testing of a Regal with the 2.4-liter powertrain, we recorded a substandard 0-60-mph time of 9.8 seconds. That's by far the slowest time we've recorded for a midsize sedan, let alone a sedan like the Regal with premium pretensions.
The remaining Regal trims rely on a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. A six-speed automatic transmission is also standard across the board.
The EPA rates the turbocharged Regal at 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) with front-wheel drive and the automatic, and 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway) with AWD.
In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Regal with the 2.0-liter turbo accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is slower than many choices in this price range. It's also one of the slowest among midsize sedans with an upgraded engine.
When equipped with the optional turbocharged engine, the 2017 Buick Regal provides enough dynamic motivation that you'll likely be satisfied. It might not be the most refined or efficient four-cylinder in this price range, but real-world acceleration is more than ample in most situations. The base model engine doesn't provide any advantages other than small cost savings, so making the upgrade is a good idea.
Engines aside, the Regal delivers with a smooth ride and a remarkably quiet cabin. Models that are equipped with the sport suspension conduct themselves surprisingly well in the corners without much sacrifice in ride comfort — we'd actually call it borderline fun. What perhaps is holding the Regal back most from being engaging is a lack of steering feel. However, it's light and reasonably precise, so most will find it agreeable in casual driving.
With an image portrayed as "sporty luxury," the Regal doesn't excel in either area. But it has a little of both, if you get the right trim.
Inside, the 2017 Buick Regal features a sleek dashboard with minimal button clutter. Although the quality of the materials is satisfactory, the appearance is upscale, if not fully luxury-grade. The standard 8-inch touchscreen powers the IntelliLink infotainment system, which features large icons and Pandora radio compatibility as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The IntelliLink interface graphics are colorful and sharp, and it uses smartphone-style swipe commands and voice recognition functionality. Buick includes the same screen on every model, as opposed to making you pay more for a premium display as many competitors do.
The Regal's front seats sport firm cushioning but lack a little lateral support. Rear seat passengers might find the back seat relatively cramped, which is surprising given the exterior dimensions. The Regal's elegant sloping roof line is partially to blame, as it cuts into available rear headroom.
Out back, the Regal offers a decent 14.2 cubic feet of trunk space, which is marginally better than some competitors.
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.