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2011 Buick Regal Photo
Quick Take
We’ve always wanted a sedan as sleek and comfortable as this—but if the Regal’s going to wear a Buick badge, it probably needs more room and more power. Read more »
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…Just look at the thing, it's gorgeous…The entire layout is sculptural and quite handsome

Jalopnik »

The front is modern and unoffensive, the profile and rear quarter bring BMW to mind, and the rear looks like it came from Acura — from before when that brand forgot what a curve was.

Cars.com »

The Regal's interior is handsome, well-designed, and a huge leap over Buicks of the recent past, but it lacks the pizzazz of the new LaCrosse interior, and its plastics fall a bit short of those in not only cars like the Volkswagen Passat but even the Hyundai Genesis.

Automobile »

It’s handsome to look at….it looks far more expensive inside than do the U.S.-market Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry. The Regal has more soft-touch plastic surfaces and more elegant finishes, such as satin-metal door pulls and piano-black trim.

Car and Driver »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$26,360 $28,860
4-Door Sedan CXL RL4
Gas Mileage 19 mpg City/30 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas L4, 2.4L
EPA Class Midsize Cars
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
8.6 out of 10
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The Basics:

Burt Reynolds has left the building; there are no more W-cars to kick around. Buick has swept almost all the dusty past from its showrooms—but in an odd Taurus-like move, has dubbed its savvy new front-drive, mid-size sedan with the retro Regal badge.

Trust us. This is no Regal. It’s hardly a Buick, if you recall anything that came before the swank Enclave. Hey, we grew up on big Buicks oozing with V-8 authority, or at least, thrumming away with a workmanlike 3800 V-6—and that’s why this capable, stunning car feels like an odd fit, even for a brand that once sold Roadmasters and Reattas side by side without anyone to translate.

What makes it such a non sequitir? The Regal’s not just a small Buick—it’s a small Buick with only an aluminum four-cylinder engine, and if you want it, turbocharging. There is no V-6, nor is there a V-8. That alone could get it charged with heresy. It could be the right move at the right time, as most of the car world steps away from hulking hunks of low-efficiency iron. It could be a major disconnect.

Engines alone don’t divorce this sedan from the past. The Regal essentially is our version of the European Opel Insignia sport sedan and once was intended for dead Saturn. It’s since been retrofitted with Buick’s waterfall grille and taillamps, and it’s a visual knockout, an ersatz Infiniti G37 with a Nike-like side swoosh and a dynamically styled interior.

In handling and road feel, the Regal’s from another world, too. The automatic can be shifted with paddles. A manual transmission is on the way, probably arriving in tandem with a wagon. This Regal is an iconoclast, and it responds like nothing we’ve ever driven from Buick.

What the new Regal isn’t: particularly roomy or sporty. The Regal handles very well, but without the edge you’d find in a Ford Fusion—there’s a softness that’s a compromise between Buick’s past and its future. The turbo four spins out 220 horsepower, good but more than 50 hp shy of the upcoming Hyundai Sonata Turbo, which also outpaces it on price and room. That back seat pales against the rear benches or buckets in just about every near-luxury sedan on the same shopping radar screen: Maxima, S60, TSX, Passat CC. It’s a ‘tweener for sure, and there’s no telling if the smaller side of mid-size is going to play well with the Costco set.

We’ve driven the standard and turbo versions of the Regal CXL, which carries a base price of about $27,000. Buick says less expensive versions are coming, and it's also confirmed a 260-hp-plus Regal GS with that manual gearbox. We think it’s engaging and very appealing from the outside in, but it’s also smaller and pricier than expected.

That’s usually the case for imported domestics like the Regal—and it’s a tough sell, even to that small set of loyalists who hang with the hipsters every now and then.

Likes:

  • Have you seen one in person?
  • Polished road manners
  • Turbocharging brings it up to speed
  • AWD, manual versions in the works

Dislikes:

  • Four-cylinders are relative underachievers
  • Downsized back-seat room
  • Navigation system’s maddening controls
  • Premium price in a value-conscious niche
Next: Interior / Exterior »
8.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$25,305
BASE MSRP
$26,360
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8.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
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/ 10
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/ 10
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8.4
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