Buick says the new 2011 Regal’s shape is sleek and sculpted, and we're inclined to agree, after seeing it in a GM design studio last year and watching it zip around the deserts east of San Diego.
We liked the car as the Opel Insignia and as the Chinese-market Buick Regal, and the swift details pressed into its door panels and the Buick waterfall grille have been integrated nicely (and quickly) into a car that at one point was to be the second-generation Saturn Aura. The swoosh down the side reminds us of the Nike logo; from the three-quarters rear view, we’re convinced some designers have been admiring the Infiniti G37, what with the stubby decklid and big 18-inch wheels. It’s a dynamic wedge that’s completely unrelated to the big old Lucerne or even the larger LaCrosse with which it shares some platform pieces. It’s visually distinct—and a knockout.
The Regal's interior is almost as successful. Directly in front of the driver sits a low instrument panel highlighted by crisp LED-lit gauges, while the central dash arranges controls on a shield-shaped band of high-quality plastic. The sweeping lines that wrap the doors into the design glint with metallic trim. It’s all suitably upscale. Buyers will have a choice of satin metallic interior trim, piano-black plastic or a dark wood called Kibo.
Regal sedans outfitted with the navigation system get a good-sized LCD panel and a wheel controller down on the console—they're integrated well enough, but we’ll tell you how they perform a little later.