The 2012 Buick Regal is one sleekly sculpted sedan, with an international look that plays just as well on this continent as it does over in Europe, where it's sold as an Opel.Between the details stamped into its door panels and the Buick waterfall grille pouring over its front end, we think the Regal may be the best-looking family sedan GM builds. The Nike-like swoosh down its flanks gives it great visual drama. The rear quarters pick up some influences from cars like the Infiniti G37, what with the stubby decklid and big 18-inch wheels. The dynamic shape isn't related at all to Buick's outgoing cars, but connects well with the bigger LaCrosse and the upcoming Verano, giving the lineup a real sense of family style that's visually distinctive, and a knockout.
The Regal's cabin is well-executed, too. The low instrument panel is highlighted by crisp LED-lit gauges, and the shield-shaped center stack of controls are framed by high-quality trim. On some Regal sedans, a large LCD panel takes up prime real estate in the center of the dash, all in the name of navigation. The doors have glints of metallic trim and sweeping lines that read upscale, and on GS cars, the white-stitched black leather seats do the same. Regal owners can choose from satin metallic interior trim, piano-black plastic or a dark wood called Kibo; we come down in favor of the satin trim, which doesn't date the cabin or leave it smudged with fingerprints. (Side note: pianos, and their glossy finishes, belong in conservatories, not in cars.)