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GM has been on a home-improvement project at Buick. Five years ago, the badge appeared on Rainier SUVs and Terraza minivans. Today, it's applied to the pretty seven-seat Enclave crossover, the sleek LaCrosse sedan, and the Regal, the brand's mid-size sedan.
Last year the Regal name made its return, in four-cylinder and turbo-four form. This year, it's adding a more powerful GS sport model, as well as an eAssist version that applies hybrid and battery technology to improve fuel economy, without going the full-fledged hybrid route.
For the 2012 model year, we're giving the Regal a score of 7 here at FamilyCarGuide. The fuller Regal lineup still impresses us with its good safety scores, friendly handling and above-average fuel economy, but there's a little less rear-seat and trunk space, and bit higher price tag, than you'll find on some less "premium" cars in its class.
For families looking for great safety, the Regal has the usual standard curtain airbags and stability control. While it hasn't yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the four-door its Top Safety Pick. Bluetooth and OnStar are standard equipment, and parking sensors are an option, but the Regal doesn't offer the blind-spot monitors or rearview camera you'll find in a less expensive Ford Fusion.
It's not the largest family sedan, but there's room enough for young families to spare inside the Regal. On paper it's nearly the size of the Ford Fusion, and just a bit smaller in interior volume than the likes of the Hyundai Sonata, but in front, two adults will be happy with the available head and leg room, even under the optional sunroof. It's the back seat where the Regal seems to have less usable space than some other family sedans, with tighter head and knee room for adults. The trunk is noticeably smaller than other four-doors in the Regal's size class, and a long family trip could require some careful packing.