The Buick Regal is one of GM's more charming sports sedans, still, five years after it first hit the road. There's power, just not too much. It's responsive, but not overly stiff. It's a convincing performer in both the luxury-sedan 2019 buick regal photos and sport-sedan world.
The Regal merits a 6.8 on our scale of 10, due in large part to its lovely shape and its excellent road manners. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
It suffers somewhat from its premium positioning, which means you'll pay more for its features and finishes for what's essentially a smaller mid-size sedan. The Regal doesn't suffer at all for its refined performance and its athletic looks, and those have brought new buyers, just the kind Buick wants to attract.
Review continues below
Buick Regal styling and performance
Its lean, deeply stamped sheet metal is the Regal's best calling card. The sleek, tightly composed shape is one of the reasons it's been a success. It's the most athletic-looking vehicle in the Buick lineup, and it's done that with just a hint or two of Buick's dramatically styled past. The Nike-like swoosh down its sides is what it's all about—it says just as much about the Regal's mission as does the lack of portholes on the front fenders.
Inside, the Regal is pleasing and intuitive. The leather and two-tone trim on top models is subdued and handsome. The cockpit has been updated almost annually, and in its latest version, offers smooth integration of buttons, screens and new technology.
On the frugal side, the Regal can be outfitted with a rental-grade powertrain and commensurate base price. That 2.4-liter, 182-horsepower inline-4 is only adequate in power and in refinement, coupled as it is to a 6-speed automatic and devoid of the best mechanical touches Buick applies to other models.
Buick's Regal turbos are the better choice in almost every case. Whether it's the standard or the Regal GS edition, both get a single turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 with 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph times below seven seconds and a sweet growl give this powertrain the nod; but if you're looking to shift it yourself, the base turbo only comes with a 6-speed automatic.
The performance-oriented GS isn't a BMW 3-Series—or a Cadillac ATS—in the level of handling precision it offers, but the GS remains our favorite Regal because it imparts a sporty feel without sacrificing its well-controlled ride, albeit at a price that overlaps some true sport sedans.
The Regal also can be fitted with an all-wheel-drive system, with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential across the rear wheels. The reasonably taut feel baked into the Regal's ride and handling is still here—it has the muted damping of a good German sedan, and electric power steering that avoids the heavyweight cliches. With all-wheel drive, there's more effective power delivery out of corners—and maybe more interest from shoppers.
Base Regals are rated at 19 mpg city, 30 highway, 23 combined—well below 4-cylinder Hyundai Sonatas and Nissan Altimas. The Regal's turbo 2.0-liter inline-4 earns a 21/29/24 mpg rating in front-drive, or 19/27/22 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Regal comfort, safety, and features
The Buick Regal is comfortable for four adults, assuming the rear passengers aren't too large, as the car is slightly smaller than some other mid-size cars in the segment. It doesn't come up shy in front-seat space; the Regal's back seat may be rated for three people, but two adults could have trouble fitting in, if they're very tall.
As for safety, Buick's earned great crash-test scores with the Regal in the past. It has a standard rearview camera (and on the GS, front and rear parking sensors), and adds optional adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision warning system.
Bringing the Regal's infotainment system another step forward, Buick recently upgraded the available IntelliLink system to a simpler, more brightly colored interface based on Cadillac's CUE, without its haptic feedback—but also without the Regal's old knob-style controllers. The touchscreen allows users to reconfigure the home screen, to choose up to 60 favorites across its suite of applications, and to store up to 1,000 contacts—while integrating smartphone-based streaming audio and accessing navigation with natural-voice commands. Bose audio tops off the package.
As an assist to the touchscreen interface, the Regal sports a 4.2-inch screen tucked in between its gauges, to display info from the available navigation system, phone, audio system, and vehicle. On the Regal GS, the center of the gauge cluster swaps out for an 8.0-inch LCD screen with customizable looks for different driving modes. The Regal also has an option for 4G LTE connectivity via OnStar, and can turn itself into a wi-fi hotspot.
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