2011 Buick Regal Review

Regal

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2011 Buick Regal Overview

Bankruptcy has changed General Motors, and the 2011 Buick Regal stands as evidence. Once considered a brand for grandparents, Buick now delivers a sports sedan in the Regal that should appeal to a younger demographic and challenge soft-luxury vehicles like the Acura TSX. What’s more, the 2011 Regal will soon be available with a manual transmission, the first time Buick has offered a stick since the 1989 Skyhawk.

This may be new territory for Buick, but the Regal isn’t exactly a new design. It’s a rebadged and rebranded Opel Isignia, named the 2009 European Car of the Year by some publications and a champion of the autobahn. Opel is GM’s European manufacturing branch, and the Regal will even be built in Russelsheim, Germany, for the first year, before production moves to North America.

A handsome car with distinguished lines and an elegant interior, the Regal will be offered in just one trim level to start, the CXL. A less-expensive CX trim and a high-performance CXS trim are expected later.

The Regal will come standard with a 2.4-liter VVT four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 172 lb-ft of torque at 4,900, is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and gets 20 city/30 highway mpg. A turbocharged 2.0-liter direct injection four-cylinder (220 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) will be available in the near future. It, too, will come standard with the six-speed automatic, but it will have a six-speed manual transmission as an option for all those eager to experience the rare Buick stick shift.

The Regal would hardly qualify as a sports sedan if it shared the floating, boat-like ride associated with Buicks of the past, and it doesn’t. Like the Insignia, the Regal boasts responsive handling and a tightly controlled ride. It isn’t exactly a fast car, but it can go from 0-60 in the 8-9 second range and provides ample power when the need arises. The shifts from the automatic transmission are sharp, not lagging like older Buicks, and add to the Regal’s overall sporty performance.

The turbocharged engine will come with adaptive shocks (which Buick calls an “Interactive Drive Control System”) that can be used in Sport, Normal, and Tour modes. The IDCS comes bundled with 19-inch wheels and tires and a variable-ratio steering rack. Early testers felt the 2.0-liter four-cylinder didn’t show any turbo lag, they appreciated the hard driving allowed by the IDCS, and they felt the manual transmission was smooth and in the same class as Audi or Volkswagen.

The Regal’s interior features lots of soft-touch plastics and graceful finishing touches that provide an elegant feel. The CXL trim comes standard with heated leather front seats, 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, Bluetooth, OnStar Directions and Connections plan, and dual-zone automatic air conditioning. A navigation system and rear parking assist with camera highlight the optional features. The Regal has plenty of room for people or luggage, with 97 cubic feet of passenger space and 14 cubic feet of trunk space.

Standard safety features include a traction control system, four-wheel antilock brakes, dual-stage front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, head curtain side airbags, rear seat thorax airbags, and daytime running lamps.

Updated
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After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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    Buick Regal Questions

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