2018 Buick Regal Sportback Review

Regal Sportback

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2018 Buick Regal Sportback Overview

The Regal has been a hidden gem in the Buick lineup since it was relaunched in the late 2000s. Its agile handling, well-appointed interior, and understated design were sadly overlooked by most buyers, and for 2018, Buick hopes to change its fortunes with the launch of the all-new Regal Sportback.

The 2018 Regal Sportback is more striking the model it replaces, with a profile reminiscent of a German sedan, a coupe-like roofline, and clean-looking sides. Its large liftgate opens up to a spacious 31.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, which extends to 60.7 cubic feet when the seats are folded. The front end features a number of cues found on the LaCrosse and the redesigned Enclave, such as a winged grille and creased headlights, and wheels range in size from 17 to 19 inches. Those wanting to stand out even further should consider the sporty GS trim, which comes with aggressive front and rear fascias, a decklid spoiler, and large 19-inch wheels.

Moving inside, Buick has done quite a lot to make the new Regal Sportback better than its predecessor. Higher-quality materials and various color schemes put the Regal on par with its more expensive rivals, and the sport-oriented cockpit design angles many of the controls towards the driver. Those sitting in the back have plenty of legroom thanks to the Sportback’s 111.4-inch wheelbase, which is 3.6 inches longer than that of the outgoing Regal. GS models feature front seats with extra side bolstering and a flat-bottom steering wheel. For tech, the Regal Sportback comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen featuring the Intellilink infotainment system, while a larger 8-inch system with navigation is also available. Both systems feature compatibility for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi to keep passengers occupied on long drives.

The Regal Sportback comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine offering 250 hp. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) models are paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission and will see a torque figure of 260 lb-ft, while all-wheel-drive (AWD) models get an 8-speed automatic and 295 lb-ft of torque. As for the GS trim, it comes with AWD and a 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission for 310 hp and 282 lb-ft. The AWD system is quite clever, as it can split power going to each rear wheel to improve handling. Fuel-economy figures haven't been announced yet, but we’re expecting some big improvements since the new Sportback sheds close to 200 pounds of curb weight over the previous model.

The Regal GS boasts some additional performance features that sets it apart from the rest of the lineup, such as Brembo brakes and Buick’s second-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system. Making close to 500 adjustments per second, the damping system can be adjusted via the Interactive Drive Control (IDC) system to provide either agile handling or a smooth ride, depending on the driver’s needs.

All Regal Sportbacks come with a new active-hood pedestrian safety system. If a collision with a pedestrian is imminent, a pyrotechnic actuator activates to raise the back of the hood up 4 inches, lessening the impact and hopefully reducing the severity of the injuries. A number of active safety features are available as options, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and automatic emergency braking.

The 2018 Regal Sportback arrives at dealers towards the end of the year with a starting price of $25,915. The GS serves as the Sportback’s flagship model and is priced accordingly at $39,990.

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Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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