Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Buick Regal GS AWD Automatic Test Drive

 I have driven the Regal GS last year.
And was very impressed by it.
This time, I got to spend a few days with an AWD version. And this one was also was an automatic.
(Which I assume is a more popular choice.)

I think the Regal/Opel Insignia is a great design. It still looks modern and fresh to me.
(actually as good or better than the new Chrysler 200)

 Most of the interior is still the same. Most changes are around the console area. And it is now even better than before.
The fit and finish is as good as it gets. Everything is super solid and material used everywhere are of high quality.
The Bose stereo of my test car sounds great. The seats are super comfortable and very supportive.
Quite a high quality place to spend some time.

Although the back seat isn't as roomy as other mid sized sedans out there. A problem it shared with the pre-2014 Malibu.

The 2.0 Liter engine is, as always, super smooth and powerful. (VW should take a lesson on how to make a smooth 2.0 Liter Turbo engine. With more power.)
It is rated at 19/27 MPG.
I did get 19 in the city, (but you have to drive it like a Prius.)
And I had no problem getting 31 HWY.

The steering feels very good, and a bit firm. As it should be in a sportier version.
But I must say, still not as perfect as the Fusion 2.0 Liter.

There is still a Sport button on top of the console.
As just like before, it doesn't change a thing. It is really weird that they even offer it.
Suspension, steering and transmission behave exactly the same either way...

There was almost zero torque steer with the FWD model I drove last year. And of course, there is none whatsoever with tis AWD model.
The car always feels very secure and safe to drive.

Now for the 6 speed auto.
 It is mostly very smooth. And a perfect companion for HWY driving.

 But it does always reach for the higher gear. Which becomes annoying in fun canyon roads. Where you have to push it into downshifting most of the time.
Sure, you can use the "fake manual" which actually works really well and fixes the problem.
But I just wished they had a simple S mode that could hold the gears a little longer.
And paddle shifts are missing. (For once they could be really useful)

Otherwise, I think the Regal is a fantastic car.
the last one I drove had a weird USB problem where it couldn't recognize most playlists on my phone.
GM's new IntelliLink is as good as it can be. And there are no problems to report.

The Regal is a great driving car. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a really good upscale sedan with German road manners.

But it isn't cheap.
It starts at around $30 600. The GS model at $37 800.
My test car had about every single option and was $44 275.
Which seems pretty high.
Until I priced an Audi A4 with similar equipment, at above $48 000.

The main problem might still be Buick's image. Which is not in the same league as Audi's.
(The Regal name doesn't help either).

I will try to get a "regular", non GS model to drive soon. As I think it might be a batter deal. Since both cars use the same engine.
I hope more and more people keep an open mind and give the Regal a chance.
As it is truly a great car.


Anonymous said...

You didn't talk about MPG, Vince. What did you get, city and highway?

Vince Burlapp said...

Sorry, yes, I forgot. I will update.
I got 19/31

Tard said...

Vince, the GS suspension button difference was very noticeable when I tested it, but that was no AWD version and maybe that's why. I liked the car, but it is simply too expensive for what it is and what else is out there in the price range. I'm no brand snob, but I do recognize that it matters should you need to sell, if it comes down to the same money and slightly less kit but more brand for your 40K, then you'd be stupid to buy the Buick over a better brand. Sad thing is these don't sell well, but the dealers and GM don't discount them much, and thus they rot on the lots.

Other thing is if you drop this coin on a Regal there has to be a reason to choose it over other stuff. Being just about as nice doesn't cut it - either be noticeably better, or noticeably less expensive.

Anonymous said...

I love this car. But I have three problems with it...

First, to anyone in their 30s or 40s, the name "Regal" is such a trashy connotation. I understand that Buick has a rich heritage that they are trying to communicate. But Buick's heyday was so long ago that it's not relevant to anyone in this target market. The Regal name is outdated and silly.

Second, the front bumper graphics are all-hat-no-cattle considering the engine. This is not really a high-performance car. A Camry could probably eat its lunch during a stoplight sprint. This is still an awesome ride, but it shouldn't write checks it can't cash.

Third and last, the price. It's too expensive for a 4cyl Buick. It's about 5K beyond the consideration set of most prospective customers. Price it properly, and if there is enough demand then Buick can adjust upward accordingly once it's gained traction in the marketplace.

Anonymous said...

The reason this thing was never successful was that Buick got lazy and just used the Opel exterior design... which doesn't work here in the States... instead of designing their own.

Anonymous said...

"The reason this thing was never successful was that Buick got lazy and just used the Opel exterior design... which doesn't work here in the States... instead of designing their own."

Completely disagree. With this car, Buick is going after a more educated, affluent customer who is well traveled and will appreciate European and the better Japanese competition. Being an american-only design would be a turnoff for anyone looking in this segment.