Review: 2011 Buick Regal Turbo Take Two

Posted on 30. Mar, 2011 by in Auto News

Sometimes love strikes at first sight. Other times it is produced more gradually over months or even years. When I first drove the new Buick Regal nearly a year ago, I found a lot to like, but love does not happen immediately. The shelf is just not the type of car. His strengths are subtle. Maybe if we were together for a week, and a turbo added to the mixture?

Ours is an open relationship, I also played the field, driving an Acura TSX V6, Chrysler 200 Limited and Volvo S60 T5 to better evaluate how the Buick measured. These reviews will follow. First, the Regal CXL Turbo.

The shelf is not as flashy a dresser as a half-size-larger Buick LaCrosse, but it is probably better to wear over time. Throughout the week, the car looked better and better for me. The conditions are excellent for a front-driver, wherein the ends of the carriage are tightened in order to minimize their perceived mass. In a clear sign of commitment Lutz, the fenders swell out wonderfully to just contain optional 19-inch wheels. Inspired by the 1998-2004 Audi A6, but refined. Current Audis, with more kinks in their curves, appear stodgy in comparison. I took many photos in an attempt to do justice to shelf, but failed. Its complex covering are not easily captured in two dimensions. An external blemish, which can be easily fixed: There is far too much badging on the trunk. Each owner has actually aired that their car can burn E85?

The shelf inside similarly grew more attractive during the week. Although styled less open than the interiors in the Acura and Volvo, there is beauty in the details. Look closely, and as its exterior, the interior is filled with Buick curves. These flow together so harmoniously and so tastefully decorated and with piano black and glossy metallic trim that no element draws attention to itself highlighted. (Okay, that does chrome decorative frame around the shifter, but without a few gems of the interior would be too dark.) Night, ice blue lighting proves attractive and pleasing to the eye.

When I first drove the Regal I reported that their interior materials not quite measure up to the. In an Audi or Acura Maybe I was thinking in the past Audis and Acuras. The interiors of the current A4 and TSX and the new Volvo S60, for that matter-seem plasticky compared to the shelf. Within the Buick most surfaces are soft to the touch, and even those that are not have a reassuringly solid feel. The door handles-historically a GM weakness deserves special note. Tug on it, and they do not move a bit. But they also have a soft-touch palm. Regal production shifted from Germany to Canada. Hopefully these materials survived the move.

Ergonomics are much better than in the LaCrosse, with the shift lever in place, and the many knobs and buttons all within easy reach. But there are so many buttons and knobs, unconventionally arranged (for North America, at least) that even basic operations require considerable hunting at first. By the end of the week I'd figured out how to perform most functions. Maybe after a year to start the position of the audio controls on the steering wheel, the center console and the center console would be intuitive? The tach is a bit disturbing, since in some VWs are numbered in hundreds rather than thousands, making it easy to confuse at a glance with the speedometer. As is often the case is, the gear indicator mounted low in the instruments, where it is not possible to read at a glance. (I was spoiled in the past week by the head-up display in a GMC Acadia.) Fortunately, the driving position requires no such acclimation. Compared to the over-all styling LaCrosse the Shelf has a lower, flatter instrument panel and thin, upright pillars.

Then there are the seats. Since the headrests protrude forward so it took me a few days to a position that is not very uncomfortable (for me, the neck may be less vertical) to find. Supposedly this torture is necessary for safety, but both Acura and Volvo earn equally good rear crash protection scores with much less intrusive headrests. The problem is that GM is not willing to put his cars with active headrests that fit forward in a rear impact. Excluding this factor is missing the shelf the backrest contour and their jaws are too far apart. They have four-way lumbar, vs. the two-way manual lumbar support in the Acura and Volvo, but the seats in these competitors, however, are both more cosseting when cruising and more support when the road gets twisty. The shelf, the shortcomings were. These seats, the biggest obstacle to a satisfactory long-term relationship I could eventually learn to live with them, but it would be a struggle.

The shelf is in GM mode, a few inches longer than its closest competitor, and it's paying off some dividends in rear legroom. Nevertheless, the rear seat is not a fun place for adults. Legroom, albeit relatively ample, is still limited and the cushion is too low. The bottom of the price of the dome roof line Add to make it worse, rear passengers do not get shiny metallic trim on her door pulls in to save a few bucks? But they get rear air vents and an AC outlet (which will only work with a three-prong plug.) The trunk is a little larger than most, and fold the rear seatback to expand it.

I drove out the shelf with a 182-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and found this motor enough. In the course of a week with the optional 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder I found … well enough, just more Sun Tipping a friendly scale at 3,671 pounds, the Regal Turbo weighs hundreds of pounds more than most competitors. Consequently, the turbo engine is only effected parity with the base engines in the Acura TSX, Audi A4 and Volvo S60. (And much less expensive Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, for that matter.)

Why GM has decided that 220-horsepower four one option? Virtually everyone else offers base engines that are a little less powerful along with optional engines that are far more powerful. To more effectively with this competition, the 2012 Regal is also a 255-hp version of the 2.0-liter turbo is available. But that is still 20-40 hp short parity when the shelf has a more powerful engine to compensate for its extra poundage.

With respect to the embodiment, the shelf turbo engine better than previous GM fours behave, but idle less smooth and quiet as the best and makes pedestrian four-cylinder noises when revved. Casual riders little sick-apart from a very weak occasional whistle notice the increased nature of the engine is not evident, but there is also nothing to inspire. The soulful winning the Acura and Volvo are offered are in different league. These sixes also feel much stronger when starting from a standstill, where the usually instantaneous Buick engine sometimes hesitates for a moment.

Fuel economy is 18 city / 28 highway rated by the EPA. Competitors usually a few MPG better, especially in the city. An Audi A4 2.0T, which weighs around 270 kilos less: 22/30. Even in turbocharged six-cylinder all-wheel-drive form the Volvo S60 manages 18/26. The even more powerful Cadillac CTS with the 3.6-liter V6: 18/27. So the fuel economy benefits of the four-cylinder turbo are not evident. S in casual driving I observed about 22.5 on the shelf.

The chassis is easier to admire, even if love proves yet, difficult to grasp. Going down the road the Regal feels unusually solid and well-behaved for a non-German car. Unless it's a German car. Or had moved to Canada. The ride-handling balance is about the best thing you can find in a top-heavy front-driver. The ultra-low-profile tires 245/40WR19 audibly clomp over road imperfections, but speak, despite the absence of any side walls of the ride remains smooth and safe on all but the worst roads. The Acura and Volvo are not as composed. There are some lean alternately, but no more than in other sedans without hardcore performance ambitions.

Understeer? With nearly 60 percent of many pounds of the shelf on the front tires, of course there is understeer. But the situation is more complicated than it first appears. The shelf the overly light steering has a relaxed atmosphere, and when the wheel is turned on for the first time the car nose seems to follow a certain restraint. But override this feedback and optimize the wheel for another twenty-or-so degrees, and the front tires mysteriously hook up and carve a tight line. Once you know this hidden capability is there, it is easy to use. But it could never intuitive. If and when she reaches the stability control does so very effectively and relatively transparent. The systems in the Acura and Volvo in particular are much more intrusive.

The top shelf option packages pair the 19-inch wheels (a big aesthetic improvement) with adjustable shocks. Prominent "Sport" and "Tour" button and strengthen or relax these shocks along with the steering and throttle. At least they should. Even after a week in order to make myself familiar with the car, I could not tell the difference between the default and "Sport". The latter may make the ride a little more abruptly, but the handling is not appreciably affected. Supposedly the system adapts to your driving style, so it could be just something near "Sport" failed for me. In "Tour" the steering felt a little more vague and the suspension felt a little less tied, but the differences are again so small that I doubt that I am. Reliably distinguish them in a blind test So the trick shocks are a waste? Not for everyone, which provides about driving. You have just as a good job left to themselves, they are simply left to themselves.

The steering is a different matter. A more significant difference between the modes, as in Audi latest "Drive Select" packages that would be better than the current system. But an excellently tuned, single-mode system would be best of all.

The price: $ 35,185 with all the toys. Ask. For feature differences (like the trick shocks) with True Delta car price comparison tool and a similarly equipped four-cylinder Acura TSX is a few hundred less The two cars are very similarly priced. Thus the shelf. About $ 5,000 on the much more powerful Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T (about $ 2,800 after setting function), but about $ 7,000 under an Audi A4 2.0T

Buick would of course prefer that you focus on the latter comparison, and they would have justification for it. How is suggested by its highly refined styling and hefty curb weight, the Regal was designed and developed well over the normal $ 25,000 car standards that. Could explain why it starts at $ 27,000 and ends at $ 35,000 when fully loaded Want the basic car and the performance bits, but need a lower price? Cutting the nav would save $ 2,000 and cutting the sunroof would shave another wing.

Ultimately, even if equipped with turbocharger and the industry's fastest-reacting shocks the Buick Regal is just not a driver's car. Instead, it is a solid, very well-behaved machine that, if it proves reliable, I would readily recommend to casual drivers without overly vertical neck. Take it for a week, I came to the shelf to admire subtle strengths. Perhaps given a year or two could turn commutes this admiration to love. Rebound fall faster? Perhaps the upcoming Regal GS increased with aggressive engine will do the trick.

Press car, insurance and one tank of GM provided.

An earlier Regal Turbo was from Dick Johnson Lung Hamer Buick in Waterford, MI provided (248-461-1037) are available.

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.