2012 Buick Regal

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2011 Buick Regal — Flash Drive

This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2015.
By Staff of MSN Autos

I like my cars to be scalpel-sharp, with accurate and quick responses. The new Buick Regal is not a scalpel, but it's no butter knife, either. It's more like a basic table knife, with responses that are slightly soft but true. The basic chassis and performance hint at its roots as a European sedan, but the Regal's responses are a little more laid-back than even the average American family sedan. Clearly, it's a step forward for today's Buick. In my opinion, however, it's not quite a big enough step. Many auxiliary controls are in awkward locations: The gear-lever indicator isn't lined up with the gear lever itself; the window winders are closer to my elbow than my hand; the side mirrors are strangely shaped and hard to aim correctly. The awkwardness extends to the outside as well; the Regal doesn't look better in person than it looks in pictures. Overall, the new Buick Regal could use some further refinement. –Paul Hagger

General Motors is getting serious about going after younger buyers with Buick, and the latest salvo is the 2011 Regal, a new midsize sport sedan based on the award-winning Opel Insignia developed in Germany. Believe it or not, the Regal really does have the feel of a European sedan: The platform is stiff, and the suspension offers a good balance between control and comfort. Tweaked for the U.S. market, the Regal is a sport sedan with luxury pretensions, and the result is a car that feels balanced and responsive and is a pleasure to drive. The 2.4-liter 182-horsepower direct-injection Ecotec engine delivers good power, and combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission achieves an EPA fuel-efficiency rating of 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The exterior design is crisp and clean, and the interior challenges entry-luxury competitors with a luxury feel and standard heated leather seats. –Mike Meredith

The new Regal's design fits in well with the rest of the Buick lineup, which to me means it looks good. But the problem with the new Regal is that there isn't really any standout reason to consider it over the proven competition. The handling is surprisingly good — especially for a Buick — but the tradeoff is a rather stiff ride. The ride is quiet, however, even on rough roads, and while the engine seems to provide plenty of power, it sounds weak, like it's working too hard. Fuel economy is comparable with other 4-cylinder midsize sedans; I observed about 25 mpg in combined city/highway driving. I did find that the more I drove the Regal, the more I liked it, but with a base price on a par with a top-level Hyundai Sonata or Toyota Camry, the Regal may be a tough sell to anyone except those looking for an American premium midsize sedan. –Perry Stern

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BB03 - 9/1/2014 1:16:15 AM