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Interactive Review: 2011 Buick Regal CXL


Drew Dowdell

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Interactive Review:

2011 Buick Regal CXL

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After a few month hiatus, we are returning to our regularly scheduled Interactive Review series where you get to ask questions and make requests during the review period. We're booked clean through till December 23rd now with the Cadillac CTS Coupe, GMC Sierra 2500 HD, GMC Acadia Denali, Ford F-350, and Ford Fiesta on the calendar. Our last Interactive Review was a 2010 Buick Enclave back in July. Today, Buick dropped of a 2011 Buick Regal CXL. I'll be back tomorrow with some first impressions, but in the meantime, fire away with questions you have.

Gallery: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

Past Interactive Reviews:

2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

2010 Cadillac SRX Turbo

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Your take on the styling?

Comparison to malibu?(Since the '12 malibu is going to be based on this)

Hows the 2.4?

The 2.4 is actually quite smooth and unobtrusive. It's rather underpowered for a car like the Regal or the Malibu, but if you don't care about gusty acceleration its actually not bad.

I actually find the 2.4L 4-potter to be a smoother engine with better aural refinement than the 3.6 DI V6 in the Camaro.

Edited by dwightlooi
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The 2.4 is actually quite smooth and unobtrusive. It's rather underpowered for a car like the Regal or the Malibu, but if you don't care about gusty acceleration its actually not bad.

I actually find the 2.4L 4-potter to be a smoother engine with better aural refinement than the 3.6 DI V6 in the Camaro.

I wouldn't call the 2.4 underpowered at all in this application, it's simply sufficient. Throttle tip in is aggressive and when you're just bopping around town, it feels like there is more engine under the hood than there really is. It's only under full throttle do you realize "hey! this isn't a 6!" At a drag race, yes a Toyota Camry V6 will win, but in every day driving this 4 cylinder is rather nice.

Also, I bet it'll beat it's EPA highway fuel economy of 30mpg in the real world; 65mph with the cruise on was registering 34-36mpg

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yes but at the price you want more than just 'sufficient'. can you determine the mpg over say a 100 mile or 200 mile stretch? the epa ratings on the car are not great.

i thought the regal stereo was good, can you comment on that and the seats / driving position? i thought those seemed like they may be quite good.

probably the steering / suspension and handling will be what most folks are curious about on this car. also does the car feel heavy?

the engine is probably just a bit light off the line and probably easily able to adjust to in everyday driving once you get used to it.

armrest and cupholders are a bit non standard on this car also. be interesting to see if they are a pain or not.

Edited by regfootball
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I think the target market for the base Regal isn't going to be "us". It's designed for people who want to grow up a bit from their Jetta/'02 Passat/G6/Fusion/Mom's Camry but still want decent fuel economy. It's only EPA rated 1mpg less on the highway than the CC, but again I think it will beat it's highway rating without any attempts to hypermill it.

I don't think the engine is light off the line at all, as I said, throttle tip in is very nice and at suburban/city speeds, it feels more like a small 6 instead of a 4-cylinder. The only time I really wished for more was an uphill onramp. No, the car doesn't feel heavier than any general mid-sizer out there. (I haven't driven a Sonata)

Ride is definitely firmer than your typical family sedan. I haven't gotten a chance to throw it around yet, but steering is very responsive in my short time driving it so far.

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I think the target market for the base Regal isn't going to be "us". It's designed for people who want to grow up a bit from their Jetta/'02 Passat/G6/Fusion/Mom's Camry but still want decent fuel economy. It's only EPA rated 1mpg less on the highway than the CC, but again I think it will beat it's highway rating without any attempts to hypermill it.

I don't think the engine is light off the line at all, as I said, throttle tip in is very nice and at suburban/city speeds, it feels more like a small 6 instead of a 4-cylinder. The only time I really wished for more was an uphill onramp. No, the car doesn't feel heavier than any general mid-sizer out there. (I haven't driven a Sonata)

Ride is definitely firmer than your typical family sedan. I haven't gotten a chance to throw it around yet, but steering is very responsive in my short time driving it so far.

I've heard the Sonata is the world cure for morbid obesity.

is the handling good enough to say it's a true 'sport sedan' or is it merely 'tight, taut, and quickly responsive'. I always found the old Astra to feel that way.

in other words is the handling a step above the median midsize sedan bunch.

The Astra had a uniquely German interior smell. Does the Regal smell different inside than the typical north American offgassing smell? I liked the smell of the Regals I sat in on the showfloor.

Edited by regfootball
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I've heard the Sonata is the world cure for morbid obesity.

is the handling good enough to say it's a true 'sport sedan' or is it merely 'tight, taut, and quickly responsive'. I always found the old Astra to feel that way.

in other words is the handling a step above the median midsize sedan bunch.

The Astra had a uniquely German interior smell. Does the Regal smell different inside than the typical north American offgassing smell? I liked the smell of the Regals I sat in on the showfloor.

I've driven only the base-engined CXL, and found it to be a nice ride. Only a few complaints: steering was heavy (especially at parking lot speeds) without any corresponding benefit in feedback. Felt kinda numb. Engine wasn't very responsive, nor was the transmission. The whole powertrain package seemed a bit "slushy." On the upside, build quality was good, the car looked nice in person, and yes, the interior does smell and feel German. Much better car than a Malibu, but I think I like the CC more.

Comparing the Regal's base 2.4L and six-speed to the CC's 2.0T and DSG isn't fair (I haven't tried the Regal Turbo yet), but there's a huge difference in powertrain responsiveness. Floor the CC at 30 mph and it instantly kicks down and rockets forward. Do that in the Regal 2.4L, and there's a bit of a lag, an engine whine, but not much go. Not very sporty.

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It's it an '04 CTS in handling ability? Probably not, but I don't know yet. What I can say thus far is that it's a much more willing dance partner than almost any mid-size family sedan out there right now. I've yet to drive a CC, but I'm guessing it's the closest in agility. The Camry handles like a '92 Century compared to the Regal.

If you're in the market a better handling family sedan, my guess is that it would come down to the Regal, CC, and Mazda6.

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see, i think the GS will be more what folks call basic sports sedan. and i think there will be an AWD GSX with a twin turbo v6 that will be the big performer.

most boomers looking for a nice near lux car to ride off into the sunset though, a base 4 cyl coupled with the pleasing interior should be popular and be a large chunk of the Regal sales.

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I have another handling question-How does it do on the "washboard" roads we have in the midwest?

I'm talking interstates with lots of expansion joints with frost heaves. Drove a friends vibe around I 27- today, and it rode worse than my Miata.

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Other questions-

How do you find the audio system?

How is back seat headroom?

Is the dash-center stack area layout intuitive and easy to use while in heavy traffic?

How much fuel economy does the car seem to loose in heavy traffic?

Would you be happy with this in the driveway as a long term ownership experience?

Do you think the styling would feel busy with time? I kind of like the styling...not sure how I would feel about it after five or six years of onership...

But nice car...anything you can chip in is appreciated....

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I just took the Regal out on a long trip over some fun roads with another C&Ger, and let me say this, this car is an excellent base for the GS to be built upon. I reiterate my previous statement that only the Mazda6 and Passat CC would likely be able to hang with the Regal in handling. Yet at the same time it's smooth and comfortable on the highway.

Accord, Fusion, Camry, Altima, Sonata, Malibu,and G6, would all be in the weeds after some of the turns we took the Regal through today at the speeds we were going.

It's very well put together. There are a couple of European things that stand out (like the coin slots in the glovebox that fit 1 Euro coins) We did notice one bit of scratch-your-head interior cheapening, the rear door pulls aren't the faux metallic color of the front door pulls. I can't imagine it would be that much more expensive to make both sets of door pulls match. I like the 110v outlet in the rear seat area and the switchgear is nice. The noise from the sunroof seems oddly loud when it is open.

I don't get all the comments I've read in other reviews that the engine is loud....yes it's a 4-cylinder... but it's quieter than most other 4-cylinders I've been in. Most of the time, the engine is utterly silent. The 6-speed auto is swift to shift and the manumatic is usable if you want to have some fun. However on steeper incline passing, it needs two downshifts to gather up enough steam to make it around your obstacle.

Fuel economy while we were slamming about was 21mpg. The highway trips were 25mpg with the AC on through the mountains.

I personally find the exterior styling very attractive, especially from the rear. I could totally live with one of these on a daily basis if I can get it in AWD, but I'd want the turbo model to make up for the drag of the AWD system.

As a true sports sedan, this Regal lacks enough punch to earn that title. But if you're looking for a great handling sedan and aren't concerned with raw 0-60 speed, the Regal should be in the top of your shopping list. If you need both the ability to dance and the ability to run.... well you'll just have to wait for our review of the Turbo Regal.

I'll post a full review in about a week along with some counterpoints from the other C&Ger

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How is the back seat room? can a 200lb male sit comfortably in the back?

If I Can save enough money In about a year or 2 I might consider this after falling in love with my LeSabre. I seen one on the road and from the looks the back seat seemed to be small. Also Trunk space? Can you fit say 4 luggage bags and a cooler?

I have been meaning to go test drive this but last time I walked into a Buick dealer to look at a lacrosse the sales people were less than helpful I guess a young male isn't a serious buyer in a Buick dealer yet.

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Harmon Kardon and on the weak side

if its like the astra w/ advanced audio there will be a menu sort of thing that takes you into an EQ where you can really tweak the sound more to your liking. My guess is there is a range of adjustment on the sound, but that the speakers are still not 'top tier', and that the system itself is so restricted to the volume it can put out.

but i bet the sound is at least clear once you tune it in, that is more clear than most in car audio systems.

i supposed you probably can't do like i did on the Kizashi I looked at recently. i told salesguy i wanted to be alone inside the car that had the rockford fosgate setup and then i proceeded to get the rear view mirror shaking and the windows rattling......with a stock setup. My guess is the Regal is tuned more for classical and jazz clarity than it is for juvenile bass exhibitions.

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