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Drew Dowdell

Full Review: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

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<div style="text-align: center;">

Reviewed: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

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<img style="width: 518px; height: 388px;"

alt="2011 Buick Regal Front"

src="http://www.cheersandgears.com/uploads/1289944373/gallery_54_184005.png"></div>

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<h4>December 13th, 2010 - Drew Dowdell - Editor in Chief -

CheersandGears.com</h4>

Media Gallery: 2011 Buick Regal CXL <br><br>

For 2011, Buick brings back a name that has been absent from the lineup

since 2005. The Regal was originally introduced as a top trim model of

Buick's venerable Century line in 1973. Since that time the Regal name

has wandered all over the map from cushy 70's barge to the all out

performance machine of the 1987 Buick GNX into a front drive coupe with

one of the best aerodynamic drag co-efficients at the time, and then

into mid-size front drive sedan ubiquity.<br>

<br>

After its 5 year hiatus, Buick is returning the Regal to us from.....

Germany? This Regal is actually a rebadged version of the Opel Insignia

sold in Europe. Since its introduction, the Insignia has been one of

the best selling vehicles in its segment in the various markets it is

sold in. It was originally intended to be sold in the U.S. as the new

Saturn Aura, but when Saturn was knocked out of GM's orbit in 2009,

product planners had to find a home for the car. If you're curious as

to what the car would have looked like, find a picture of the Insignia

and imagine Saturn badges on it. In China, where Buick is one of the

best selling brands, the Insignia was already rebadged and sold as the

Regal.  So the Insignia's fate in the US was sealed. In order

to get the Regal on the market sooner, GM opted to import the Regal

from its Opel production line in Russelsheim Germany. However,

production will eventually be moved to the Oshawa Ontario facility

sometime early in 2011.<br>

<br>

<img style="float: left; width: 373px; height: 279px;"

alt="2011 Buick Regal Front"

src="http://www.cheersandgears.com/uploads/1289944373/gallery_54_780377.png">One

of the first things that strikes you about the Regal is how un-Buick it

looks, but is at the same time easily recognised as one. The face sports Buick's signature waterfall

grill. Wrapping down the side is a hockey stick character line that is

left over from the car's Opel origins (the new Opel Astra and Opel

Meriva wear variations of this same character line) instead of the more

Buick traditional sweep spear that the new Lacrosse sports. Coming

around back, the trunk's shape looks trim and classy, eschewing the big

butt styling trend plaguing many vehicles today like the 2011 Cadillac

CTS Coupe we'll be reviewing next week.<br>

<br>

The trunk's opening is wide with a low lift over (it actually feels

like a larger opening than the larger Lacrosse has) to reveal 14.2

cubic feet of trunk space.... not huge, right in the middle of the

pack. The trunk supports are goose necks, but they are enclosed in the

trunk wall so you don't have to worry about crushing packages. The rear

seats fold down 60/40 and offer an armrest pass through as well. There

is a 110v power outlet at the rear of the front seat arm rest.... a

life saver for those who travel with laptops.Rear seat room leg room is

adequate. Head room is a little tight, but manageable and not

uncomfortable. Once you're in there, the rear seat would be a

comfortable place for a long trip with good leg support.<br>

<br><br>

The front seat is where the Regal really shows its stuff. The dash has

an attractive design with mostly soft touch materials. All of the

switch gear is really top notch. The shifter looks on the small side,

but falls into your hand perfectly. The Regal forgoes a pedal or hand

activated parking brake, instead using a push-button in the center

console. Speaking of the center console, storage here is light. The

armrest makes an unusual L shape and the compartment underneath is on

the small side. The USB port for iPod interface or phone charging is in

here. The glove box and center console are both lined with a nice

fabric.<br>

<br>

<img style="float: right; width: 360px; height: 270px;"

alt="2011 Buick Regal Dashboard"

src="http://www.cheersandgears.com/uploads/1289944373/gallery_54_278882.png">The

controls are numerous but laid out in a logical fashion.... with one

exception.  In my personal opinion, the volume knob should be

the larger, lower dial and the tuning knob should be the smaller upper

dial. Volume is the control most often used, so as such it should be

the most natural to grab for.  However, that point is rendered

entirely moot by the excellent steering wheel controls.  The

controls for the audio system are functional of course, but I have

really fallen in love with GM's new cruise controls on the steering

wheel. Just a flick of the thumb to toggle your speed up or down by 1

mph. The dash will even give you an update as to what you just set your

speed to.<br>

<br>

Perhaps one of the reasons I've liked so many GM's in the past is the

seats.  The General apparently has my body measurements on

file somewhere deep in its files. From the Camaro, to the CTS, to the

old W-bodies with buckets, to the Lacrosse, and the Avalanche, nearly

every car of theirs that I've driven appears to have the seats tailor

made to fit me and they slide on like a fine glove.  So why is

it that in the Regal I found myself constantly fussing with the front

seat? The driving position was good, but lateral leg support was

marginal. Of course, your mileage may vary.<br>

<br>

This Regal came with a Harmon Kardon sound system which I found to be a

bit on the weak side. The mids and highs were nice and crisp, but there

was no power behind the lows.<br>

<br>

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. The noise from the sunroof seems oddly loud when

it is open.<br>

<br>

<h3>On the road</h3>

<br>

<div style="text-align: center;"><img

style="width: 431px; height: 323px;"

alt="2011 Buick Regal 2.4 liter engine"

src="http://www.cheersandgears.com/uploads/1289944373/gallery_54_439068.png"><br>

</div>

<div style="text-align: left;"><br>

Many questions were asked of me during the Interactive Review (and

privately over instant message) about how loud or quiet the Regal

was.  Well, when you get in the car and twist the key, you get

the sound of ….. a very quiet 4-cylinder. The sound from the engine is

well muted and never obtrusive. I think the disconnect for people here

is not the volume of the sound, but what the car sounds like. In this

case, people are expecting the Regal to sound like a V6 simply because

the car looks like it should have one. In my view, the people who

comment that the Regal is loud are mistaking volume for tone. The only

way I see for GM to combat this perception is to install the Active

Noise Canceling system the 4-cylinder GMC Terrain uses to mitigate

engine noise. It won't sound like a V6, but it will be so quiet that no

one will notice. None of this should be taken to imply that the 2.4

liter mill is coarse.<br>

</div>

<br>

With that out of the way, slipping the 6-speed into drive brings out a

peppy and fun mid-size car. The superb balance of this short wheel base

Epsilon II chassis is apparent the moment you take your first turn at

speed. Throttle tip in is aggressive. Even though this is the lowest

power Regal to be offered, normal people (read: not car nuts) will be

quite happy with the around town power. I wouldn't call the 2.4

underpowered at all, it's simply sufficient. 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. If drag racing is

what you're after, Buick has two other Regals with various levels of

turbo charging to offer you.<br>

<br>

Handling is what this Buick does best. Wait... what? Handling is what

this Buick does best.... there I said it. It's a much more willing

dance partner than almost any mid-size family sedan out there right

now. My bet is that only the Mazda6 and Passat CC would be able to hang

with the Regal in handling. Yet you don't sacrifice the ride; the Regal

is Buick smooth 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.<br>

<br>

Throughout our handling test, the Regal was fun. The chassis' balance

and eye raising lateral grip (for a family sedan) left us wondering why

all family cars aren't built this way.  Even if you were never

to take your Regal mountain stomping, the simple fact that you can

perform these moves in this car could quite literally be a life saver

in an emergency situation.<br>

<br>

Fuel economy while we were pushing it hard about was 21mpg. The highway

trips were 25mpg with the AC on through the mountains.<br>

<br>

As a true sports sedan, this Regal lacks enough engine 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.<br>

<br>

<div style="text-align: center;"><img

style="width: 800px; height: 600px;" alt="2011 Buick Regal side"

src="http://www.cheersandgears.com/uploads/1289944373/gallery_54_82092.png"></div>

<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Make:</span> Buick<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Model:</span> Regal<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Model Year:</span>

2011<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Trim:</span> CXL<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Engine Configuration:</span>

2.4 liter DOHC 4-cylinder with Direct Injection<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Driveline Configuration:</span>

6-Speed automatic - Front Wheel Drive<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Max horsepower @ RPM:</span>

182hp @ 6700<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Max torque @RPM:</span>

172 @ 4900<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Gross Vehicle Weight:</span>

3600 lbs<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">EPA Fuel Economy:</span>

19 city, 30 highway<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Exterior color as tested:</span>

Quicksilver Metalic<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Interior color as tested:</span>

Ebony and Cashmere two tone<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Location of Manufacture:</span>

Russelsheim, Germany<br>

<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Observed average fuel

economy:</span> 25mpg mixed driving.<br>

<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Things we're the biggest

Fan of:</span><br>

Great chassis balance<br>

Above par for the class interior<br>

Having to explain to passers by that yes it's really a Buick<br>

<br>

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Things we're the harshest

critic of:</span><br>

Sound system crisp but lacks power<br>

Could use more power, but that's what the turbo is for.<br>

Underwhelming fuel economy for the engine.<br>

No remote start available. <br><br><br>

Media Gallery: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

<br>

<br>

<h2>Counter Point with Cory Wolfe</h2>

<h4>December 12, 2010 - Cory Wolfe</h4>

The other week I had the opportunity to sample the new 2011 Buick Regal

with the naturally aspirated and direct injected four. My time behind

the wheel was fairly brief, and to my misfortune, plagued by rain this

particular day. First impressions left me pleasantly surprised by most

aspects of this vehicle. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the time

I've spent driving various VW's and Audi's over the past few years.

German engineering brings forth some qualities that have been absent

from Buick as of late.<br>

<br>

We brought this new Regal up to my homeland; around Brookville,

Summerville, Punxsutawney, and Reynoldsville Pennsylvania. The intent

was to throw it into the gauntlet... Or what I considered such to be.

These are the roads I've driven on a daily basis since I earned my

driver's license and as such, the best basis to judge upon. However,

due to the aforementioned weather issues, I never built up the

confidence to push it too far beyond slightly spirited driving. Even

so, I came away impressed with the Regal's ride and handling. The ride

is much more taut than you'd expect for a Buick, yet far from being

jarring. It's comfortable, compliant and rotates well through twisties.

In some of the more rural areas around my home, the roads can sometimes

be just a small step above dirt. On one section of the colloquially

named 'Rollercoaster Road', the pavement is ridden with patchwork done

on the fly; it fits every definition of rough. The Regal took every

imperfection and tamed it to a dull blow. I found myself bracing for

impact, only to be surprised by a slight 'thud'. "That's it?" I think

to myself. The last Buick I drove, not only met similar situations with

a blunt force, also dived back and forth as if the Prom King had made

the backseat his own motel bed. This Regal, however, makes due with a

composed chassis and splendid suspension tuning. No floating necessary.<br>

<br>

Paired with this well-tuned chassis is GM's 2.4 liter D.I. Ecotec

engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission. All in all the Regal never

felt underpowered, though it seemed a little weak on the lower end of

the tachometer. It's certainly not fast; merely competent enough for

the majority of your daily drive as intended. After all, it's the base

engine, it's not meant to be an autobahn burner. Power delivery comes

fairly smoothly and does so unnoticeably until you start winding it

out. In typical 4 cylinder fashion, it's somewhat thrashy and not

exactly music to the ears. It's not loud or obscene by any means, but

you won't mistake it for anything other than what it is. One detriment

to the driving experience was the transmission. Make no mistake, it's

smooth as butter and does it job well. However, shifts seem to occur

slowly and and the manual mode didn't manage to offer any improvement.

Downshifts weren't as instantaneous as they needed to be in some cases,

not that most buyers will drive it in such a manner to even notice. As

dully noted, this is the base offering meant solely for suburbia.<br>

<br>

Inside, your subsequent dwellings will be cut off from your rolling

reality, as you sit back and bask in the leather swathed interior.

Craftsmanship is a step above your average mid-sizer. Everything inside

emits a familiar aura. It is well designed; classy and straightforward

without gimmicks. You will be hard pressed to find too many surprises.

I was most reminded of the Volkswagen CC in terms of overall material

quality. The tactical feel of certain controls wasn't quite up to par,

in comparison, while some trim bits were also a bit chintzy. Even so,

you'll only notice if you compare the Regal with the most upscale of

competitors. The mainstream competition is simply lacking, to no

surprise. A few minor quibbles I had seemingly involve the simplest

features to perfect. Most notably, the cup holders were designed in a

matter that made it difficult for certain sized beverages to be removed

due to the arm rest keeping you from grasping your drink. They're deep

enough to swallow the tallest of drinks, but anything smaller will be a

slight struggle for you. Then there's the surprisingly loud sunroof.

Once open, the mesh wind-blocker is more of a nuisance than anything,

creating an amplified air-stream over your head. It is sort of

mind-boggling this got past engineers.<br>

<br>

At the end of the day, the Regal is a competent sedan. Add in the turbo four, as well as the upcoming GS model, and Buick will certainly have a relevant contender in the premium mid-size segment. Coming from Buick, I find this to be biggest surprise in the simplest form. It is, perhaps, the best re-badge GM could ever offer with a real chance of pure, unadulterated success. Let's hope the old GM is gone for good and the Regal is here to stay.

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based upon your comment on the slick cruise control buttons I would assume the finger push button cruise on the stalk of GM's of yore seem a tad silly now, don't they.....

just from sitting in the showroom it felt to me like the Regal has fantastic seats. I know the LaCrosse does.

Having driven a Mazda6, it's got a nice level of refinement for a family sedan, but it feels large and I would hope the Regal is a much better drive. Even though the Mazda might be near the top of the heap in the family sedan class, I don't think its worthy of benchmark status Or maybe that just goes to show you how numb all the bread and butter sedans are these days, which is why I think the Regal has so much promise for Buick.

I think that the point about this car as a commuter with the base 4 is valid and more than likely a lot of folks will buy the car this way. In return they get the better handling and luxury you don't get in the bread and butters. Then the turbo can compete with the near lux cars.

If I were Buick I would get the base car up to a 200hp 2.5 spec and then use the GS turbo spec as the turbo option.. The GS would go beyond 300hp.

The suggestion for noise cancellation in the car is a good one.

Nice writeups.

Edited by regfootball

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Drew and I must be of similar dimensions because I would almost exactly echo his comments about the seats in the Regal versus previous GM offerings... just checking it out in the showroom something seemed way off about the way the front seats felt and I think he nailed it.

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i think now after today, your commentary about the sound of the 4 cylinder is dead on. this is not a loud car, i think some folks new to the new buicks will not be used to the tone of the 4 cylinder.

the seats the radio i agree. the notion of the power being 'sufficient' (i didn't steal that!). Cory's trans comments.

I honestly think MY biggest gripe about the car was indeed the radio's sound quality. The H/K was improved but just did NOT have KICKIN bass.

I was able to rattle the windows in the Kizashi with the Rockford Fosgate in there. I can't imagine being able to do that in the Regal.

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Thanks for the writeup. Seems like a very competent car, aside from the fuel economy. That interior is so.. German. I wonder if Buick's image will really mesh with its new seriousness.

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Guys,

Buick just dropped off a Regal Turbo in the same color. Do you think we need an interactive or should I just do a writeup on the differences?

Just the writeup would be fine.

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This past week I got take a Regal for a short drive and came away rather unimpressed. The real problem isn't that the Regal is lacking in many areas, though the engine does seem course and unrefined compared to others, but rather that there is another car available from the same manufacture that is so much better for the same amount of money, the LaCrosse. The interior, NVH levels, power availability, and overall dynamics of the LaCrosse are just so much better than the Regal I don't see why one would take the Regal home instead of it, besides the fact that the LaCrosse has a subcompact size trunk.

If the Regal was $3000 to $5000 less I could see justifying the savings. But at $1000 to $2000 difference, assuming equal equipment levels, it just isn't worth the downgrading. If I was looking to save money, I would step down to the Cruze as the engine is smoother and the overall refinement warrants the cost unlike the Regal.

Edited by Dsuupr

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Guys,

Buick just dropped off a Regal Turbo in the same color. Do you think we need an interactive or should I just do a writeup on the differences?

Differences... but maybe go into detail over things that matter like handling/power/etc. The interior is virtually the same and the exterior just probably has different wheels.

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This past week I got take a Regal for a short drive and came away rather unimpressed. The real problem isn't that the Regal is lacking in many areas, though the engine does seem course and unrefined compared to others, but rather that there is another car available from the same manufacture that is so much better for the same amount of money, the LaCrosse. The interior, NVH levels, power availability, and overall dynamics of the LaCrosse are just so much better than the Regal I don't see why one would take the Regal home instead of it, besides the fact that the LaCrosse has a subcompact size trunk.

If the Regal was $3000 to $5000 less I could see justifying the savings. But at $1000 to $2000 difference, assuming equal equipment levels, it just isn't worth the downgrading. If I was looking to save money, I would step down to the Cruze as the engine is smoother and the overall refinement warrants the cost unlike the Regal.

The problem is that the equipment levels aren't exactly the same. The "base" Regal has a lot more at $26,xxx than the LaCrosse does at $26,995. Without looking it up, off the top of my head I know the Regal has leather, dual zone climate control, heated seats, 18" alloys... and those aren't standard on the LaCrosse CX... the LaCrosse CX has cloth seats, single zone auto climate control, and those horrendous 17" "Chevy" wheels with Buick center caps.

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I really didn't think the base regal was unrefined. Compared to most midsizers.....drive some of the garbage out there, the regal is a peach. The turbo is really nice.

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The problem is that the equipment levels aren't exactly the same. The "base" Regal has a lot more at $26,xxx than the LaCrosse does at $26,995. Without looking it up, off the top of my head I know the Regal has leather, dual zone climate control, heated seats, 18" alloys... and those aren't standard on the LaCrosse CX... the LaCrosse CX has cloth seats, single zone auto climate control, and those horrendous 17" "Chevy" wheels with Buick center caps.

The problem is, the LaCrosse is just so much nicer. I would rather deal with less equipment for a better overall package, especially considering the difference is only within a few thousand of each other.

Don't get me wrong. The Regal is "refined" when compared to say a toyota camry or honda accord, but do to the course engine I would rather buy something else.

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To me, the best part is that regal and lacrosse are both good cars but unique. It's nice that you can choose from the two and both are good.

Buick in the past was about getting a premium car for an accessible price. I think to some degree they are back to that now again.

The turbo is not unrefined. I don't understand the rags picking on the turbo.

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The Lacrosse comes with the same base engine these days.

Same base engine, but different NVH. I guess the vibrations and noise coming from the 2.4 in the Regal just seem a little much for my likings.

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