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2018 Buick Regal Sportback Essence

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Driven: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback Essence 2.0t

(the original review is in this post.  Revised reviews are further down, in this post, and in  this other post)

HIGHS:

-Nice understated shape conceals a cleverly integrated hatchback design

-'Decent' propulsion from 2.0t engine

-Nicely shaped upper dash with touchsreen oriented slightly to driver.  Interesting at least from a design standpoint.

-Sporting driving position and good room in both rows, mostly, plus the biggest benefit being improved leg room over previous model

-Really nice cargo space, with seats up, or seats down, the cargo area of this vehicle and the flexibility of it in a car like this IMO is a major draw

-View outside of this vehicle is improved over its platform mate (Malibu, my daily driver) due to the rear door glass being longer and taller.  View out the front and rear is essentially the same.

-AWD availability is a nice plus, thanks Buick.

LOWS:

-I can't recall any of the GM vehicles I have driven with this ubiquitous 2.0t engine, where i have actually been wowed or impressed by it.  It has decent thrust, but honestly you gotta spool it up a bit, the tranny doesn't respond instantly, it's not a five star smooth tranny, and it's kind of rough and noisy overall as a powertrain (AT LEAST FOR IT'S PRICE / CLASS).  I was hoping the 2.0 would make the car match the near luxury description but I don't think it's overall a smooth enough powertrain to meet that claim.  It's neither smooth, nor sporting or exciting.  And this is with front wheel drive.  I will reserve final judgment until i get in the GS with the v6, which is the engine I think most people will really end up liking in this car.

-Heavier than it's Malibu platform mate.  No doubt acceptable due to the larger engine, but the benefit of the extra weight doesn't manifest itself in any real tangible way anywhere in the ride and drive of the car.

-Not really any quieter inside than my Malibu.  Strange, because this Buick is supposed to have quiet tuning, and goo in the tires to help make it quieter.  The ride isn't really any more plush, either.

-Steering is sort of dead and mushy.  That's not GERMANIC now, is it.

-NEED TO BE ABLE TO TURN OFF THE AUTOSTOP WHEN YOU WANT TO.

-Not really much nicer inside than in my Malibu.  The lower dash is the same 'less expensive' plastic you see in cheap Chevy's.  The door panels are a little nicer, but not that much more.  Many switches and buttons are the same.  The console is nicer (I don't like the shifter centered in the console now actually, it's quite a reach) I guess...except for cupholders in front of the climate controls.  The upper dash material is an upgrade over the Malibu, but it's not a PREMIUM dash material either.

-I can't really tell for sure if the seats are better.  My Malibu seats are poor.  The Regal seats seemed to hug me more, but they still felt thin and insubstantial.  The leather quality was slightly better, but still nothing to write home about. 

-Rear head room suffers a bit with the hatch design.  I don't mind the tradeoff personally, but the Malibu retains a bit more headroom, and the Regal TourX really has much more....so get the wagon if rear head room matters.

-Sunroof was nice to have considering how bunkerlike the Malibu can feel....but again the hatch design limits the size of the sunroof here compared to the Malibu's BAMR.  I can live with the compromise here myself, and again, the wagon will satisfy your urge for BAMR if you need it.  I would encourage GM to develop a way to integrate a larger moonroof with the hatch design.  I think it could be done, but would require time and money on a redesign effort.

-Options / packages on this car are, simply put, stupid.  But that merits its own post.  At least in this car, the heated steering wheel and leather heated seats were both included.  You can actually get this car with heated steering wheel but without heated seats.  How f-cked up is that?  In 2019, Fusion, Toyota, and others will have things like blind spot and cross path detection as standard equipment.  And those are not 'premium' makes.

-I'll let others decide if they think the styling is too tepid.  I don't mind the understated styling but do admit that the color selections that are available on this car leave me wanting.  I like the red on the GS, and the smoked pearl metallic is nice.  And Buick seems to think they should charge extra for paint colors when they don't make the ride and drive anything special.

-pricing.  I think the average nature of this car would be easily forgiven if the pricing were in line with being an average car; not priced for a premium marque.  Like the LaCrosse and Envision, it is best to wait out the model year if you are buying and wait for the inevitable 7,000-10,000 or more in discounts...which might bring the pricing in line with what the vehicle really is.  You can't say this vehicle is appealing at the prices it is at now.  

SUMMARY:

This probably seems like a negative review, but you should consider it more of underwhelmed and let down.  This car as I drove it just doesn't have any kind of endearing personality to speak of!  At the end of the day, it took Buick two extra years to bring to the US it's own Malibu clone, which doesn't have much more to show for it.... apart from the clever hatch and base 2.0 engine upgrade over the 1.5.  I actually am very curious now to be among the first to try the 2019 Malibu 1.5t + CVT combo.  But that's an aside for another discussion.  The 2.0 that general motors puts in so many vehicles has never impressed me, and that's due more to it's character than anything.  I had hopes this would be the ONE CAR that it would feel sporting in; one that would make the car feel at least a little, like a SPORTS SEDAN.  Nope.  I will wait with baited breath to someday find a v6 GS to test, as i think it will be the only Regal worth anything.  At least worth anything more than just being another option in the midsize, genericar class.  And I hope Buick is working on a twin turbo six option as well for the GS (GSX?).  I tend to think this car won't move the needle in marketplace excitement until it has a tire shredder under the hood to brag about...The v6 will promise smoother revs and deeper lungs at least......... Still, as a replacement in the bottom end of the Buick lineup for the Verano, I am ok with this.  Just please, sex it up!

 

 

 

 

Edited by regfootball
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Probably the only reason to get Buick over Malibu or other car in the segment is to get TourX, not the Sportback

2018-Buick-Regal-TourX-front-three-quart

 

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We were really underwhelmed by the new regal. I have autotrader searches out for Certified '17 GSes instead.  Typically finding them for ~$24k with 15k on the odometer.

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3 hours ago, ykX said:

Probably the only reason to get Buick over Malibu or other car in the segment is to get TourX, not the Sportback

2018-Buick-Regal-TourX-front-three-quart

 

I do admit. The hatchback is versatile as well. Wish we could get a GS wagon. 

1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

We were really underwhelmed by the new regal. I have autotrader searches out for Certified '17 GSes instead.  Typically finding them for ~$24k with 15k on the odometer.

I've got to get out and try a new LaCrosse as well. V6...

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The newest Lacrosse is everything it is supposed to be.  Albert likes those also, but they are holding their value better than the '17 Regal.  I want to stick around the $25k mark for a used vehicle.  The '17 GS can be had with adaptive cruise control and Android Auto and Buick Certified for $25k, so it's really high on the list for me with those killer apps. 

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Really thorough write-up, Reg.  I won't go out of my way to drive one.  I sat in one and didn't like the rear visibility, but I'm picky about that and I'm of average height.  I like to sit high and see a lot of glass around me, with thinner pillars.  That will be the day.

You seem to like the new thematic Buick dash.  It's simple and convenient, but it also seems to be a retro throwback to the late 60s, with a heavy ridge across the top of the cowl.  I'm not so sure.  I like dashboards that have 3 defined zones, so to speak, or more sculpting if not 3 defined zones.

I don't know how the steering would compare to the outgoing Regal.  I found the last one to be nimble with enough road manners and isolation, but I believe you.  I'm guessing these are all electric P.S. units, with hydraulics now gone.

I will agree that I am warming up to the new LaCrosse.  I have not warmed up to its MSRP.  They can sticker at 2x the one that I bought! I don't like a console where its surface is way above the seating surfaces like the LaCrosse, and even this new Regal, have.

I will say that, even if the final experience isn't very Germanic, the car (2018 Regal) definitely looks "more" Germanic as it's approaching you if you're going in the other direction.

 

Edited by trinacriabob

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Over the last few weeks I keep warming up to the 2017+ LaCrosse with more and more of them hitting the used market.

Some are as low as 22-23k.  Ones in colors you want plus options you want are tough to find but the main takeaway with the LaCrosse is v6 availability and slightly larger size.  It really IMO set up Buick nicely to market the LaCrosse even with sedan sales dwindling, as the Regal is hatch only and is not Buick's entry car.  (No longer Verano).  The LaCrosse is the only sedan now, and the Impala is becoming familiar and fading.  XTS getting put out to pasture.  Ford ditching sedans too.  So perhaps LaCrosse sales may possibly increase if they appeal to v6 buyers who don't want Impalas and if the prices drop some.

The raised console is a problem.  It does put the shifter joystick in a good spot but the dash itself could stand to be a bit nicer and the raised console area has some cheapness and such, apart from being too tall.  Older buyers still sometimes want bench seats which this car will never have...but buyers like that don't want the intrusiveness of the console they way it is now.  Even the new Regal's console is intrusive too.

A 2-3 year old LaCrosse in the right color, with the huge moonroof, and maybe AWD for super cheap may be a nice future ride.  The styling change affected me but now the new body is growing on me some.  

Buick doesn't really care if the Regal sells too huge.  They would probably prefer the LaCrosse to sell well and just import a set but manageable number of Regals each year since the import them from Germany and now Opel is out of the mix.  The Regal is there just to round out the lineup.  Not be a huge piece of it.  Enclave is Buick's $$$$ car these days.  The LaCrosse is for the guy who just got his spouse the Enclave but he wants a Buick too.

 

Edited by regfootball
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Remember that GM now has to pay PSA to build Regals.... so they probably don't care how many they sell. 

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^^^^  right.

I'd be surprised if Buick actually wants to sell any more than 25-30k a year of the sportback and tourX combined.

The TourX is incidental, and the base Sportback takes over for the Verano as the entry car, so they don't have to bring over the Astra / Verano.

I think if Buick really set their minds to it, and configured the choices right, the Sportback could sell very well as crossover alternatives, but they would have to drop MSRP's which GM doesn't like doing.

Every time i see a tourX and the shitty looking wheel cladding, I get wound up because a GS wagon would be awesome and it would really be a nice niche; I think they could sell a few, since they just want to be niche anyways.

I'd like to see Regal add a twin turbo 6 to really put the car on the map but i suppose that will never happen.

Imagine a 350-400hp GS wagon or sportback.

Edited by regfootball

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1 hour ago, regfootball said:

Imagine a 350-400hp GS wagon or sportback.

I would take a 350 - 400 HP CUV GS Buick over the Wagon or Sportback.

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On 5/15/2018 at 6:21 PM, dfelt said:

I would take a 350 - 400 HP CUV GS Buick over the Wagon or Sportback.

Something Xt5 sized in the Buick lineup with said engine....would be cool.

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Always puzzles me how GM NA can't ever seem to make use of the Opel stuff and now Opel is gone.  

Maybe GM should have brought the previous Insignia wagon over......

 

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Edited by regfootball
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Very cool.  The photos show both the new (ridged cowl) and old (Regal like) dashboard for the Insignia.  That brick-maroon interior is pretty nifty.  Since Volvo seemingly does well with their wagons stateside, the same could be true of a rebranded Insignia wagon.

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I have a second test drive of the new Regal which turned out to be more favorable, and so I'll come back and make note of that yet today if i am able.  It really was a case where the person accompanying me and the route and situation in general allowed for a better test drive and so will be making some modified impressions in a few areas.

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Second / Revised review

Driven: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback Preferred II 2.0t

(the original review is in the first post of this thread.  This post is a second / revised review)

HIGHS:

prior review

-Nice understated shape conceals a cleverly integrated hatchback design

-'Decent' propulsion from 2.0t engine

-Nicely shaped upper dash with touchsreen oriented slightly to driver.  Interesting at least from a design standpoint.

-Sporting driving position and good room in both rows, mostly, plus the biggest benefit being improved leg room over previous model

-Really nice cargo space, with seats up, or seats down, the cargo area of this vehicle and the flexibility of it in a car like this IMO is a major draw

-View outside of this vehicle is improved over its platform mate (Malibu, my daily driver) due to the rear door glass being longer and taller.  View out the front and rear is essentially the same.

-AWD availability is a nice plus, thanks Buick.

added

-shifter was more aggressive, seemed to downshift better.  Driver may have been more throttle aggressive as well.

-Preferred II cloth was ok by me.  It has a nicer pattern and more stitching compared to regular Preferred trim.  This maybe should be the standard cloth.  I would still want a more elaborate leatherette / cloth mix or leather still anyways.

-Heated Steering wheel! on Preferred II trim.

-Back lumbar support was exceptionally comfortable and noticeable.  Seat felt way better than my Malibu and for some reason better than the last Regal drive.

-loved the dash angled to the driver.

 

LOWS:

previous

-I can't recall any of the GM vehicles I have driven with this ubiquitous 2.0t engine, where i have actually been wowed or impressed by it.  It has decent thrust, but honestly you gotta spool it up a bit, the tranny doesn't respond instantly, it's not a five star smooth tranny, and it's kind of rough and noisy overall as a powertrain (AT LEAST FOR IT'S PRICE / CLASS).  I was hoping the 2.0 would make the car match the near luxury description but I don't think it's overall a smooth enough powertrain to meet that claim.  It's neither smooth, nor sporting or exciting.  And this is with front wheel drive.  I will reserve final judgment until i get in the GS with the v6, which is the engine I think most people will really end up liking in this car.

added

For whatever reason, the powertrain felt better this time.  The 2.0t still doesn't feel like a very elastic motor to me.  It does not seem to like to rev to me.  Ever.  On like 10+ vehicles I have driven with the 2.0t .  I guess that part of it is not a deal breaker however.

-Heavier than it's Malibu platform mate.  No doubt acceptable due to the larger engine, but the benefit of the extra weight doesn't manifest itself in any real tangible way anywhere in the ride and drive of the car.

-Not really any quieter inside than my Malibu.  Strange, because this Buick is supposed to have quiet tuning, and goo in the tires to help make it quieter.  The ride isn't really any more plush, either.

added

For whatever reason, the car felt reasonably quiet inside.

-Steering is sort of dead and mushy.  That's not GERMANIC now, is it.

-NEED TO BE ABLE TO TURN OFF THE AUTOSTOP WHEN YOU WANT TO.

-Not really much nicer inside than in my Malibu.  The lower dash is the same 'less expensive' plastic you see in cheap Chevy's.  The door panels are a little nicer, but not that much more.  Many switches and buttons are the same.  The console is nicer (I don't like the shifter centered in the console now actually, it's quite a reach) I guess...except for cupholders in front of the climate controls.  The upper dash material is an upgrade over the Malibu, but it's not a PREMIUM dash material either.

-I can't really tell for sure if the seats are better.  My Malibu seats are poor.  The Regal seats seemed to hug me more, but they still felt thin and insubstantial.  The leather quality was slightly better, but still nothing to write home about. 

Added

as mentioned above, the cloth in the Preferred II was ok, still would want leather, but for cloth wasn't bad.  Seats and back support felt far better this time around.

-Rear head room suffers a bit with the hatch design.  I don't mind the tradeoff personally, but the Malibu retains a bit more headroom, and the Regal TourX really has much more....so get the wagon if rear head room matters.

-Sunroof was nice to have considering how bunkerlike the Malibu can feel....but again the hatch design limits the size of the sunroof here compared to the Malibu's BAMR.  I can live with the compromise here myself, and again, the wagon will satisfy your urge for BAMR if you need it.  I would encourage GM to develop a way to integrate a larger moonroof with the hatch design.  I think it could be done, but would require time and money on a redesign effort.

Added

This time the car had a normal moonroof.  While not quite a awesome as a larger moonroof, it did lighten up the cabin inside some.  I tend to think the rear vision camera surround view rear view mirror would be beneficial on this car because of the really small rear window.

-Options / packages on this car are, simply put, stupid.  But that merits its own post.  At least in this car, the heated steering wheel and leather heated seats were both included.  You can actually get this car with heated steering wheel but without heated seats.  How f-cked up is that?  In 2019, Fusion, Toyota, and others will have things like blind spot and cross path detection as standard equipment.  And those are not 'premium' makes.

Added

-The very nice person accompanying me on the test drive and I spent a lot of time mocking how stupid it was for Buick to offer this car from the factory trimmed out with a heated steering wheel but without factory heated seats.  This sheer utter complete stupidity of this to sell vehicles in snow / cold states alone is cause for product planners to get canned.   I don't give a shit if the car is built in Germany and that creates logistics issues.  Honestly, Buick pull your head out of your behind.

-I'll let others decide if they think the styling is too tepid.  I don't mind the understated styling but do admit that the color selections that are available on this car leave me wanting.  I like the red on the GS, and the smoked pearl metallic is nice.  And Buick seems to think they should charge extra for paint colors when they don't make the ride and drive anything special.

-pricing.  I think the average nature of this car would be easily forgiven if the pricing were in line with being an average car; not priced for a premium marque.  Like the LaCrosse and Envision, it is best to wait out the model year if you are buying and wait for the inevitable 7,000-10,000 or more in discounts...which might bring the pricing in line with what the vehicle really is.  You can't say this vehicle is appealing at the prices it is at now.  

Added

The rear hatch while masterfully done, is pretty large and is on the border of really benefitting from a power hatch setup with your remote.  It is large, heavy and clunky to close / slam shut.

SUMMARY:

This probably seems like a negative review, but you should consider it more of underwhelmed and let down.  This car as I drove it just doesn't have any kind of endearing personality to speak of!  At the end of the day, it took Buick two extra years to bring to the US it's own Malibu clone, which doesn't have much more to show for it.... apart from the clever hatch and base 2.0 engine upgrade over the 1.5.  I actually am very curious now to be among the first to try the 2019 Malibu 1.5t + CVT combo.  But that's an aside for another discussion.  The 2.0 that general motors puts in so many vehicles has never impressed me, and that's due more to it's character than anything.  I had hopes this would be the ONE CAR that it would feel sporting in; one that would make the car feel at least a little, like a SPORTS SEDAN.  Nope.  I will wait with baited breath to someday find a v6 GS to test, as i think it will be the only Regal worth anything.  At least worth anything more than just being another option in the midsize, genericar class.  And I hope Buick is working on a twin turbo six option as well for the GS (GSX?).  I tend to think this car won't move the needle in marketplace excitement until it has a tire shredder under the hood to brag about...The v6 will promise smoother revs and deeper lungs at least......... Still, as a replacement in the bottom end of the Buick lineup for the Verano, I am ok with this.  Just please, sex it up!

Added

The car seemed nicer this time around.  Still not sporty but pleasing.  Ok for a Preferred trim I figure.  Buick needs to change the available colors and allow a GS body trim package for a front wheel drive Regal.  All the muted and dark dreary colors Buick offers now needs to be balanced out.  I would like to see a GS style body trim package available for a Regal wagon that is not a TourX as well.  Hopefully this car may be available with a newer turbo four some day but due to the Opel break off, probably not.  After driving this and the LaCrosse back to back I must say for a daily driver I would prefer this but either car is ok.

Edited by regfootball

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I took a Sportback 2.0 Preferred FWD out for another spin..  I think by now I am thinking more clearly on what this car is about.

The engine and tranny performed better and feels decently fast but it did not feel 'sporting'.  For the base model that's ok, sure...i guess i get it.  I can't wait to see if the new 2.0 in the Cadillac feels more lively.

The ride and steering and handling are numb, particularly on the base tire and wheel package.  They are not bad, because it's decently quiet and the ride is 'good'.  The car feels less agile and less sporting than my regular platform mate Malibu.  There is no sense of "game on" with the chassis on this car.  The suspension almost can feel a bit floaty at times and the steering is easy to turn but kinda mushy.  I don't think this is a different observation than the buff books have been saying.

The interior criticisms in the press are about right.  It's ok but does have cheapness relative to its higher pricing.  IMO it would only take a little bit more with the interior to make it near lux like it should be.  

All the above said, I still like the packaging.  The room and space, the seating position, the nice integration of the hatchback.  I love the package.  With the hatch though, a power hatch will be needed.  In fact, sales guy seemed to think they may be adding that in a year ......  They better, it's a near lux brand and the hatch is very wieldly.

This one had a moonroof, and it helps brighten the interior.  On the sportback it is so small of roof panel but it is better than nothing.

This Preferred I  didn't have heated seats or steering wheel.  It is beyond idiotic that the Preferred II with cloth seats has standard heated steering wheel, but it doesn't have heated seats.

I like the car and it is low key and comfortable, but there is a missed opportunity here.  This would be fantastic to offer a sport handling package on the more base level cars and it would really I think draw in the younger buyers it was intended to.  The car sort of telegraphs an attitude, compared to the other Buick vehicles like the LaCrosse and Envision.  It would help this model stand out and get some young buyers to the brand.  I would go one further and suggest whatever new 2.0 is going in the Cadillacs be put in this (although since the Opel sale I suppose that wouldn't happen).  I'd even be interested in seeing a v6 / FWD combo in a lesser trim.  The GS v6 should be a twin turbo six.  I have some thoughts coming up soon on how much I think Buick's option packaging for the Regal sucks.

Overall I can't really bash the car, and I like it, I may get one down the road.  But I think there is plenty of ways to make it better, the best place to fix it quick is ride and handling option package.  I still want to try a GS someday too.

 

 

Edited by regfootball

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Have yet to see a Sportback on the road, after seeing the very underwhelming reviews quickly forgot about one I did see perhaps.

Mayhem the model run will be short..

 

 

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19 minutes ago, frogger said:

Have yet to see a Sportback on the road, after seeing the very underwhelming reviews quickly forgot about one I did see perhaps.

Mayhem the model run will be short..

 

 

sales guy said the dealer had not sold one Regal (hatch or wagon) yet.  After these last 4 months or whatever.  He said because there is no incentives on them.  No programs, for leasing or finance.  The incentives drive the traffic and buyers.  GM maybe doesn't even want these to sell after the Opel sale since they are built overseas.  No advertising support either.  The Buick GMC dealers first priority is selling pickups, and then after that its the larger SUV's.  He said the Buick Encore is the hottest seller at the dealership.  People love em and the big incentives and cheap leases move em out the door.  He also agreed with me that they should make a vesion of the TourX without the cladding.

Edited by regfootball

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The very nice person accompanying me on the test drive and I spent a lot of time mocking how stupid it was for Buick to offer this car from the factory trimmed out with a heated steering wheel but without factory heated seats.  This sheer utter complete stupidity of this to sell vehicles in snow / cold states alone is cause for product planners to get canned.

Anyone who seriously wants to review products needs to get this ingrained in their approach.

Just because a particular feature (or in this case; a particular pairing of features) isn't done the exact way the reviewer prefers it, this is NO WAY justifies advocating people lose their jobs over it. A product review needs to take into consideration generalities and averages of the consumer at large, and over-the-top hyperbole causes MANY readers to 'shut down' on the review because right there it unhinges itself from reason.

I, for one, can take or leave heated seats. My wife's car has them, I've used them countless times, they're kinda nice (she says she won't have another car without them). I don't want a heated steering wheel in any case, so while I might consider checking the heated seat option box (if offered separately), I'd only be happy to skip the heated wheel.  Yet I'd never advocate unemployment (hyperbole) if they were paired together, and that's just me talking to myself.

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I have yet to see a Regal on the roads here. See plenty of Enclaves a few Envisions.

 

okay now that the Envision is tariffed the Tourx might get a boost.

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I haven't seen a Sportback on the road yet, but back in mid-May saw a brown TourX at a gas station...only new Regal I've seen out and about in NE Ohio.. I find the TourX quite striking in person. 

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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fun to play with Opel's configurator.  I wish the AGR seats without the stupid track back was available here.....

 

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or custom colors

 

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Edited by regfootball
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    • By Drew Dowdell
      The march towards majority SUVs continues on and the two newest casualties are the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen and the Golf Alltrack. As we predicted a month ago, Volkswagen will end production of the two vehicles in the 2019 model year, though in the case of the Alltrack, production will be extended to December. 
      Volkswagen says that with 50 percent of their sales being SUVs, consumer tastes have shifted strongly to SUVs, and VW is responding by releasing three new SUVs over the next 2 years.  First up, will be a 5-seater Atlas Cross Sport being unveiled later this year, then the ID.CROZZ electric SUV early next year, and a just announced SUV to slot below the Tiguan is planned for 2021.  While Volkswagen says their new ID EV platform can be used for bodystyles of the past, apparently the station wagon is not one planned. 
       
    • By William Maley
      The news about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have been constant barrage about how they aren’t doing so well in the sales charts. In fact, Ram has taken second place in overall truck sales from the Silverado. General Motors is quick to point that Ram has been increasing amount of money on the hoods of the 2019 Ram 1500, along with the last-generation model being sold alongside. But could there be more to this slump? What if the new Silverado and Sierra didn’t move the needle as far as the competition?
      The new Silverado and Sierra continue to separate from one another in exterior design. The basic shape may be the same, but it is the details where the two begin to develop their own identities. On the Sierra, it goes for some polarization with its gaping maw of a grille and c-shaped headlights. Chevrolet is a bit more restrained with the Silverado featuring a split bar grille and separate headlight housings. More differences can be seen turning to the side as the Silverado has slightly more pronounced fenders than the Sierra.
      Both trucks arrived in their off-road trims: Trail Boss for the Silverado and AT4 for the Sierra. This is denoted by two-inch lift for the suspension, blacked-out trim pieces, and meaty off-road tires featuring some sharp-looking wheels. I tend not to like off-road models as they go overboard with the “LOOK AT ME” bits placed on it, which I get why a number of buyers absolutely love it. But the Trail Boss and AT4 find that nice point where they look the business without being too shouty about it.
      GMC is also trying to set itself apart in terms of the tailgate. My Sierra AT4 tester came equipped with the MultiPro tailgate which offers “six functions and positions.” They include, 
      Primary Gate (Full Tailgate) Primary Gate Load Stop: Panel that holds longer items in the bed Easy Access: Flip the inner part of the tailgate to allow for better access for items in the bed Step to allow for easy entry and exit from the bed Inner Gate with Load Stop Inner Gate as a work surface You will not find a physical tailgate handle. Instead, there are two buttons that sit between the backup camera. The top button releases the inner gate, while the bottom allows the full tailgate to open. Opening the inner gate wasn’t as smooth as the full tailgate, feeling like it was sticking at points. A lot of this I would attribute to cold temperatures during the week. Despite this issue, having the inner tailgate give way to allow for better access to the bed and a step does give a unique selling point. I do wonder how will this tailgate design hold-up in the long run.
      Moving inside, GM is still focusing on functional and practical aspects. This is evident with the large knobs and buttons controlling various functions, and a comprehensive gauge cluster. But this approach does put both trucks behind the pack in terms of interior design and materials when compared against Ford and Ram. I had to do a double-take getting inside the Silverado for the first time as the dashboard really didn’t change that much aside from the colors and slightly altered buttons. This isn’t helped by some of the material choices which look and feel out of place in trucks that carry price tags that are around the $60,000 mark.
      But the Silverado and Sierra’s interiors do claw some points back in terms of overall comfort. No one will have any issue trying to find a position that works thanks to a generous amount of power seat adjustments and a steering wheel that finally provides tilt-telescope adjustment. Space in the back of crew cabs is massive with loads of head and legroom.
      Both trucks came with an eight-inch screen (lesser trims get by with a seven-inch screen) and new software - Chevrolet Infotainment 3/GMC Infotainment. The interface looks like a simplified version of MyLink/Intellilink with simpler graphics and easier to read fonts. Moving around the system is easy thanks to the simple menu structure and quick responses for any command. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes standard. Both trucks were able to find my iPhone 7 Plus and bring up the CarPlay interface within seconds of plugging it in.
      There are four different engines on offer, including a new 2.7L turbo-four. There’s also a turbodiesel V6 that will be arriving for the 2020 model year. Both of my test trucks came with the V8s - Silverado packing a 5.3L and the Sierra using the 6.2L.
      The 5.3L V8 has not been my engine of choice for the last-generation trucks. Not because of the power on offer, but more of the tuning of the throttle pedal. It made the V8 feel very sluggish and would make the driver push further down on the pedal to get it moving a decent clip. Thankfully, GM has addressed this issue and 5.3 now feel likes it has 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. You can lightly press on the accelerator and V8 doesn’t feel artificially overwhelmed. A new eight-speed automatic (standard on higher trims) helps keep the engine right in the sweet spot of power and provides smooth shifts.
      As for the 6.2L V8, it is a monster. With 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, it moves the Sierra at a surprising rate. Making a pass or merging on to a freeway is no problem as there is an abundance of power waiting to be unleashed. A new ten-speed automatic (jointly developed with Ford) helps keep the engine right in the spot of power. Unless you need or want all of the power, the 5.3 is the engine I would recommend for either truck.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the V8s are 15 City/20 Highway/17 Combined for the 5.3 and 15/19/17 for the 6.2L AT4.  My averages for the week were 16.1 for the 5.3 and 15.2 for the 6.2. 
      Ram is still the gold standard when it comes to ride quality due to its rear coil spring setup. But GM isn’t so far behind with its solid rear axle setup. Most bumps and imperfections become mere ripples. Larger potholes didn’t upset either truck, but I would put that towards the off-road suspension. The standard trucks may bounce around. Handling is quite surprising as both trucks feel agile around bends. Noise isolation, for the most part, is excellent, though the knobby tires fitted to the Trail Boss and AT4 do ruin some of the tranquility.
      My feelings are mixed on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500. GM has either fixed or improved various problems that I have talked about in previous reviews. But it feels GM hasn’t done enough to fully set their trucks apart from the competition. I think this line from my journal says it all.
      “If General Motors wasn’t touting various aspects of these new trucks such as the aluminum body panels or multi-pro tailgate, I would have thought both models went through a dramatic mid-cycle refresh.”
      This could give the full explanation as to why the Silverado and Sierra are currently getting beaten out by Ford and Ram Trucks in the sales chart. Buyers may not see any real changes for both trucks when compared against the competition. GM has been on the offensive, saying to be patient. But that approach may not work and may cause the automaker to draw up some drastic measures.
      That’s the thing about the full-size truck market, you need to show up with the best. Anything less and you’re in danger of losing. 
      How I would configure a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.
      There are two options I would consider with the Silverado. First is the RST. I would order a 4WD crew cab with a short and opt for the 5.3L V8. From there, I would add the Convenience Package with Bucket Seats, Convenience Package II, Safety Package, and Trailering Package. That brings the final price to $52,745 excluding any discounts I could get. Second is the Trail Boss which gets the 5.3L V8 as standard. Options would mirror the RST and bring the final price to $54,285.
      If I was to order a Sierra 1500, then I would start with the SLT Crew Cab 4WD with a short bed. This comes with the 5.3L V8 as standard and I would only add two options; Dark Sky Metallic for $495 and the SLT Premium Plus Package for $6,875. This package combines a number of option packages such as the SLT Preferred Package and the two Driver Alert Packages. The final price comes to $60,460 with a $1,000 discount for ordering Premium Plus Package.
      Alternatives to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.
      2019 Ram 1500: Ram's redesign on the 1500 has helped make it a real challenger to both Ford and GM. The interior raises the bar of what a truck can be with an impressive design and high-quality material choices. It also boasts an impressive list of safety features such as adaptive cruise control. Ride quality is still class leading. What may put some people off is the styling as it looks a bit plain. 2019 Ford F-150: Bestselling for reason, Ford has constantly improved the F-150 to keep it one step ahead of the competition. It features one of the largest selection of powertrains that help give it some impressive towing numbers. A number of trims also gives buyers different options to build their F-150 the way they want. But Ford trails Ram and GM when it comes ride quality. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (*Author's Note: Unfortunately, I lost the window sticker to the GMC Sierra 1500 I drove. I have built the truck as close as possible to my memory to get an approximation on price. -WM)
      Year: 2019
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Silverado 1500
      Trim: LT Trail Boss
      Engine: 5.3L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/20/17
      Curb Weight: 5,008 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $55,955 (Includes $1,495 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Convenience Package with Bucket Seats - $1,805.00
      Convenience Package II - $1,420.00
      Off-Road Assist Steps - $895.00
      Safety Package I - $890.00
      Bed Protection Package - $635.00
      Trailer Brake Controller - $275.00
      Advanced Trailering Package - $240.00
      Year: 2019
      Make: GMC
      Model: Sierra 1500
      Trim: AT4
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
      Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,600 
      Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/19/17
      Curb Weight: 5,015 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
      Base Price: $53,200
      As Tested Price: $64,955 (Includes $1,595 Destination Charge and $500 discount for the AT4 Premium Package)*
      Options:
      Off-Road Performance Package - $4,940
      AT4 Premium Package - $3,100 with a $500 discount
      Technology Package - $1,875
      Driver Alert Package II - $745
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Buick is introducing a Sport Touring package for 2020.  The ST is available on the Enclave Essence trim and includes a unique grille with body color surround, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels. The ST remains powered by the same 3.6-liter V6 producing 310 HP and 266 lb-ft of torque, the same unit in all other Enclaves. 
      Other features added to the rest of the Enclave lineup include a new next-generation infotainment system with 8-inch diagonal screen. When equipped, the system supports SiriusXM with 360L which combines satellite and streaming to deliver more content. The setup requires a subscription to both SiriusXM All Access and GM Connected Vehicle services (on-board WiFi). 
      The rear vision camera has been upgraded to High-Def and a High-Def Surround vision system.  Standard on the Premium and Avenir, the driver and front passenger seat are upgraded with 4-way power lumbar and a massaging seat. 
      Three new colors are available: Champagne Gold Metallic, Dark Moon Blue Metallic, and an Avenir only Rich Garnet Metallic.
      The 2020 Buick Enclave goes on sale late summer with a starting price of $41,195 including destination charge.


      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Buick is introducing a Sport Touring package for 2020.  The ST is available on the Enclave Essence trim and includes a unique grille with body color surround, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels. The ST remains powered by the same 3.6-liter V6 producing 310 HP and 266 lb-ft of torque, the same unit in all other Enclaves. 
      Other features added to the rest of the Enclave lineup include a new next-generation infotainment system with 8-inch diagonal screen. When equipped, the system supports SiriusXM with 360L which combines satellite and streaming to deliver more content. The setup requires a subscription to both SiriusXM All Access and GM Connected Vehicle services (on-board WiFi). 
      The rear vision camera has been upgraded to High-Def and a High-Def Surround vision system.  Standard on the Premium and Avenir, the driver and front passenger seat are upgraded with 4-way power lumbar and a massaging seat. 
      Three new colors are available: Champagne Gold Metallic, Dark Moon Blue Metallic, and an Avenir only Rich Garnet Metallic.
      The 2020 Buick Enclave goes on sale late summer with a starting price of $41,195 including destination charge.

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