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Driven: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback GS 3.6 AWD and Regal TourX Essence 2.0t AWD

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Driven: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback GS 3.6 AWD and Regal TourX Essence 2.0t AWD

Prior review thread worth reading of 2018 Regal Sportback here.  So I won't get too deep into here, I'll try to add on what is notably different or of relevance.

REGAL GS

HIGHS:

-sexy look for the GS package

-feature laden, the GS package is, heated and cooled seats with memory, heads up display, etc.  Lots of content.

-v6 for those that don't want a 4 cylinder.

-Manual mode with the shifter is delightfully simple, slide to left, tap up / tap down.  Explains why no need for paddle shifters, which using the lever is much easier in this car.  9 speed tranny is really good as well.

-Love the thick rim flat bottom steering wheel.

-All the efficient space and packaging benefits of the sportback.

LOWS:

-Heavy, heavy.  Strangely porky compared to its FWD platform mates.  The v6 plus AWD pays the price with extra heft.

-V6 has nice specs, and can be quick, but doesn't feel like a great powertrain.  Engine is not engaging or super smooth, nor does it have an endearing sound quality.  Lack of turbo also means not a big thrust unless you wind it up.  Throttle response is ok but it really doesn't like to rev.  It's better as a cruiser.

-Can't really feel much of anything different when sport mode is turned on.

-Nothing really great about the steering and handling.  Sure its a bit sportier and quicker and has decent feel.  But there's nothing there to suggest sports sedan.  It's just an appearance package like the old Bonneville SSE.

-Can't turn off autostop

-Needs a power hatch, especially with all the extra kit elsewhere in the GS package.  Plus the wagon, it's available.

-Design your seats for your likely buyers, which is white older men in the midwest.  We are large and wide.  These seats are too narrow and the bolsters too much for a cornfield state cruiser (you didn't tune your handling and powertrain for a sports sedan, so why the seats?)

-heads up display is initially hard to get used to and a bit gimmicky.  Maybe it takes an adjustment, but with the gauge displays so fancy nowadays, not sure this has huge benefit.  May have to use this feature again more.

-interior of the Regal, as has been said in many reviews online, could stand to be better overall.

SUMMARY:

It's good that Buick doesn't expect to sell a lot of these.  It's a nice option to have this car, but the execution is consistent with the online reviews that are out there for this car.  It's really a Regal with v6 and AWD and a lot of features.  It's not all of a piece, it's not German, it's not a performer (although it does scoot a bit, it just isn't exciting in any way).  At the end of the day, it looks cool and has 2 more cylinders than the plain Regals.  It's really just a tarted up highway cruiser like the old Pontiac GT's and SSE's.

This particular rig was a GM exec car, so what that means is they are not selling, and so a GM lifer gets to drive it for 3 months or whatever and then it hits the used market.  Perhaps had GM put a twin turbo six into it and dialed it in for superb chassis and not just good cruiser chassis I think they would have been on to something.  I just don't think they are committed to marketing this Regal line so it was far easier to just package it up like they did here.

The 3.6 is underwhelming in this application here like it can be in other products.  In a Traverse its more of character.  Here it's just not suited to the part of performance car.  Doesn't stimulate the senses or feel like a great powertrain in any way.  Add to it the indifferent chassis and heft and you just don't get awesome for the dollar here.

I think if Buick lightened the feature list a bit, kept the sexy body work, and put in the AGR seats of the Euro Regal and the great brakes, flat bottom wheel....on a FWD chassis with some great tuning and a hopped up 2.0t, they'd have something that may sell a few more copies.  Simply call it 'Sport Touring'.  We don't need an AVENIR.  I don't think there is much effort being put into anything on the Buick side for marketing at GM these days.  

I may be perceived as harsh here but I would give the GS Regal a C+.  Mainly just due to styling and feature content.

 

 

Eventually I'll get my TourX notes up here.  I like the TourX, but it's not super different than the Sportback.  The extra cargo area is nice, the AWD does add some heft and it feels a bit less quick than the FWD Sportback.  The big moonroof is a huge win in my book.  I would love to see a FWD Regal wagon with GS style bodywork here in the US, I think that would be the winner of the Regal offerings for me. 

Edited by regfootball
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I never really gave my review for the TourX did i?

Let me say that I may have been harsh on the Regals (the four cylinder turbos previously).  Check out the recent pics from my lot stalking test drives.  YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THESE WHILE YOU HAVE THE CHANCE!  You cannot find vehicles this nice at these prices often anymore (by that I mean with the discounts).  I am convinced that these are very good rides!  Are they the best?  No, but nothing is, how long will it be till you can't find a car with 250 horsepower anymore?  And the drivetrain is SO smooth compared to available crossovers in comparison.  The turbo four is much better in this car than the v6 in the GS.  If you want a wagon, this is about as good looking as it gets.  Crossovers be damned.  Buick missed BADLY by not including heated seats and wheel in the preferred trim on these cars.  Blind spot / cross path monitors should be standard on Buicks, too.

 

 

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Edited by regfootball
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what's better red or blue, i think mom might even be on board with one of these too

 

 

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Edited by regfootball
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I really like TourX,  probably would consider it as a daily driver if I was on the market.

Personally i like it in white, or red or silver.

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I like the looks of the Tour X...that dark red looks great.   The '50 shades of gray' interior of the black one is too dour and bland for me. 

Edited by Robert Hall
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GM in general has far too many shades of gray and black in all its vehicles it sells. 

Edited by regfootball
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These are great. I need to drive one, especially now since my daily is a current gen Outback.

Shame the interior seating/center consoles/etc. are so hard, plebeian and thin/flat vs. the last gen (especially if you get the nasty base cloth), but the package outside & underneath seems well done. Bright red. Interesting.

Are these even selling? Odd car at a Buick store, in 2019.

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Go drive one!  In essence trim with leather the plastics look fine. Subaru’s are Subaru’s and imo this is a level above 

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46 minutes ago, regfootball said:

Go drive one!  In essence trim with leather the plastics look fine. Subaru’s are Subaru’s and imo this is a level above 

But those nasty flat seats and plastics...I have sat in them. Hence my displeasure at the interior, after my 2012 Regal. Ha;) Will do.

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I do understand that. The pre 2018 regals maybe felt a bit nicer. But they did not have as good of rear seat space and the h point for the seat was higher like in the fusion. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, regfootball said:

I do understand that. The pre 2018 regals maybe felt a bit nicer. But they did not have as good of rear seat space and the h point for the seat was higher like in the fusion. 

Likely why I found the last smaller gen much more comfortable. The new ones, size and dynamics aside, make me fidget around. Too bus like. Seating H points and interior comfort are huge. But great reviews on these!

I continue to wonder, in today's market, if any of these are selling. I next to never see one, normal hatch, or Tour X. How is the market near you? Dealers have any commentary about them? Given the cost to build, lack of incentive, etc. and no marketing, it's a "you have to already know to know..." kind of car line.

Edited by caddycruiser

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In the Cleveland, Oh suburbs where I normally see a lot of Buicks (long a popular brand here, I think),  I've seen maybe 4 new Regals--2 hatchbacks and 2 Tour Xes in the wild in the last year.   The wagon looks really good in that dark maroon red. 

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Posted (edited)

I like both the older and newer version of the regals. The older one is what I may look at for a college car for my daughter. Although a newer sportback may be better for hauling cargo to the dorm. 

Simply put they are not selling new and that is because GM is clueless and also by design.  The residuals are terrible and there is no lease support. So many are still sitting on lots and now ending up as GM company cars. And then they hit the used market with low miles on them. But they won’t make them competitive from a retail standpoint. Example, you can take a terrain, Acadia, envision and GM will support those with lease incentives and the residuals are better enough such that the tourx can’t compete within its own showroom. A terrain envision etc with same msrp as tourx will be 200-300 more a month (or more) in a lease quote. 

The other problem is option packaging   Buick sent a bunch of ‘preferred’ tourx here (cloth) and so those prices are lower  but you can’t get heated seats dual zone climate and wheel on preferred tourx for a vehicle that is meant to be attractive to buyers in winter climates.  (In contrast the base base envision has heated seats ). Plus. Blind spot , cross path, safety features are often not found on the models that got sent here. Moonroof is tough to find also which is a huge draw for this vehicle.  On the essence trims they have so many separate packages  you may find one with say, a moonroof but then it doesn’t have the safety packages    Real dumb stuff  tourx is a car that ashould have practically all the safety stuff on most models that hit the showroom   My bet is GM was contracted to sell these and now doesn’t want to so they have no incentive to make them a success in the market  

sportback was supposed to replace the verano as Buick’s entry car and tell me when you way overprice the sportback how do pick up those verano sales when you are 10 grand or more higher across the board  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by regfootball

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Posted (edited)

Sounds about right. Horrific options packaging, and weird, to the point you're at $40k with scratchy flat school bus grade cloth seats, a rubber steering wheel and "wait, no heated seats or climate control either?"

One day, maybe, GM accounting will realize it's easier just to put more features in as standard. When I can buy a "base" Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, etc. with so much more...you don't want to have to battle "why is the lease $250 more?!?!" along with "wait, and no basic features my Mazda 3 had?!?!"

Odd struggle. Loved the fit, size, comfort, etc. of my 2012 Regal GS, and I typically loathe cars, as the low seating point is almost always uncomfortable. That first import gen is great. The Tour X is huge inside, once you see in from the back.

Expensive car to build, with the Opel, etc. stuff, so "please just make a few and don't do any marketing" likely said. So, exec fleets, and convincing a previous customer coming out of their last sticker price Regal...the new one for $590 a month is normal, are the main sales.

1 hour ago, Robert Hall said:

In the Cleveland, Oh suburbs where I normally see a lot of Buicks (long a popular brand here, I think),  I've seen maybe 4 new Regals--2 hatchbacks and 2 Tour Xes in the wild in the last year.   The wagon looks really good in that dark maroon red. 

Buicks are everywhere. But not many of these. It's not even a blip thought at Subaru, because very few people even know it exists vs. an Outback, etc. Always interesting the difference in different parts of the country.

Edited by caddycruiser

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4 minutes ago, caddycruiser said:

 Buicks are everywhere. But not many of these. It's not even a blip thought at Subaru, because very few people even know it exists vs. an Outback, etc. Always interesting the difference in different parts of the country.

It is funny about the regional differences...I rarely saw Buicks in Phoenix and Scottsdale, but they are all over the Cleveland area.

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Posted (edited)

How did I miss these?

I like how you summarize highs and lows.  Pictures are worth a thousand words and you've sequenced them nicely.

I find it interesting that you liked the 2.0 T over the naturally aspirated 3.6, or seemed to.  I wouldn't know.  I haven't driven this car but have driven vehicles with 3.6 engines in way different applications.   Today, the 3.6 would be my "go to" engine at GM, probably followed by the 2.5.  I would imagine AWD would make this car heavy.  For being smaller, they sure pack on the pounds.  You can tell when you slam the doors.  The build quality is there.

I have "test sat" in these new Regal sportbacks while in service.  I am getting used to the more horizontal dash over the previous more vertically arranged dashboards.

What is bizarre in this car is how, once you sit down, looking back feels like peering into a tunnel.  In most wagons, the back lite feels much closer, and this is not even a big car we're talking about.

GM has really gone on the cheap with interior color choices and base models come with next to none (choices, that is).  If a person were to "build and price" a base Malibu or LS, the only interior color that can be had with many exterior colors is black.  That's it.

The only Buick that is currently selling well is the Encore.  That's what salespeople have indicated.  I feel that this car's sticker can climb too high and too quickly for the niche it's intended to be in .... the entry-level Buick passenger car.

Were you okay with the "new" console height in Buick products?

On 5/12/2019 at 11:48 AM, Robert Hall said:

It is funny about the regional differences...I rarely saw Buicks in Phoenix and Scottsdale, but they are all over the Cleveland area.

So true.  It seems that the Midwest and the Southeast are the few American regions that are feeding the domestic manufacturers in a much bigger way.  It's all about attitude and perception.  The West Coast seems to have been brainwashed that having a foreign car is indeed better.  When I see what some service items cost for some foreign cars, the idea that they are superior makes little to no sense.  What seems to eventually go south in most American cars is power equipment and electric gizmos, while the powertrain keeps going strong.  And when these items go out and begin to work intermittently, it is very annoying.

 

Edited by trinacriabob

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