I laid eyes on my first Buick Regal when they came out with the model in 1973. I was freshly-minted college grad with a new job selling truck lease contracts for Ryder in Florida. Some of the big shots in the company had Buick company cars, but I was issued a Ford instead. Since my college education was paid for by the GI bill, I was in a position to consider the purchase of such a Regal for personal use, but as it turned out I ended up buying another Buick offering, the little Manta. I should have gotten the Regal.
Buick built Regals for years after my flirtation with it, until 2004, and then started production again with a car based on the European Opel Insignia, in 2011. The 2018 is the eighth annual version of the reconstituted German-built Regal, the lineup having been bifurcated into a couple of models, the TourX station wagon and Sportback sedan. I recently tested a new 2018 Regal TourX, a turbocharged all-wheel drive model painted Smoked Pearl metallic. The TourX is the first Buick station wagon since the 1996 Roadmaster.
My wife and I drove the 2018 TourX tester around NoCo for several days, and the ride was compliant but firm — guidance, handling, and visibility were all impressive and acceleration with the turbo engine is brisk. Reportedly it is zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds (interestingly, the old 1973 Buick Regal V-8 time was 11.8 seconds). Specifications of the little turbo four is: 2.0 liter displacement, 250 horsepower, and 295 pounds/foot of torque. The TourX power plant is engineered to provide power without hated turbo “lag,” or hesitation, at the stop light. It is mated to a eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, and the car has an all-wheel drive arrangement. Wheelbase is 111.4 inches, length is 196.3 inches, and the car weighs 3,849 pounds.
EPA fuel economy ratings of the Regal are 29 mpg on the highway, 21 mpg in the city, 24 mpg combined, and the tank holds 16.3 gallons. The lift gate is a hands-free power affair, and chrome work on the rear includes dual exhaust finishers. Driver assist items include lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking. 18-inch, ten-spoke alloy wheels on the TourX are fitted with Continental P235/50R18 ProContact all season radials.
Total M.S.R.P. for the Regal came to $40,400, and that included a base of $35,070, navigation package for $1,095, two driver technology packages for $2,915, upgraded paint for $395, and freight of $925. The Regal Essence comes standard with leather seats (buckets in front), 4G hotspot connectivity, remote start, 8 inch touchscreen, Bose XM radio, floor shift, power seats/windows/locks, and tilting, telescoping steering column.
The Regal Buicks are terrific cars nowadays; faster, prettier, and less thirsty than the original that came out 45 years ago. Regals feel good in the hands of a driver, and that is the case with the new 2018 TourX that I tested. The combination of power, styling, comfort, and economy makes it a good pick for the mid-sized sporty station wagon shopper.
Contributor Stu Wright is an automotive writer/photographer and member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. www.stuwright.com