Weidel on Wheels: Reintroduced, 2011 Buick has a more “Regal” appearance

By: Jeffrey Weidel
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Researching the history of the Buick Regal, my memories were pretty right on regarding this rather nondescript vehicle. The old Regal was a long and lean sedan that was introduced in 1978 with a fairly powerful V-6 engine. I’m not sure how General Motors ever thought it warranted the “regal” name, but it was certainly not a vehicle that was suited for royalty. Despite its ordinary looks and performance, the Regal stuck around until 2006 when Buick finally pulled the plug. Reintroduced in 2011, the modern-day Buick Regal is certainly a more visually appealing mid-size sedan. It’s not long and lean any longer. On the contrary, it’s shorter and has an attractive style that is practically identical to the German GM design called the Opel Insignia. A slightly different grille and light configuration are the only physical differences. There are only two trim models that Buick offers, and fortunately I was provided the Regal CXL with turbo capability. Trust me, it makes a ton of difference. The standard Buick features a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower that is reportedly on the sluggish side. In contrast, the 2.0-liter, turbo-charged Buick with 220 horsepower is a lively sedan that is quite fun to drive. It’s been clocked at 0 to 60 mph in only 8.9 seconds, so this Regal is not that quick from a starting position. Yet it has admirable passing power at higher speeds. It’s another example of a manufacturer providing the turbo addition to really add some punch. The addition of turbo is an old trick that is gaining in popularity to provide more power to a base model that is a bit lacking. Another plus regarding the Regal, and this applies to either trim, is the handling is athletic and responsive. Tested on some challenging Placer County country roads, the Buick demonstrated its sporty handling, good braking power, and nimbleness. The Regal supplied a nice demonstration of performance from a vehicle that only costs $28,185. And if you desire even more road manner accountability, the optional Interactive Drive Control provides three distinct settings for suspension, steering and throttle control. There are many positives for the Regal’s interior as well. Buick equipped the Regal with premium materials and a smart cabin control setup that aren’t difficult to figure out. The low-mounted controls are easy to access. The Regal’s front seat supplies good head and legroom and the seats give lots of support. However, there is a smallish backseat that can feel cramped for adults, plus the trunk is narrow and putting in a set of golf clubs is awkward. __________ 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo Price: $28,745 Power: 2.0-liter, turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower Mileage estimate: 18 mpg city; 28 mpg highway Standard features include: Fog lamps; keyless entry; dual-zone automatic climate control; OnStar; leather upholstery; power driver seat; heated front seats; auto-dimming rearview mirror; tilt-and-telescoping steering column; seven-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, iPod/auxiliary audio jacks and Bluetooth connectivity; traction and stability control