2014 Buick Regal Review
The current Regal was introduced onto a crowded field, sandwiched between two classes. On one side is the popular family mid-sized sedan segment. The other side is the premium compact sedan market. Both represent strong polar magnets for consumers looking to spend in the $30,000-40,000 range. We wanted to find out whether an update to Buick’s sporty model worked to gain traction in-between these two segments.
The facelifted Regal continues to be built on General Motors’ latest Epsilon platform, with a few nips and tucks creating more of a handsome façade than before. It has been the premium car of choice for Chinese consumers who would rather drive than be driven, as well as serving as the twin to the European Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. Though it got lost in the shuffle between the Verano and LaCrosse, the update promises to help the Regal’s cause in North America by upping the power the base turbocharged engine, de-emphasizing the eAssist option and adding all-wheel drive to the mix.
The Regal made easy work of everyday traffic. The reconstituted 2.0liter turbocharged Ecotec engine is now 259 horsepower – representing an increase for regular Regal models – along with 295 pounds-feet of torque. Connected to a six-speed automatic driving the front wheels, you feel the turbo kick in a bit late, but it will definitely keep up with traffic. This combination yielded a fuel consumption figure of 23.7MPG.
Keeping the Regal on the road is its basic setup. There is a nice ride balance with stable handling throughout. There is minimal roll through the corners, but it might just feel soft overall with some feedback on “bouncy” road conditions. The steering is quite good, with some softness on-center and good reaction in tight maneuvers. Brakes give a solid feel with sure stops in both normal and panic situations.
Inside is a spacious, more workable cabin – further refined for 2014. The leather seating is supportive and taut. I found a great place behind the wheel, which everything in front has changed. No longer are the big dials and a small switchable screen, as they yield to a more electric cluster with a larger information screen to boot. The center stack has changed with Buick’s new simplified cluster around the big Intelilink screen and new redundant switches on the steering wheel. Rear seat room is not for large adults. Four average-sized adults would find their place in the Regal.
To the tune of $34,685, this Premium II package made good work while being put through its paces. Some may question the high price tag, but price out the top end of most mid-sized family sedans and check their performance numbers. Then, price out the lower end of the premium brand set where the Regal wants to compete against. You might find the Regal has a few advantages for the money.
What about the quandary of being in the middle of two distinct classes of sedan? It is easy to justify a more luxurious car for the money, or to save money on a roomier, more mainstream sedan. But, if you must aspire for more in your life – or just want a nice sporty sedan to run around town in – the Regal is a very good choice.
**If you are interested in a Buick Regal, log onto CarSoup.com to find out what is available on sale. **
Photos © General Motors