What Is It?
In what seems like a good way to differentiate itself from a crowded field of entry level luxury sedans, the 2018 Buick Regal dispenses with the traditional sedan body style altogether. This completely redesigned car instead features a pair of body style alternatives.
One, the Sportback, looks quite similar to 4-door “coupes” like the Audi A7, but like that popular — and pricier — luxury model, the new Regal version features a gaping hatchback trunk. The result is an attractive car that should satisfy the aesthetic tastes of most hatchback-averse American buyers, while still benefiting from the added practicality and versatility of such a colossal trunk opening.
The other body style is the Regal TourX. It’s a wagon in the spirit of the Audi A4 Allroad, adding a slight ride height increase (0.6 inches) and some quasi-rugged body cladding to create a sort of crossover appearance. The TourX has considerably more cargo space than the Audi, however, with noticeably more depth to the cargo area that’s not only good for adding extra luggage, but for transporting bigger dogs, too. Total cargo capacity with the back seats folded is 73.5 cu ft., which actually tops the otherwise huge Subaru Outback. Very impressive.
Both Regals come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard with all-wheel drive (standard TourX, optional Sportback), while a 9-speed automatic is standard with front-wheel drive (standard Sportback, not available TourX).
Inside, the Regal gets a clear update over its predecessor. The design is modern and attractive, with a hint of some Audi and Spanish automaker SEAT sprinkled in. The overall quality isn’t up to Audi standards, but then the Regal should be cheaper than an A4. When compared to another “value luxury brand” like Acura, the Regal should stand quite tall. There’s also additional sound deadening for 2018, so the new Regal should be a little more in line with the rest of the Buick lineup than its predecessor.
We would anticipate a starting price of around $30,000 for the Sportback and perhaps $33,000 for the TourX given its quasi-crossover marketing and standard all-wheel drive.
When Can You Get It?
Look for the new Regal models to hit dealers in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
You want something different than the luxury sedan norm. We think the Sportback and TourX body styles should do just that, while the rest of the 2018 Buick Regal (apart from its distinctive cargo areas) shows enough promise to warrant considering it alongside other entry-level luxury sedans.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Audi A4 and A4 Quattro: The Audi A4 is essentially the bar the Regal wishes to reach. The two are comparable in many ways, including the availability of the rugged-ish Allroad wagon.
Used Lexus ES — The Lexus ES does a great job at offering a comfortable driving experience with a hint of performance, especially if you opt for the V6-powered ES 350. It comes at a price premium over the Regal, though, so you may want to consider used models.