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2018 Buick Regal TourX: First Drive Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Jason Fogelson February 2018

Behold the 2018 Buick Regal TourX. Shakespeare said it best: "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet." The auto industry in the U.S. has retreated from a few names, yet continues to be drawn to the sweet forms to which they refer. "Hatchback" has become "Sportback" or "5-Door." "Station Wagon" has reverted to "Estate" or "Crossover." Or, in the case of the subject at hand, "TourX." Buick has used the Regal name since 1973, but this is the first time in six generations of Regal that there's been a station wagon -- sorry, a TourX version. Joining the Regal Sportback and upcoming Regal GS sedans for the new model year, the TourX is a 4-door wagon variant that will be riding into a white space near you very soon.

What's New?

Let's put this to rest -- marketing-speak aside, TourX is a mid-size 2-row station wagon, the first in the Buick lineup since the retirement of the Roadmaster in 1996. The entire Regal lineup is all-new for 2018, riding on a new platform with a new engine and transmission, a new exterior and interior design and new technology packages. Interestingly, TourX is a truly global vehicle. Its engine is built in the United States, transmission in Japan and final assembly takes place in Ruesselsheim, Germany.

Take a Look

TourX dances on the edge between rugged and sleek, and does it very well. Thanks to a rising belt and shoulder line and a slightly sloping roof, the wagon shape of the greenhouse tapers toward the rear -- the windows get shorter as you go back. The big open-mouthed grille at the front gets a modest Buick logo with expressive headlamps at the corners of the hood. The rear elevation gets a little busy, but still works, with space to tuck in a license plate beneath the Buick badge. You can imagine a long Euro plate mounted here as well. Tasteful cladding around the fender wells and lower rocker panels, in the vein of the Audi allroad and Volvo XC70 Cross Country, makes the TourX look off-road ready. Wagon or not, this is an attractive vehicle.

The Inside Story

It's hard to complain about the TourX's interior. It's a clean, unfussy execution -- one of Buick's best. The location of the touchscreen is perfect, at the top of the center stack between two air vents. A prominent volume knob is right at the center of the stack, just below the screen. HVAC controls are in their own area, below that. The gear selector is a traditional lever mounted in the center console. There's covered storage in front of the gear selector, a small open bin behind and more storage beneath the middle armrest.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive. Leather seating appointments come with the top trim level (Essence), and mid-trim and top-trim TourX models get power adjustment. The second row is a 40/20/40-split bench (Preferred trim), and there's an HVAC outlet/control in the second row.

What makes a wagon a wagon? It's that big open space behind the second row. In TourX, that space is cavernous -- 73.50 cu ft. behind the second row.

Under the Hood

There's just one engine choice for TourX, and that's a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with direct gasoline injection -- a very familiar formula now, as opposed to the V8-powered station wagons of old. Output is reported at 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a conventional 8-speed automatic. Looking back at that 1996 Roadmaster, it would have had a 5.7-liter V8 (260 hp/335 lb-ft of torque) hooked up to a 4-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive, and would have had a curb weight of over 4,200 lbs. The TourX weighs in at 3,708 lbs. Fuel economy for the TourX is estimated at 21 miles per gallon city and 29 mpg highway, with 24 mpg combined.

Suspension and Handling

TourX comes with 4-wheel independent suspension (MacPherson struts front/5-link rear) and 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS. Rack-mounted electric power steering delivers good feel. The rear suspension does show a little bit of a tendency to bottom out over big bumps, but the ride is pleasantly stiff and almost European. Body roll is controlled, and pretty flat through the corners. It's much sportier than any of the old station wagons, certainly, and thanks to the low center of gravity, much more stable than taller-bodied SUVs and crossovers. There's something to be said for the sedan/wagon stance.

Standard All-Wheel Drive

Like competitors Audi allroad, Subaru Outback and Volvo XC70 Cross Country, all-wheel drive is standard on the TourX. Buick's system uses twin clutches on the rear differential, which allows the system to direct torque from side-to-side in demand situations. This means that the wheel that needs the power gets the power, which can really help out in snow and ice.

Safety

Buick has loaded in the expected array of airbags, seat belts and other standard safety equipment into the TourX, along with standard Stabilitrak stability control. A Driver Confidence Package ($1,725) adds LED headlamps, cornering lamps, automatic headlamp control and leveling, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, side blind zone monitoring and more.

Technology

A Sights and Sounds Package of options ($1,095) must be ordered to get the Buick Infotainment System, which includes navigation, HD radio and a premium audio system. Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included. OnStar Guidance Plan is included with a trial period, as is OnStar 4GLTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

A hands-free liftgate is standard on the top trim level. This is a cool feature made even cooler by Buick -- the Buick logo is projected on the ground to help locate the trigger that you kick under to open the hatch. Nice execution of a sometimes-awkward feature.

Trim Levels, Options and Pricing

Three trim levels of the TourX will be available at launch: TourX 1SV/Base (starting at $29,995), Preferred (starting at $33,595) and Essence (starting at $35,995). Each trim level comes with the same 2.0-liter turbo, 8-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive standard.

The Base TourX gets manual cloth seats, a 7-inch touchscreen, Keyless Open and start, a rear vision camera and more. Preferred trim levels add 8-way power driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror and a height-adjustable passenger seat. Essence trim levels add a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, audio controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, heated leather front seats, the Buick Infotainment System with an 8-in color touchscreen, an 8-way power passenger seat and a hands-free power liftgate.

There aren't any options packages available for the base trim level. Preferred packages include Driver Confidence Package 1 ($1,240); Sights and Sounds Package ($1,870) and Buick Interior Protection Package ($200). Essence packages include Driver Confidence Package I ($1,725) and II ($1,190), Sights and Sounds Package ($1,095) and Buick Interior Protection Package ($200).

Driving the Wagon

We attended a Buick-sponsored drive program in Arizona. Our test vehicle was a top-of-the-line Essence AWD trim level (base price $35,995; as tested $39,160). Starting from Phoenix International Airport, we drove to Sedona, Arizona on Interstate highways, spent the night in Sedona, then drove a long route through the Verde Valley on byways, country roads and gravel roads. At the end of the day, we returned to Phoenix's heavy weekday Interstate traffic, a total journey of over 300 miles in two days.

If you ever get a chance to visit Arizona in January -- take it. Temperatures were ideal, and the scenery was fantastic. The TourX was a great vehicle for the trip -- almost a throwback to the old family vacation. The ride in the TourX is smoother and quieter than any of the old wagons, thanks to active noise cancellation in the cabin and the smaller turbo engine under the hood. Though it lacks many of the latest sophisticated autonomous driving technologies as standard equipment, the TourX is still very pleasant on a long drive, and does a great job with well-groomed dirt roads. Don't get too aggressive with the all-wheel drive -- this is more of a soft-roader than off-roader -- and keep an eye out for sharp bumps, and you'll be pleased with TourX's ride and abilities. There's no spare tire onboard, just an inflation kit and fairly low-profile tires on the standard 18-in wheels, but drive smart and TourX will deliver.

Our Recommendations

It's tough to find a direct competitor with the 2018 Buick Regal TourX in terms of size, features and price -- you have to fiddle around a little. The Audi Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country are each a bit more expensive and bracket the size of the TourX. The Subaru Outback is a little less premium, and the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack much less so. If you're thinking about a TourX, you're probably comparing it to crossover vehicles, which makes sense.

If you're looking for a throwback wagon experience with a modern take, the new Buick Regal TourX is well worth your consideration.

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle's manufacturer.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Buick Regal TourX: First Drive Review - Autotrader