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2019 Buick Regal Sportback Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2019

The 2019 Buick Regal Sportback bridges the gap between the top trim levels of midsize sedans like the Honda Accord and the Mazda6, and entry-level luxury sedans like the Audi A4 or the Volvo S60. Admittedly, it's a little closer to the former group, as its subpar interior ultimately lets it down, but with its distinctive "Sportback" hatchback body style, the Regal stands out with versatility and style that neither group offers. For that, it's a worthwhile alternative to consider.

It certainly has a worthwhile engine under its hood, as its turbocharged 4-cylinder is comparable to the engine upgrades of those midsize sedans and the base engines of most luxury models. Its ride and handling are also impressive, especially in the range-topping GS trim level that we review separately. Quite simply, the Regal is surprisingly responsive and pleasurable to drive.

Unfortunately, besides the low-rent interior, Buick's trim level structure and feature content make for question value. We're not sure if you wouldn't be better off with one of those top trim level midsize sedans, but if you're looking for something more stylish and versatile, the Regal Sportback is definitely worth a look.

What's New for 2019?

The Regal gains a range-topping Avenir trim level for 2019.  See the 2019 Buick Regal Sportback models for sale near you

What We Like

Versatile and stylish hatchback body style; sharp handling; available all-wheel drive; quiet interior

What We Don't

Nickel-and-dime trim level structure; accident avoidance tech only available on top trim levels; disappointing interior quality for the price

How Much?

$25,070-$39,070

Fuel Economy

The Regal comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with standard front-wheel drive and 9-speed automatic transmission. The optional AWD and 8-speed automatic combo bumps torque up considerably to 295 lb-ft.

Fuel economy with FWD is estimated to be 22 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. This lowers to 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with AWD.

The Regal GS, which we cover more completely in a separate review, has a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. It has standard AWD and a 9-speed automatic. It returns 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Buick Regal Sportback is available in base (1SV), Preferred, Preferred II, Essence and Avenir trim levels. There's also the performance-oriented Regal GS and Regal TourX wagon that we review separately.

Standard equipment on the base Regal ($25,070) is a bit sparse with 17-in alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, proximity entry and push-button start, a backup camera, a manual height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, OnStar emergency communications, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, one USB port, a 7-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 7-speaker sound system. Color choice is restricted to white, with silver and black as extra-cost choices. There are no options.

The Preferred carries a significant price jump ($27,670), but only adds an 8-way power driver seat, a manual height-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. You at least get access to options, including several more extra-cost paint choices. The Driver Confidence I package adds 18-in wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, and blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems. The Sights and Sounds package adds an 8-in touchscreen, integrated navigation, two rear USB ports, HD radio and an 8-speaker Bose sound system.

The Preferred II ($29,770) adds the 18-in wheels and an 8-in touchscreen, plus dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel and a 40/20/40-split folding back seat. The Driver Confidence I, and Sights and Sounds Package are also available on this trim.

The Essence ($31,770) adds heated front seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat and leather upholstery. Sights and Sounds is optional, as is Driver Confidence I, but on the Essence, it further includes driver memory settings and an auto-dimming driver-side mirror. With Driver Confidence I, the Essence is also eligible for wireless smartphone charging and the Driver Confidence II package, which adds forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Avenir ($35,270) has upgraded exterior trim and special diamond-quilted leather upholstery. It includes the Driver Confidence I and Sights and Sounds package, while further adding 19-in wheels, adaptive headlights and wireless smartphone charging. Like the base and Preferred trims, it is only available with FWD. Driver Confidence II is still optional.

Finally, there's the Regal GS ($39,070) that's equipped similar to the Avenir, but with a torque-vectoring AWD system, an adaptive sport-tuned suspension, an electronic locking rear differential, Brembo sport brakes, sportier styling than the base Regal and heated/ventilated front sport seats with adjustable bolster and massage functionality.

Safety

The Regal comes standard with front, front-side, side-curtain and front-knee airbags, along with anti-lock brakes, stability control and AWD. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems are optional on the Preferred and Essence trim, and standard on Avenir and GS. Only the Essence, Avenir and GS are eligible to add forward-collision warning with emergency automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and steering assist, along with automatic high beams. These items are often standard on similarly priced sedans, or at least optional on lower trim levels.

Behind the Wheel

Like every Buick, the 2019 Regal Sportback is impressively quiet. Ample sound deadening and an available noise cancellation system see to that. Ride quality is also quite good, but don't expect LaCrosse cushiness here -- this still has relatively low-profile tires and a suspension tuned to provide sharp handling. And indeed it does, granting the driver plenty of confidence around corners and in emergency situations. The steering is pleasingly responsive and consistently weighted. Things get surprisingly spicy in the Regal GS, but we'll leave that to its own full review.

Power is ample from the standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which is comparable to upgrade engines in midsize sedans (Honda Accord, Mazda 6, as well as entry-level luxury cars (Audi A4). Throttle response is a bit sluggish and the FWD car's 9-speed transmission can be a wee bit slow to respond at times, but in total, the powertrain is a plus.

The same cannot be said of the Regal's interior, which is its worst attribute. Never mind entry-level luxury sedans, which the Regal strives to compete against, but the quality of its materials and general construction trail that of midsize sedans like the Honda Accord, the Mazda 6 and the Toyota Camry. Their top trim levels do a much more convincing impression of a luxury car than even the new Regal Avenir.

At least interior space is excellent, as the standard "Sportback" body style provides far more versatility than you'd get with a typical sedan. In fact, with 61 cu ft. of maximum space, it can carry as much or more than many compact SUVs.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Kia Stinger -- The Stinger has a similar hatchback body style as the Regal, along with similar luxury aspirations and surprisingly sharp handling. Kia managed a more convincing luxury interior, though.

2019 Mazda6 -- In its Grand Touring and Signature trim levels, the Mazda 6 provides a more powerful engine, sharper handling and far nicer interior than the Regal Sportback for less money. It's not available with AWD, though, and is a standard sedan.

2019 Acura TLX -- Easy on the eyes and a more-than-competent cruiser, the Acura TLX offers lots of advanced technology and a strong V6.

Used BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe -- The Gran Coupe has the same 4-door hatchback body style as the Regal, but is a much higher-quality automobile. It's also much more expensive, so a used or certified pre-owned version is worth considering.

Autotrader's Advice

Buick really nickel and dimes you with the Regal's lower trim levels, and you even have to pay extra for accident avoidance tech on the upper trims. As such, we think the Regal's best value is found in the Essence with the Driver Confidence II package. It's comparably priced and equipped as upper trim level midsize sedans, but with sharper style and a more versatile body style. The new Avenir trim doesn't provide enough luxury equipment or ambiance to warrant its price premium. Find a Buick Regal Sportback for sale

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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.
2019 Buick Regal Sportback Review - Autotrader