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2020 Buick Regal Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2019

It's getting pretty rare for one car to be offered in multiple body styles. Such cars can still be found in the luxury car world, but it's become pretty uncommon among American brands. One exception is the 2020 Buick Regal, which can be had as a Sportback sedan or as a wagon in the form of the Buick Regal TourX. There's also a sporty, high-performance variant of the Sportback model called the Regal GS, which is an often-overlooked bargain in premium sport sedans. Whatever flavor of the Regal you choose, there's a lot to like in this midsize car.

As for its credentials as a premium car, the Regal is generally nicer than a similar car from a volume brand like Chevrolet, but it's not quite as luxurious as a midsize car from a true luxury brand such as Audi or BMW. The Regal is priced accordingly between those two worlds, so you could look at it as either a nicer volume car or as a budget-friendly luxury car.

If you're looking for style, versatility and good bang for your buck, then the Regal Sportback or the Regal TourX wagon is worth a look.

What's New for 2020?

Dual-zone automatic climate control is now standard on every Regal trim. The Preferred II trim has been dropped for 2020, which simplifies the lineup a bit.  See the 2020 Buick Regal models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Generous cargo space, especially in the TourX
  • Powerful engine
  • Comfortable ride
  • Taut handling
  • Standard all-wheel drive on TourX
  • Quiet interior

What We Don't

  • Ho-hum interior quality for the price
  • Nickel-and-dime trim level structure

How Much?

$25,370-$39,070

Fuel Economy

Other than the GS, every Regal comes with a single powertrain. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which is pretty strong for this class. AWD is optional on the Sportback and standard on the TourX and the GS. Its fuel economy is on par with its rivals, with a rating of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway for front-wheel drive Regal models. Upgrade any base-engine Regal to AWD and fuel economy takes a slight hit to 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.

Upgrading to the Regal GS gets you a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. Like the TourX, the Regal GS has standard AWD, and its fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy.

Despite being less efficient, the Regal GS actually has a lower annual fuel cost than a Regal with the base engine, according to the EPA. This is because the turbocharged base engine requires premium fuel, while the V6 in the GS can run on regular gas.

Standard Features & Options

Both body styles of the 2020 Buick Regal are available in base, Preferred and Essence trim levels. Two trims exclusive to the Sportback that you can't get on the TourX are the luxurious Avenir and the high-performance GS trims. AWD is standard on every TourX and GS model, and it's a $2,100 option on the Essence trim of the Regal Sportback.

Standard equipment on the base Regal ($25,370 Sportback, $29,370 TourX) is a bit sparse, with 17-in alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, proximity entry and push-button start, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a manual height-adjustable driver's 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. The default color is white, with silver and black as extra-cost choices. There are no other options.

The Preferred carries a significant price jump ($27,970 Sportback, $32,970 TourX) 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 ($1,245 Sportback, $1,240 TourX) adds 18-in wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems. The Sights and Sounds package ($1,720 Sportback, $1,870 TourX) adds an 8-in touchscreen, integrated navigation, two rear USB ports, HD radio and an 8-speaker Bose sound system.

The Essence ($31,770 Sportback, $35,070 TourX) adds heated front seats, a power adjustable passenger seat and leather upholstery. The Sights and Sounds package is optional ($945 Sportback, $1,095 TourX), as is the Driver Confidence I package ($1,725), but on the Essence, it includes driver memory settings and an auto-dimming driver's-side mirror. With Driver Confidence I, the Essence is also eligible for wireless smartphone charging and the Driver Confidence II package ($1,090 Sportback, $1,190 TourX), which adds forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Avenir ($35,770) has an upgraded exterior trim and special diamond-quilted leather upholstery. It includes the Driver Confidence I and Sights and Sounds packages and adds 19-in wheels, adaptive headlights and wireless smartphone charging. Like the base and Preferred trims, it is only available with FWD. The Driver Confidence II package ($1,090) is still optional.

Finally, there's the Regal GS ($39,070), which is equipped similarly 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 and ventilated front sport seats with adjustable bolster and massage functionality.

A power moonroof ($1,000) can be added to every Sportback trim except the base model. On the TourX, a panoramic power moonroof ($1,200) is available on the Preferred and Essence trims.

Safety

The Regal comes standard with front, front-side, side-curtain and front-knee airbags, along with anti-lock brakes and stability control. AWD is standard on TourX and GS models and optional on the Regal Sportback Essence. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems are optional on the Preferred and the Essence, but only the Essence and the Avenir can add forward-collision warning with emergency automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, steering assist and automatic high beams.

The Regal has not yet been crash-tested by a third party.

Behind the Wheel

Like every Buick, the 2020 Regal is impressively quiet. Ample sound deadening and an available noise cancellation system see to that. The ride quality is also quite good, but don't expect LaCrosse cushiness here -- the Regal 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 (such as the Honda Accord and the Mazda6) as well as entry-level luxury cars like the Audi A4. The 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 -- the quality of its materials and general construction trail that of midsize sedans such as the Accord, the Mazda6 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 the interior space is excellent, as the standard Sportback body style provides far more versatility than you'd get in a typical sedan. In fact, with a maximum 61 cu ft. of cargo space, the Regal can carry as much as or more than many compact SUVs can. The Regal TourX wagon has a whopping 73.5 cu ft. of maximum cargo space.

If you're looking for real SUV-like capability from the rugged-looking Regal TourX, though, it's best to look elsewhere. Its ground clearance is barely more than the regular Regal and far less than its raised wagon rivals -- especially the Subaru Outback. On the other hand, its smart AWD system can move power left to right as well as the typical front and rear -- this allows you to get going in slippery conditions even if only one wheel has traction. It's also a benefit to handling in dry conditions.

As for the sporty Regal GS, consider for a moment that an Audi A5 Sportback starts at about $3,000 higher than the Regal GS yet comes with less equipment and is down nearly 60 hp. That means you're getting some serious performance value with the Regal GS, and that's not even mentioning the adaptive suspension that constantly varies itself to match the road ahead (and provides regular and sport settings) or the Brembo brakes, which have serious stopping power. You also get a smart torque-vectoring AWD system that proportions power side-to-side as well as front-to-back -- something Audi's vaunted Quattro AWD doesn't do in the A5. That contributes to what is a sport sedan with shockingly adept handling. We had far more fun behind the wheel of the Regal GS than we ever expected and found it more gratifying to drive than the A5 and any number of other entry-level luxury sedans with sporting intentions, such as the Acura TLX and the Infiniti Q50.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 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.

2020 Subaru Outback -- The all-new 2020 Outback matches the Regal TourX's interior space on paper, but it provides far more ground clearance and a versatile roof-rail system. Its base engine is more efficient than the Regal's, though the Regal's has more power. Interior quality is comparable despite the Subaru not being as stylish.

2020 Volvo S60, V60 and V60 Cross Country -- Like the Regal, the S60 is a premium sedan with an available wagon variant in the V60 and the more rugged V60 Cross Country. The Volvo is more luxurious than the Buick and it's more expensive than the Regal, but you also get a higher-quality vehicle.

Used Cadillac CTS -- The third and final generation of the Cadillac CTS ran from the 2014 model year to the 2019 model year, and early examples have become an excellent bargain on the used market. If you like the idea of a midsize luxury car from an American brand, a used CTS is worth a test drive.

Autotrader's Advice

The base models of the Regal are attractively priced but are too light on features. For anyone looking for a premium car at an affordable price point by luxury car standards, the Essence trim of either the Sportback or TourX is a strong value. For a little more luxury, consider the unique Avenir model. If you want a sporty, practical car, the Regal GS is an often-overlooked bargain in premium sport sedans. Find a Buick Regal for sale

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.
2020 Buick Regal Review - Autotrader
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