Consider the 2018 Buick Regal a reboot. Gone is last year’s conventional sedan, replaced with a Euro-style four-door hatchback with clean lines and a wagon with extra ground clearance and the Subaru Outback directly in its sights. It’s a two-prong effort with global roots: the Regal Sportback is basically the European-market Opel Insignia and the Regal TourX is a station wagon with fender flares, standard all-wheel drive, and more ground clearance. The sportier Regal GS is based on the Sportback. All models share the same general styling, interior, and underpinnings, but they’ll shoot for different buyers.
Thus far we’ve only driven the Regal Sportback with its 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4. It’s a spacious car with crossover levels of utility and the pleasant road manners of a very competent mid-size car. We rate it a 7.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Regal’s turbo-4 puts out 260 pound-feet of torque with the front-wheel drive that’s standard on the Sportback, but all-wheel-drive versions get 295 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive Regal Sportbacks use a 9-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive versions shift power to the wheels via an 8-speed automatic. The TourX comes standard with AWD and an 8-speed; the Regal GS gets standard AWD and a 9-speed. We promise there won’t be a quiz later.
That all-wheel-drive system features a twin-clutch rear differential to rapidly transfer power to the wheel with the most grip.
The Regal GS features a 3.6-liter V-6 making 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. It has all-wheel drive, as well as adjustable shocks, a five-link rear suspension, sport seats, and more aggressive body work.
Stretching 192.9 inches, the Regal Sportback is about two inches longer than the outgoing sedan.
The Sportback looks mostly like a fastback sedan, but its rear hides a massive tailgate that opens to reveal a hefty 31.5 cubic feet of space with the second row upright. Fold those seats and maximum capacity swells to a crossover-rivaling 60.7 cubes.
The TourX sits only about an inch higher off the ground. It is, however, 3.4 inches longer overall, bringing it to 196.3 inches from bumper-to-bumper. That’s hefty—7 inches longer than an Outback and stretched more than a foot longer than a Volvo V60 Cross Country, the two models Buick says it’s targeting. It also has a five-link rear suspension, while standard Sportbacks have a four-link.
Predictably, the TourX is roomy inside, offering 73.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume with the second-row seats folded forward. That’s a figure that exceeds both of its rivals.
All models are five-seaters with an interior that aims to be high-end but winds up more in the mainstream.
The Sportback is offered in 1SV, Preferred I, Preferred II, and Essence trim levels, plus the sportier GS. Pricing drops by $2,000 from last year to around $26,000 to start for the Sportback, while the line-topping GS starts around $40,000. The TourX offers 1SV, Preferred, and Essence models, with pricing starting around $30,000. A 7.0-inch infotainment system is standard, as is active noise cancellation, while an 8.0-inch screen with with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and navigation, is optional. Bose audio is on the options list as well.
All models include a pedestrian safety system pops the rear of the hood upward if it detects a human making contact with the front of the vehicle. It’s a byproduct of European safety standards, but one that may be welcome in an increasingly urbanized America.
An option package adds blind-spot monitors, rear park assist, and rear cross-traffic alerts. A separate option package adds even more—automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. It is only available on the high-end models.
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