Sporty styling; nicely detailed interior; fuel-efficient eAssist model; value pricing for lots of standard features; performance-tuned GS model
Following its introduction in 2011 as an all-new model, the Buick Regal gets some notable changes for 2012. Among the biggest developments is a new eAssist model, which pairs a gasoline engine with a 15-hp battery-powered electric motor, helping to generate boosts of power when needed and increases mileage o 37 mpg on the highway. A sporty GS model also joins the lineup, with a turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec engine making 270 horsepower and paired with either a standard 6-speed manual or available 6-speed automatic. All 2012 models get a new 7-inch touchscreen with Buick IntelliLink standard.
Three trim levels are now available: Regal, Turbo and GS. The Regal comes in Base, Premium I, and Premium II levels, while the Turbo is available in Premium I, II, and III trims. These replace 2011's CXL and CXL Turbo levels.
GM offers the 2012 Buick Regal with three different engines: a 182-horsepower, 2.4L 4-cylinder on the base Regal, a 220-hp, 2.0L 4-cylinder on the sporty Turbo model and a 270-hp 2.0L on the performance-minded GS. The base models are hooked up to a 6-speed automatic transmission in this front-wheel-drive sedan, while the Turbo and GS models are available with either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual.
The turbocharged engine in the GS is intended to perform like a V6, producing low-rev torque that's comparable thanks to a quick-response twin-scroll turbocharger. Estimated fuel economy figures for the base engine are be 20 mpg city, 30 highway, while the turbo is almost as good at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
The new eAssist model is basically a light hybrid, with an electrical system intended to boost power rather than drive the car on its own, as a regular hybrid would do. In this case, the battery pack and electric motor are good for 15 horsepower and 79 lb-ft of torque on demand, and they push the Regal's already respectable mileage figures to 26 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. The energy isn't stored like in typical hybrids. Rather, it's constantly generated, thanks to regenerative braking, and used as needed. The system works quite well -- drivers who don't already know about the system won't even notice it working.
On the outside, the Regal has a curvy, aggressive and performance-oriented look, and that carries over to the inside, where the Regal includes firmly bolstered sport seats and has an instrument panel that flows uninterrupted through to the door panels. Ice-blue lighting and a thick-rim steering wheel set a sportier mood than that of Buicks of the recent past.
With an overall length of about 190 inches and a wheelbase of about 108 inches, the Regal is sized slightly smaller than today's larger mid-size sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord--it promises to be a bit more maneuverable than those--yet it's just large enough to promise real backseat space for adults. Trunk space is also respectable for this class, at more than 14 cubic feet.
Among the safety features included with all Regal models are electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and a full roster of airbags (rear-seat thorax bags will be available); the Regal's stiffer, more rigid body structure is a safety asset while helping with ride and handling. The Regal follows the same layout as the European-market Opel Insignia and its suspension (MacPherson struts in front, 4-link independent in back) was developed in Germany; it has been tuned for responsive handling while allowing a reasonably absorbent, though quite firm, ride. Hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering provides the right level of assist for high-performance driving, while 4-wheel disc brakes back it up with strong stopping power.
One of the breakthrough features available on the Regal GS is the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), which integrates the stability control system with electronically controlled dampers, to allow a soft, comfortable ride when cruising but tighten up the suspension within milliseconds when needed for emergency maneuvers. The system comes with three modes: Normal, Tour and Sport, with the latter sustaining the sharper setting.
Standard features on the Regal are generous, including a power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a Bluetooth hands-free system, XM satellite radio and the OnStar security and assistance system. Top options on the Regal will include a navigation system and a Harman Kardon sound system with hard-drive storage for up to 10 GB for music, along with a USB port. GS models will include a host of extra appearance and performance features, including larger 19-inch wheels packaged with the IDCS system.
The Regal is sized slightly smaller than mainstream mid-size sedans like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Nissan Altima but a little larger than mid-size performance/luxury sedans like the Acura TSX or Volvo S60. At a price that's well below those premium brand sedans, GM is pitching the Buick--especially the performance-oriented GS--as a sporty alternative. That said, with a very full range of standard convenience and safety features, plus a fashionable look, the Regal is safe and sporty, yet still comfortable, alternative for families who see the mainstream offerings as a little too boring.
Vehicle Price: 27,940.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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