If you recall, Buick recently adopted the Domino’s Pizza approach to marketing. “HEY! We used to suck, but now we don’t! Please try us again!” There are commercials with people looking around for their friend’s new Buick. When they finally realize this brand-spanking-new, pimped out vehicle is the Buick Regal, their heads spin.
Has the reaction to someone owning a Buick always been so allergic? Personally, I have fond memories of my brother’s Skylark and the low riding, heavy feel of the old boat—even though a lot of those memories involve the car smoking on the side of the road when hills got too steep. Okay, so maybe a change of pace for the badge was warranted. And side note: Domino’s is pretty dope as of late.
A Buick Regal Overhaul
In the midst of this rebirth is the all-new 2018 Buick Regal GS. The Regal certainly passes the eye test, so that part of the new campaign is no stunt. It’s sleek, sporty, and just the right balance of practical and sexy. With what Buick calls a “race-inspired design,” it has an elongated, sloped nose and imposing stance featuring 19” aluminum wheels with a glossy finish and P245/40R19 all-season, blackwall tires. So, it certainly has a better chance to blend in with the street scene than the cars of Buick-past.
But it’s not all bells and whistles. It’s got chops for more rugged terrain too, as the Regal GS is all-wheel drive pushed by a 3.6-liter V-6. It’s one thing to talk a big game and another to back it up. Another box checked.
If there is one area where Buick has made strong efforts over the years, it’s the interior. And the 2018 Buick Regal is no different in that regard. For some, the black pleather/cloth blend seats may feel like a bit much. But if you’re going for a rebrand, you’ve got to take those sort of leaps. If you’re not into the racing-style seats, they are at least heated and ventilated, with massage capabilities that come standard.
The GS badge has been a journeyman in its past, finding temporary homes on the Opel Insignia (the first attempt at the Regal revival) and the Frankenstein GSX. But instead of the unnecessary turbo and flair, the GS locked in on its mature qualities with the rejuvenated Regal GS Sportback trim, packing in significantly more cargo space. There is 32 cubic feet of space for loading whatever your heart desires, and 61 cubic feet with the seat down. So, whether you’re moving out or forging an impromptu bed, the Regal has your back. This ain’t your Pappy’s Oldsmobile, people.
What’s underneath is what counts the most. That 3.6-liter V6 engine very well may be the centerpiece of this venture. With this rig, the Regal GS has 310-horsepower and generates 282 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode as well. With these specs packing a little more punch, the fuel economy takes a bit of a hit (19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway), which dips from the 2017 model by 2 mpg in both categories. But with its other new values, that’s of little concern.
Running with the Big Dogs
All things considered, the 2018 Buick Regal GS competes very well with its contemporaries. Its tag is just under $40K, situating it $3,580 cheaper than the Audi A5 Sportback and $6,300 below the all-wheel-drive BMW 430i xDrive Gran Coupe. Instinctively, one hears those names and automatically assumes the Regal GS doesn’t quite handle as luxuriously, and that very well may be true. But again, with the sort of slash-and-burn approach Buick is taking, patience is everything. And the fact that their reboot has already entered the luxury ring and goes the distance, says a lot. It is a vehicle worth driving.