2011 Buick Regal CXL Review - VIDEO ENHANCED


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THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

Model: 2011 Buick Regal CXL
Engine: 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 182 hp @ 6,700 rpm/172 lb.-ft.@ 4,900 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic (made in China)
Wheelbase: 107.8 in.
Length/Width/Height: 190.2 x 73.1 x 58.4 in.
Tires: P235/50R18
Cargo volume: 14.25 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway/26.9 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Curb weight: 3,600 lbs.
Sticker: $31,780 (includes $750 destination charge and $4,785 in options)

The Bottom Line: The return of the Buick Regal may not be exactly what everyone was hoping for. With a transmission made in China mated to an American engine and assembled in Germany, this isn't quite the All-American Buick everyone remembers. However, it's still a decent compact car with good road manners and halfway decent performance for a small 4-cylinder engine.

I was anxious to try the new Buick Regal for a couple of reasons. First, my wife drives a 2001 Buick Park Avenue. While they're not quite in the same weight class, I wanted to see if the Buick name had lost (or gained) any luster.

Second, One of my wife's favorite cars was an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, with was a platform mate of the Buick Century. Yeah, I know the Century and Regal were different cars, but they were close enough to compare, like Macintosh apples and Rome apples.

Well, the new Regal is smallish, but it's ideal for a small family, or grandparents with charges. While the Monronie label that came with the car didn't identify it as such, I'll bet it qualifies in the compact class. Sure, it's advertised as a 5-passenger, but that center passenger in the back better be pretty slim.

Even though the Regal is on the small side, it is still a nice Interstate cruiser. The base 2.4-liter inline four is rated at 182 horsepower, and while it's not a lot, it's certainly enough to keep the Regal out of trouble. A 220 hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four is also available.

Our tester had a 6-speed automatic transmission that I discovered to my dismay is built in China. Buick must have ordered it through Wal-Mart.

The Regal is relatively quiet riding. The engine is not four-like in that it has the oomph to get it up and moving at a good pace without a lot of noise. Cruising noise is almost absent, making for a quiet-riding car.

Ride quality is very good on Interstates and back roads. I was also impressed with how well it handled on winding roads. This isn't a sports car and handling is sedan-like. It isn't exceptional, but it's what you might expect from a Buick.

Instruments consist of the standard speedometer, tachometer, fuel and water gauges. Between the speedo and tach is an information panel with a series of eight screens - 1 - Trip 1, 2- Trip 2; 3- Fuel range, 4- Overall economy, 5 - Average speed, 6 - Timer, - 7- Digital speedometer, 8 - Navigation. We kept it on 7 most of the time for an easier-to-read speedometer than the analog.

That analog speedo, as well as the tach, had some interesting markings. Along with the major tick marks at every 10 mpg (or 1,000 rpm) there are little tick marks surrounding the major ones. I don't know why they are there, but they're interesting.

The front seats are comfortable with decent side support. The rears also have good side support, even if legroom is tight, almost coupe-like if you push the front seats back too far. Headroom in the rear is good. There's a fold-down armrest between the rear seats that reveals a trunk pass-through.

On the center console is a multi-function selector knob to choose among the navigation system, audio, phone and destination. Use of this knob is not very intuitive.

I liked the audio/navigation screen. It has detailed iPod and XM readouts.

The Regal attracted a lot of admiring glances on the road and in parking lots. I confess that you have to be of a certain age to appreciate Buicks, but the Regal may be a crossover type of vehicle that may attract people who haven't yet attained that certain age.

Click PLAY to watch video of the 2012 Buick Regal GS

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate

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