2012 Buick Regal

September 2, 2011

Bottom line: It’s hard to go wrong with the Regal GS or the Regal Turbo. The entire Regal line is well crafted, well styled and comfortable to drive. Compare with Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat and Hyundai Sonata.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Both the Regal GS
and the Regal Turbo get excellent marks in all three.

Head-turning quotients: I much prefer the more aggressive front-end styling of the Regal GS. The Regal Turbo’s styling is stately and nice in the way of most things Middle America. But I prefer the naughty pull of the GS.

Body style/layout: The 2012 Buick Regal is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive midsize family sedan largely derived from Germany’s Opel Insignia sedan. Seven iterations of the Regal are on sale in the United States: Base, Premium I and II (with standard in-line 2.4-liter gasoline-direct-injection engines), Premium 1 Turbo, Premium 2 Turbo and Premium 3 Turbo, and GS.

Engines/transmissions: There are three engines — a 2.4-liter, 16-valve, gasoline-direct-injection, in-line four-cylinder model (182 horsepower, 172 foot-pounds of torque); a turbocharged, 16-valve, gasoline-direct-injection engine (220 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque); and a GS variant of that turbocharged engine (270 horsepower, 290 foot-pounds of torque). All three engines are engineered with electronically controlled variable valve lift and timing to help improve fuel economy. The non-turbo engines use a standard six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability. The Premium Turbo versions are available with six-speed manual transmissions. The Regal GS gets a standard six-speed manual.

Capacities: In all models, there are seats for five people. Trunk capacity is 14.2 cubic feet. The fuel tanks hold 18 gallons of gasoline (premium is recommended for the higher-compression turbocharged models; regular is fine for the normally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines).

Mileage: Decent, but nothing exciting. The Regal Turbo, for example, delivers a real-world 17 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags, a post-collision safety system, and the OnStar emergency telecommunications system with stolen-vehicle tracking.

Prices: The Premium 3 Turbo has a base price of $32,535. Dealer’s invoice on that model is $31,234. The GS has a base sticker of $34,450 and an invoice of $33,072. Both cars get an additional $860 destination charge. Both have options aplenty. At this writing, consumer rebates are available on the non-GS Regal models.

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