2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo

Sunday, February 27, 2011; 9:11 AM

Bottom line: The new Buick Regal deserves a prominent spot on the shopping list of anyone looking for an attractive, well-designed, reliable family sedan at an affordable price (under $30,000).

Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets excellent marks in all three.

Body style/layout: The new Regal is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive, compact family sedan with four side doors and a traditional notchback trunk. The Regal, based on GM's European Opel Insignia, is offered in the United States in two trim levels: the base CXL and top-level CXL Turbo.

Head-turning quotient: Sexy, yet stately on the outside. It has an attractive, ergonomically well-designed interior.

Engine/transmissions: It comes with a standard 2-liter, 16-valve, direct-injection in-line four-cylinder engine (220 horsepower, 258 foot-pounds of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is optional on the CXL Turbo.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity is 14.2 cubic feet. Fuel tank is 18 gallons. Premium E85 gasoline is recommended. But we ran just fine on 87-octane and 89-octane E85.

Mileage: We averaged 27 miles per gallon in mostly highway travel.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, emergency braking assistance, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, OnStar emergency communications system, and side and head air bags.

Price: The base price of the 2011 Buick Regal CXT Turbo is $28,745. Dealer's invoice price on that model is $27,595. Price as tested is $29,495, including $4,440 in options (Regal T04 package: onboard navigation with backup camera, power-tilt glass roof, rear-seat side thorax air bags, 40GB hard-drive device with 10 gigabytes for music storage, Harmon-Kardon premium sound system, high-intensity discharge headlamps) and a $750 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $28,345. At this writing, consumer rebates were available.

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