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May 29, 2011

2

2012 Buick Regal Turbo Review

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When you hear the term “Sports sedan”, Buick is the last car manufacturer that would come to mind.  Buick is known for making large, comfy vehicles that are typically driven by an older crowd.  The typical purchaser of a Buick had safety, size, and practicality in mind, not speed, performance and aesthetics.  Years ago, that was true.  Buick has revamped their line up to offer vehicles which they hope will cater to a younger target market. The first of which is the new 2012 Buick Regal Turbo.

The Regal Turbo is Buick’s entry into the “sports sedan” segment. It lines up against the Nissan Altima, Mazda6, the Honda Accord, and the Toyota Camry. The turbo is a higher end version of the regular 4 cylinder Regal. I drove a 1996 Regal for several years, and it was big, comfortable and the suspension made it feel like you were floating on a cloud. It was the antithesis of a sports sedan. The new Buick Regal is based on the European Opel Insignia. An excellent foundation for the Regal as the Insignia was the 2009 European Car of the year winner. The new Regal is manufactured in GM’s plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

Engine & Options
The Regal Turbo comes with a turbocharged, 2 litre four cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower. The Turbo starts at $34,990. The review model had several extra options including a sunroof, airbags throughout, an upgraded sound and speaker system, and rear parking assist. The Regal also surprised me with some really sporty options, including xenon head lamps and custom driver selectable suspension settings which were a blast to play with. The only downfall is that with all of the options on our tester, the price tag grew to $39,645. Nobody said the Regal was cheap, but you get a lot of car for the money.

The car comes with a six speed automatic transmission, although your can actually opt for a six gear manual manual transmission. An absolute rarety in a Buick! The Turbo provides substantial power, but for the price tag the power doesn’t compare to the competition. The other 6 cylinders in the Sports Sedan segment offer much more power at a lower price.

Overall, the Regal Turbo is a sweet ride and is a lot of fun to drive. The handling is tight, as the suspension is a lot firmer than you would ever expect in a Buick. The engine and transmission are smooth and provide more than enough acceleration. The car has a rather loud and throaty exhaust and overall it has a very sporty feel.

Exterior & Interior
The exterior of the car is classy yet sporty.  The rims are conservatively styled, but the big 19s look mean and suit the car’s sharp styling.   The interior features ice blue instrument lighting and chrome accents throughout.  It was light years ahead of the old Regal’s fake wood dash.  Standard features include climate control, power, heated leather seats, an auto dimming rear view mirror, satellite radio, and a USB port for your iPod.

It remains to be seen how the Regal is going to compete against the likes of the A4, 3 Series BMW, or the Mercedes Benz C Class.  For drivers looking for a luxurious sporty sedan, the Regal Turbo is a fantastic option.  It offers great style, options, road feel and handling.  Young people  on the market for a sports sedan finally have to consider Buick as a real option.

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