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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo review

European style with a North American name

By: Paul Ferriss / 11.10.2011 / Comments | Print | Email

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo

Base suggested retail price: $34,990
Price as tested: $39,645
Competitors: Acura TSX, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Dashboard

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Dashboard

If you're under 40, Buick is probably not a brand you're considering if you're in the market for a new car. When you hear the word Buick, you'll likely automatically think of a land barge with bench seats and a pillowy ride, driven by someone wearing a fedora. General Motors is out to change that stereotype with the new Regal. And in terms of exterior design, it has succeeded. When this car was parked on my street, it attracted more than its share of second looks. On the outside and inside, the Regal is sporty and stylish with a European flair (partly because it's based on the Opel Insignia). So, if you're having a hard time thinking anything named Buick is worth a second look, forget the dull Lucerne, the LaCrosse and the Enclave SUV and take a look at the Buick Regal from the 1970s-an era when Buick stood for equal parts style and attitude. That's the era GM would like to recall with the new Regal.

 
The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Interior

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Interior

Driving impressions:
The review model I drove was fitted with 19-inch wheels (18-inch wheels are standard) which give the Regal an athletic look; the 10-spoke rims make it look like it's about to rear back on its haunches and launch itself into traffic. People who like driving will enjoy this car. The 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine Regal Turbo accelerates smoothly and quietly, but not especially quickly. Steering is quick and direct. It feels substantial but not huge, and its maneuverability makes it easy to park. The well-supported front seats allow the driver to easily reach most controls, but the steering-wheel mounted controls for the sound system volume and heated seats are too small to operate easily, and will be nearly impossible when you're wearing gloves during the cold winter months. The back seats are a bit cramped and the tapered rear end makes the trunk a bit narrow. My review model was metallic grey with black leather interior and glossy "piano black" trim throughout, which looks great but would be nearly impossible to keep clear of smudges and fingerprints. Still, for all that, the Regal doesn't feel very upscale for a car that has luxury aspirations, and, once some bells and whistles are added, a near-luxury price tag.

 
The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Manual Transmission

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Manual Transmission

Safety and mechanical specs:
The Regal CXL Turbo is a front-wheel driver with a six-speed automatic transmission and runs on premium fuel. The Transport Canada fuel consumption ratings are 11.5 L/100 km (city) and 7.0 L/100 km on the highway. It has ABS, traction control and stability control. Curb weight is 1,655 kg. Optional equipment on review model (part of the "preferred equipment group," which is $4,455 extra) includes rear park assist, xenon headlamps and a power sunroof.

Conclusion: A stylish car that is fun to drive, but is really more of an economy car with a near-luxury price.

 

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