A great Opel gets AWD
The Regal Turbo might actually work wonders in reducing the average age of the Buick buyer.
No matter how many generations the Buick Regal has gone through, I still find myself associating it with the gem it was back in its second generation. More specifically, it was the Grand National trim level that I was so enamoured with. I had a love for these big General Motors cars that stemmed from extensive exposure to the F-Body cars my family owned in my childhood. GM had me from the start, and when the Grand National surfaced, I fell in love. With its extensive facelifts and redesigns over the years, I looked forward to testing the 2014 Buick Regal Turbo, as it really might be the best one yet.
My Turbo AWD tester is not to be confused with the sporty GS trim level. The one issue we had with the front-wheel-drive Regal GS we drove last year was the torque steer. It was a great car on every level, with its 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic, but there was just too much power going to the front wheels for the car to feel balanced in a straight line. The Turbo AWD has a slightly detuned version of the same 2.0L turbo-four – it puts out 259 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Due to its all-wheel-drive, I personally think it feels better than the GS. It’s truly an all-season car.
I had the Regal in the massive blizzard that hit Toronto over the second week of December. It initially frightened me, because the tester was equipped with all-season tires. My colleagues were driving a Forester XT and a Toyota 4Runner, so it seemed as though they were a bit better off. Even though the weather meant it was probably advisable to stay home, we decided to evaluate the cars’ performance in a true Canadian winter setting. The 2014 Regal impressed me. Despite its disadvantage in tires, the car behaved beautifully. It was just as easy to drive and manoeuvre around disabled vehicles as it was to put sideways on a closed course. This thing just wanted to be pushed more.
Buick has adopted the Regal from its European sister company, Opel. Overseas, it’s sold as the Opel Insignia – this explains its sexy styling aimed for the European market. Its driving dynamics are also very European. With the introduction of vehicles such as this Regal, the Encore, and the Verano, it’s obvious that Buick is trying to reduce the average age of their buyer. It just might work too, because this thing is gorgeous. Mine was painted in a sleek metallic red with a jet black interior, and it definitely gets attention.
This Turbo came with all the gizmos and gadgets; ranging from Buick’s corporate IntelliLink infotainment system, reverse camera, heated seats, remote start, and of course, a sunroof. The car has gotten a facelift for 2014, and new additions include the neat LEDs in the headlights. The IntelliLink system is decent enough to use, and standard issue for GM products. I wish more manufacturers decided to implement remote start across their lineup like GM. It’s something that’s so simple and relatively cheap to include, at least as an option for the Canadian market.
I used the 2014 Regal Turbo AWD on a small road trip with one passenger. I did about 600km round-trip up north to our beautiful Muskoka region, and I hit a few patches of snowy weather when I was up there. The chassis when flung around some hilly bends behaved so well I was astounded. This car is a dream to drive. On my drive to and from Muskoka, I was careful and used the throttle sparingly – my goal was to see how efficient the car can be if I drove it lightly. Strictly using premium fuel, the Regal returned 8.5L/100km highway only. My combined mileage over the course of the test week was 10L/100km. It’s not particularly bad, but I expected numbers in the 7L/100km range for my Muskoka drive.
Another important thing I noted during my drive was that the seats aren’t as comfortable as I would expect from a Buick. They’re a bit hard and the cushion is a bit shorter length-wise than I’d like – it’s more like they’re for sitting on rather than sitting in. They’re decent enough for short stints, but on a longer haul in a Buick product I would expect large cushy seats. I suppose it’s acceptable though, because it’s not really a Buick.
The Regal Turbo might actually work wonders in reducing the average age of the Buick buyer. It’s a great, upscale competitor to the likes of the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, and even the Ford Fusion. Fleet buyers will likely opt against the turbocharged model, leaving it for the rest of us. This car is very, very surprising.
2014 Buick Regal Turbo Gallery