Buick’s midsize sedan benefits from a variety of mechanical, style and tech updates for 2014. The base Regal Turbo is now just as powerful as the GS and can be equipped with AWD for the first time.
It also marks the first time a base model Buick sedan can reach 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.
The base Turbo and eAssist receive the most noticeable exterior update via new front and rear styling details, but the refinements are still very subtle. All Regals now have new LED running lights up front, a reshaped fascia and new LED taillights out back.
One surprise about the Regal is that it is not very cheap. There are no stripped-out versions and the prices start at $29,000 for this European-designed sports sedan. The Regal competes with other near-luxury sedans, like the Acura TSX and Lincoln MKZ .
This is no Buick LeSabre when it comes to styling but even more so in terms of handling and performance. The old ‘Dynaride’ days live on with the smaller Verano and larger Buick LaCrosse. The Regal takes a far sportier path with firm seating and a well-balanced ride/handling compromise closer to the Cadillac ATS than any previous Buick .
Can the strongest and most-competitive Buick Regal in decades compete successfully versus all these competitors? Is the compact, but premium, cabin a problem versus some jumbo midsize cars, like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord ?
Updated 11/14/2013: GM has just announced that the Buick Regal will come standard with the once-optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It also turns in even more power than before and better fuel economy.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Buick Regal Turbo and eAssist sedans with highlights on the updates ahead of the car’s arrival in dealers this fall.
The exterior styling changes for the Buick Regal are led by new LED driving lights up front. LEDs were previously only available on the Regal GS , but all Regals get a new design for 2014. The LEDs are now brighter and closer to the projector ball in the headlights. They are also a new, sharper-angled shape than the older Regal GS units that were in the top corner of the headlamp assembly.
The headlights themselves are a slightly trimmer shape with less bulk above the lamp internals. The grille and bumpers are new for 2014 and help make the Regal seem wider on the road. The fog light shrouds now arc upward and further toward the corners than the previous chrome-trimmed shrouds that tilted downward.
New grille detailing adds black chrome accents, grey details and more rakish vertical bars in the chrome-trimmed grille opening. The vertical bars now flow subtly outward versus bolt-upright as on previous Regals.
Out back, the revisions are more subtle but do increase the Buick’s presence and sense of width. A new chrome bar now extends all the way into the bi-sected lamp graphics. The LED design forms another downward-facing “L” shape to match the front. The rear LEDs are broader and now extend further into the middle of the trunk panel.
Some subtle reshaping of the bumper, a few new colors and some new wheels round out the facelift updates. Overall, it maintains the Regal’s classy body-side shaping. The headlights still use Buick’s favored blue projector glass to simulate HID bulbs in the main beams.
One final gripe is that the actual headlight low and high beams are by halogen bulbs in base Regals. These are very dim in terms of illumination and are also a distinctly yellow color versus the pure white of the new LEDs.
2014 Buick Regal – Exterior Dimensions:
|Track - Front (in.)||62.4|
|Track - Rear (in.)||62.5|
2014 Buick Regal – Exterior Features (Includes Optional Equipment):
- New-for-2014 LED daytime running lights
- New-for-2014 LED taillights
- Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) machined alloy
- Headlamp control, automatic on and off
- Fog lamps, front, halogen
- Mirrors, outside heated power-adjustable, body-color, manual-folding with integrated turn signal indicators
The big news inside is the addition of two levels of active safety systems, a new center stack design, and enhanced IntelliLink connectivity and infotainment features. A new steering wheel with twin control pads and a smaller airbag pod helps bring the Regal into 2014.
The new safety features mirror the Cadillac XTS and are grouped into two options packages:
- Driver Confidence 1 package includes camera-based Forward Collisions Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Following Distance Indicator.
- Driver Confidence 2 package adds Collision Preparation (with Collision Mitigation Braking) and full-speed-range Adaptive Cruise Control that conveniently works in stop-and-go traffic
A new high-resolution screen appears between the main dials to provide the interface for these safety systems. The Regal also offers a new 8 -inch touchscreen for all its infotainment and navigation functions. The system is very similar to the Chevrolet MyLink offering in other premium offerings like the Impala aims to leapfrog the competition from MyFord Touch.
Overall, the design is current but there is a surplus of grey plastic everywhere. Some unwelcome old-Buick additions to the Vauxhall/Opel Insignia design are present. The wood trims are laughably fake and the leathers used are American-specification. This is to say: really poor-quality GM leather on just the top of the seats and nastier vinyl everywhere else.
One of the Regal’s strongest interior selling points is the quiet and spacious front cabin. This is good because otherwise dimensions are pretty tight, especially in rear legroom. The trunk is very spacious at 14 cubic-feet.
2014 Buick Regal – Interior Dimensions:
|Front Seating Capacity||2|
|Rear Seating Capacity||3|
|Headroom - Front (in.)||38.8|
|Headroom - Rear (in.)||36.8|
|Legroom - Front (in.)||42.1|
|Legroom - Rear (in.)||37.3|
|Shoulder Room - Front (in.)||56.7|
|Shoulder Room - Rear (in.)||54.4|
|Hip Room - Front (in.)||55.4|
|Hip Room - Rear (in.)||52.3|
|EPA Cargo Volume (cubic-feet)||14.2|
2014 Buick Regal – Interior Features:
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Eight-inch color touch screen radio with Buick IntelliLink, AM/FM/Sirius XM (three months of service) stereo with CD player and auxiliary input jack, USB port and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for select phones
- Leather-appointed seating; Heated driver and passenger front seats; Twelve-way power driver’s seat
- Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
- Ice blue ambient lighting
- Audio system feature, 7-speaker system
- Audio system feature, display, 7" diagonal, touch-screen, color located on center stack, Audio system feature, USB port with iPod connectivity
- Steering wheel controls, mounted audio and cruise controls
- Bluetooth for phone and music, personal cell phone connectivity to vehicle audio system HMI (Human Machine Interface), phonebook access, voice recognition for audio, phone, phonebook and music selection, Pandora and Stitcher Smartphone compatible, SiriusXM weather and data services, and software Bluetooth and Smartphone interface upgradeable
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
This drivetrain is significantly updated for 2014 in the name of increased efficiency, as well as performance. The base engine is now the Regal Turbo’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This is a huge jump in power versus previous non-GS Regals that made 220 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
The big increase in power means that the basic Regal can hit 60 mph in the mid six-second range. The Regal Turbo is projected to hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds in both FWD and AWD configurations.
The engine can briefly spike to 24 psi of boost, a remarkable level for such a mainstream vehicle.
This powerful four-pot can now be paired with an on-demand AWD system in the Turbo and the GS but not the eco-focused Regal eAssist. The system is not outstanding but does change the suspension designs to the HiPer strut up front, something that was previously a GS exclusive.
The Regal eAssist is a mild hybrid that continues for 2014 with slightly better numbers than before. This powertrain can achieve 36 mpg on the highway and is only slightly pricier (but much slower) than the base Turbo model. The eAssist setup does not compromise trunk space whatsoever and is a good option for relaxed drivers.
The eAssist runs a larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder with no turbo but lots of other good technology. This includes direct injection and DOHC with continuously variable valve timing. The eAssist engine makes 182 horsepower for an estimated 60-mph sprint of 8.6 seconds.
All these models are much slower in top speed than the speedy Regal GS that can hit 162 mph. This is largely due to the GS’s superior tire speed ratings and Brembo brakes.
2014 Buick Regal – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size and Type||2.0-liter turbocharged 16-valve I-4 With DOHC And CVVT||2.4-liter eAssist 16-valve I-4 With DOHC And CVVT|
|Peak power||259 horsepower||182 horsepower|
|Peak torque||295 pound-feet||172 pound-feet|
|Transmission||6-Speed Automatic||6-Speed Automatic|
|0-to-60 mph||6.5 seconds||8.6 seconds, est|
|Top Speed||117 mph, est||108 mph, est|
|Fuel Economy Estimates (City/Highway/Combined)||18/29/22, est||25/36/29, est|
The Regal continues its safety mission for 2014 as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS and five-star car from the NHTSA.
2014 Buick Regal – Safety Highlights:
- Daytime Running Lamps, switchable
- Head restraints, 2-way adjustable (up/down), front
- Air bags, dual-stage frontal and side-impact, driver and right-front passenger and head curtain side-impact, front and rear outboard seating positions
- OnStar, 6 months of Directions and Connections plan
- Automatic Crash Response
- Stolen Vehicle Assistance
- Safety belts, 3-point, driver and front passenger, height-adjustable includes pretensioners and load limiters
- Safety belts, 3-point, rear, all seating positions
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control with full-function traction control
- Four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Intelligent Brake Assist
- LATCH anchors in rear
The Regal’s 2014 prices have not yet been announced but are expected to rise less than $500 over current 2013 models.
2013 Buick Regal Pricing:
|Regal Premium Group 1||$31,530|
|Regal Premium Group 2||$32,940|
|Regal Turbo Premium Group 1||$31,530|
|Regal Turbo Premium Group 2||$32,940|
|Regal Turbo Premium Group 3||$34,110|
The Acura TSX closely matches the Regal’s offering of sporty front-drive dynamics, luxury cabins and limited rear space. The TSX V-6 is quicker than the Regal Turbo but few buyers will find the costly upgrade and poor mileage worthwhile. The TSX is expensive and the design is very stale at this point versus even the base Buick Regals.
Gallery Acura TSX
The MKZ is brand new and packs a dramatic nose and tail design unseen before in the Lincoln stable. This is much more of a luxury cruiser than the Regal with a much larger back seat. The MKZ is also more expensive than the Regal, topping out well into the $40,000 range. The MKZ’s optional 3.7-liter V-6 is more powerful than the Regal Turbo but will likely be much slower in sprint times due to its tubby weight ratings and luxury-themed settings.
Gallery Lincoln MKZ
The 2014 Regal Turbo offers a great solution for buyers who want a powerful sedan without all the questionable sports modifications that drive up the GS’s price. The 2014 Regal models deliver far better power and the new AWD option on the Turbo will broaden the car’s appeal.
The eAssist seems like it should be the base model instead of the Regal Turbo, but both are well-equipped and have a variety of premium class technologies as standard. The 2014 model’s new infotainment controls, steering wheel and center stack design also help eliminate some of the old Regal’s bizarre pictogram-labeled buttons that were carried over from the Vauxhall/Opel Insignia .
Unfortunately, the Regal is not fully committed to being a high-tech sports sedan. The grotesque wood grain dash trims and the extremely poor-quality leather really let down the Buick versus its premium rivals.
The nose and tail of the base Regals now include some of the premium touches that help make the GS look so great on the road. The LEDs are a smart safety update as are the various active assistance systems.
The thing that makes the 2014 Regal Turbo desirable is right there in the name. By giving consumers such huge base power and equipment levels, the Regal really sets itself apart from other mid-size contenders.
|Driving||B+||Tidy Handling With Good Cornering Poise But Some Hard Jabs From Ride|
|Performance||A-||Very Speedy Regal Turbo Shares GS Engine|
|Look||B+||Nice New Features Like Black Chrome And Grey Grille; LED Lights|
|Value||C-||Shaky Value Proposition As Premium-Priced Offering Without Premium Brand|
|Overall||B||A Great Upgrade That Broadens GS Performance Into Regal Turbo Base Model|
- Powerful turbo engine and 6.5-second 60 mph sprint
- AWD option to control the new power
- Sporty handling balance far superior to all other Buicks
- Fuel economy of eAssist would be nice with the Turbo engine
- Some interior conflicts like gross fake wood that looks bad with Euro trim details
- Wish 20-inch GS wheels were available on Regal Turbo
Gallery Buick Regal
2014 Buick Regal Infused with New Technology
- Exterior design with signature wing-shape LED lighting; revised interior designed around next-gen IntelliLink infotainment and new advanced safety features
- More efficient and more refined 2.0L turbo engine delivers 18 percent more power in Regal Turbo
- New all-wheel-drive system incorporates electronic limited-slip differential to help optimize traction in all driving conditions
Buick revealed the new 2014 Regal today, designed to be a sportier and smarter evolution of the brand’s dynamic midsize sedan. New purposeful technologies enhance safety and the driving experience with a more refined turbo engine – along with the introduction of all-wheel drive.
The new Regal also introduces new radar- and camera-based safety features – including Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Collision Mitigation Braking – for surround protection. In-vehicle connectivity is enhanced with next-generation IntelliLink, featuring simpler, more intuitive controls and natural speech recognition.
Adaptive Cruise Control is also offered. It senses traffic in front of the Regal to adjust vehicle speed, including stopping the vehicle in heavy traffic and accelerating again.
New front and rear styling, with bold, signature wing-shape LED daytime running lamps and LED taillamps were designed to give Regal a more contemporary and premium presence. The interior features a redesigned central instrument panel and console along with a new fashion interior trim combination.
The new 2.0L turbo engine delivers 18 percent more horsepower in the Regal Turbo, for a greater feeling of on-demand power The available Haldex all-wheel-drive system helps make the most of traction in all driving conditions and also enhances the cornering capability of the Regal GS when driven in the GS mode of the Interactive Drive Control System.
A 2.4L engine with eAssist light electrification technology is also available on the 2014 Regal. Six-speed automatic transmissions are matched with both engines and a six-speed manual is available in the Regal GS. Electric power steering is now featured on all models.