2018 Buick Regal Sportback
Buick fancies itself as a brand that can take on BMW and Audi with the new Regal Sportbackby Robert Moore, on
The Buick Regal actually has a pretty long history that dates back to 1973, when it was first introduced to the market. It also led to some amazing cars in the 1970s, including the Grand National and the GNX. It was produced continuously here in the U.S. until 2004 when Buick decided to call it quits, but it was brought back in 2009 as an Opel in other markets and as the Regal here in the U.S. again in 2011. That generation ran until 2017 when it was time for the sixth-gen model to make its long-awaited debut. Now available in both Sportback and wagon form, the Regal is now better than ever in modern terms and for 2018, the Sportback brings a lot to the table. Featuring a coupe-like silhouette with four doors and a rear hatch, it’s really a combobulation of several different body types but somehow looks attractive and sporty. For 2018, Buick made huge improvements to the Regal, including increasing cargo space by more than half. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for around 250 ponies and should prove to be an awesome family car. It is available with a new nine-speed automatic or an eight-speed automatic if you want AWD.
And, believe it or not, Buick is looking to take on the Germans, but aptly pointing out that the new Regal has more cargo space than both the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback. Overall, the new Regal is also about 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor, and with the 2.0-liter it should offer up better fuel economy as well. It has a longer wheelbase which translates to better maneuverability and improved passenger space. A whole host of safety systems is available if you’re willing to pay for it, but you do get hood pedestrian safety as standard equipment. We still have a little while before the new Regal goes on sale, with its official launch slated for the fourth quarter of 2017. Until that happens, let’s take a better look at the new Regal and discover what all it has to offer.
2018 Buick Regal Sportback
Horsepower @ RPM:250 @ 5400
Torque @ RPM:260 @ 2000
0-60 time:6.5 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:130 mph (Est.)
The outgoing Regal really didn’t look bad, but the new model has a steeper slope to the roof, and the rear end gets an official hatch
Before we dive too deep into the intricate details, let’s talk a little about the Regals exterior design. The biggest thing to note about the exterior design, by far, is its Sportback appearance. The outgoing Regal really didn’t look bad, but the new model has a steeper slope to the roof, and the rear end gets an official hatch – pretty new for the Regal if you don’t count the wagon. Up front, the hood is dominated by a fairly tall body line on each side that feeds into the A-pillars while the center of the hood also gets a defining line to add a bit of character. The headlights have been toned down and are much smaller now, featuring dual LED strips. They are positioned more in the front and don’t roll over to the side much at all – these have changed so much that Buick had to add side markers to the front fascia.
The Regals nose has been flattened a bit, and the grille is now a bit wider. It features more louvers than before, but they still maintained that BMW-like curve. In the center, you get a large tri-shield emblem with a pair of chrome wings. Down below, the fascia is quite attractive with the low-mounted fog lamps getting a slight overhang and a mild lip. The air dam is rather uneventful, but it works quite well with the large grille and small corner lights. Luckily, Buick focused more on a luxurious look, so there are no fake vents to speak of here.
The only defining feature of the side profile that carries over from the previous generation is the upper most body line that runs from the headlight to the rear quarter
The only defining feature of the side profile that carries over from the previous generation is the upper most body line that runs from the headlight to the rear quarter, directly underneath the beltline. That aside, another body line traverses across the door handles and fades off into the taillights while the distinct lower corner by the rear wheel is like a more aggressive version of what we saw on the previous generation, but mirrored. The rear door is actually different as well, with a smaller piece of stationary glass that is flanked to the rear by another piece of glass built into the rear quarter – this is a feature the last generation didn’t have, as it was all one piece. It really gives the side profile a fresh, attractive look.
Walk around to the rear, and this nature of this coupe-like tourer becomes painfully evident… in a good way, of course. The slope to the rear glass isn’t that far off from the last-gen but has more of an elegance to it thanks to the way the rear hatch has been blended into the C-pillars. The deck lid as a general curve to it, while the small, built in spoiler adds a bit of sportiness into the mix. The new taillights are sleek, and the matrix resembles the dual LED strips of the headlights. The outer corners are sharp and slightly tinted. The rear fascia is rather uneventful, but the license plate recess is less obtrusive, and the exhaust outlets sit up nicely in the lower lip. All told, the new Regal Sportback is quite attractive and based on looks alone; the Germans should probably be pretty worried – Buick seems to have its head in the game.
2018 Buick Regal Sportback Vs. 2017 Buick Regal
|Overall length (Inches)||192.9|
|Overall width (Inches)||73.3|
|Overall height (Inches)||57.3|
|Track front/rear (Inches)||62.8/63.0|
The dash design reminds me vaguely of the Jaguar XJ in that it has that third tier just below the windshield that provides for a wraparound look with the door trim panels.
The Buick Regal moves into the modern ages with its interior design, and you really have to tip your hat to Buick for coming up with something fresh. The dash design reminds me vaguely of the Jaguar XJ in that it has that third tier just below the windshield that provides for a wraparound look with the door trim panels. It has also ditched the prominent center stack for a cleaner look with the touchscreen display positioned directly into the dash and seamlessly with the center vents. There’s still a single knob and a few buttons below it, but it’s a much cleaner look. The HVAC controls have been downsized considerably and now sit just above the center console, which now feeds directly into the lower tier of the dash. The dash does extend outward on the passenger side, somewhat hampering passenger access to the HVAC controls. The center console is a bit thinner and features a single cubby behind the shifter to serve as a cup holder while the gear shifter and the electronic parking brake take up most of the console. There is a storage bin and door ahead of the shifter and a thin armrest in the center, however, the armrest may not serve both front passengers too well. On the plus side, this means more hip room for front passengers, so it’s not a bad tradeoff.
Glossy wood trim defines the center console, while smaller inserts on the door panels add a bit of extra contrast without being too gaudy. Pluss, there’s no wooden trim element on the dash, so that further emphasizes the clean look. The instrument cluster gets a large update that is a little different than what we’re used to. Two analog gauges for speed and tach functions sit on the outsides while the fuel and temperature gauges sit up top. A horizontally oriented TFT display resides in the lower center to serve as a driver information center. The touchscreen display is a seven-inch unit as standard but can be swapped out for an eight=inch system with integrated navigation if you choose to pony up for it. OnStar and a 4G LTE connection with hotspot capabilities are standard, but after the trial period, you’ll have to purchase a data plan through AT&T if you want to have internet connectivity. The OnStar basic plan does last for five years, but if you want any of the more advanced features, you’ll have to pony up for that as well.
Total cargo space with the rear seats in place is 31.5 cubic-feet while laying the seats down will increase that space to 60.7 cubic-feet
In the rear, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about, but thanks to the addition of the rear hatch, there’s an insane amount of cargo room in comparison to the last-gen model. Total cargo space with the rear seats in place is 31.5 cubic-feet while laying the seats down will increase that space to 60.7 cubic-feet, a number that tops the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback. A 60/40-folding rear seat is standard, but if you would like more freedom, you can go with the option 40/20/40-folding rear seat, as well. There’s no word on the cost of that, but I can’t imagine it’ll increase your sticker price too much. Rounding out the interior is a push-button start system, a total of 10 airbags, a universal home remote, and heated side mirrors. All told, it’s not a bad package, but I’m a little troubled that the seats don’t appear to be as supportive on the sides as they were in the outgoing model.
|Headroom front/rear (Inches)||38.8/37.4|
|Legroom front/rear (Inches)||42.1/36.9|
|Shoulder room front/rear (Inches)||56.9/55.4|
|Hip room front/rear (Inches)||55.2/54.1|
|Cargo volume (cu. ft.)||31.5 cu. ft. rear seats up |
60.7 rear seat folded
The Regal Sportback is only offered with one drivetrain option – a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s good for 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, as estimated by GM.
As of the time of this writing, the Regal Sportback is only offered with one drivetrain option – a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s good for 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, as estimated by GM. In standard form, the Regal Sportback comes in a front-wheel-drive configuration that makes use of GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission – something else that should contribute to better drivability and better fuel economy. Buick does mention an “available 295 pound-feet of torque,” but it appears as if that’s only available with the eight-speed automatic when the Regal is equipped with AWD. There’s no word as to whether this is the same engine with a different tune or a different engine altogether, but I’m banking on it being the former.
As far as the AWD system goes, it’s the same system that’s available in most other Buick products, including the Envision and LaCrosse. It makes use of a dual clutch system at the rear that allows for variable torque distribution on demand to either wheel as needed. It makes the car more maneuverable as it can adjust torque to the rear wheels easier and without relying on the brakes as much when you’re really getting into it on that curvy road you love so much. To add to this, the whole chassis has been reworked to offer up a lighter and stronger vehicle overall that just generally handles better. Finally, the three-inch longer wheelbase also improves handling and pushes the wheels closer to the corners for more interior space as well. AWD models get a new five-link suspension system in the rear that Buick claims will help isolate road noise and provide a smoother ride.
As of now, we have no performance specs to go by, and even the engine output figures are estimated by GM, so we’ll update this section when new information becomes available. Until then, let’s talk a little about safety.
|Engine||2.0L turbocharged I-4|
|Displacement (cu in / cc)||122 cu in / 1998 cc|
|Bore & stroke (in / mm)||3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86|
|Block material||cast aluminum|
|Cylinder head material||cast aluminum|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, four valves per cylinder with CVVT|
|Fuel delivery||side direct fuel injection|
|Horsepower||250 HP @ 5,400 RPM (FWD) |
250 HP @ 5,500 RPM (AWD)
|Torque||260 LB-FT @ 2,000-5,200 RPM (FWD) |
295 LB-FT @ 3,000-4,000 RPM (AWD)
|Transmission||9-speed automatic with front-wheel drive / 8-speed automatic with all-wheel drive|
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay if you want any extra safety features outside of those 10 airbags. The Regal does come standard with an active hood pedestrian safety system that monitors the road ahead at speeds between 16 and 30 mph. In the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the system will automatically use a pyrotechnic actuator to lift the rear of the hood by four inches to help lessen the impact on anyone you might run in to. If you want more advanced safety features, you’ll have to pay for them. These include things like forward automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, blind zone alert, and lane change alert. There are two packages to choose from – the Driver Confidence I package and the Driver Confidence II package as shown in the charts below.
|Driver Confidence I||Driver Confidence II|
|Lane change alert||Front pedestrian braking|
|Side blind zone alert||Lane keep assist|
|Rear cross traffic alert||Lane departure warning|
|Rear park assist||Forward collision alert|
|Adaptive cruise control|
|Forward automatic braking|
Obviously, the best choice is to go for both packages, if you’re really into all the safety and driver assistance features. However, pricing for these packages have yet to be released, so you’ll have to check back in the future to find out what they will cost you.
Pricing for the 2018 Regal has yet to be released, but we should hear more about it somewhere toward the end of the third quarter of 2017. I expect to see prices increase a bit over 2017, but they should climb much. As of the time of this writing, the Regal starts out at $27,990 and climbs to as much as $37,465 for the range-topping GS trim level. With that in mind, expect the new Regal to start out around $29,000 and climb to as much as $39,000.
Buick likes to consider itself a more reasonable alternative to the German luxury brands out there, and as such the 4 Series Gran Coupe is actually a prime competitor. In the looks department, it has similar styling overall, but the 4 Series leans more to the aggressive side than Buck could ever really dream of. As such, those looking for a sportier proposition may not mind paying the extra money to step into the 4 Series over the American-branded Regal.
On the inside, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is attractive and functional, with a slight emphasis on its sporty nature. It also features an adaptable cargo area thanks to the fold-down rear seats. In its standard form, it’s offered as the 430i and is powered by a 2.0-liter that’s good for 248 horsepower. AWD is available via Bimmer’s xDrive system, but it will set you back an extra $2,000. On the other hand, you can also get the Gran Coupe with a 3.0-liter inline-six that’s good for 320 ponies, which clearly beats out the Regal, but it’ll cost you dearly.
The 4 Series is more expensive as a whole, with starting price coming in at $45,100. Prices climb to as much as $51,500 for the AWD 440i, which should be significantly higher than the best the Regal can offer at the time of its launch.
Read more about the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
The other big contender in this niche is the Audi A5 Sportback. It’s more toned down than the 4 Series, for example, but still has some fairly aggressive styling cues up front. Its German pedigree affords it an attractive interior that’s comfortable and has decent technology including Audi’s smartphone interface. Like the Regal, however, it’s only offered with a 2.0-liter gasoline mill, which happens to be good for 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque – a pair of figures that are pretty close to what we’re expecting from the regal.
Pricing for the Sportback starts out at $42,600 for the Premium trim, $45,600 for the Premium Plus trim, and $50,200 for the Prestige trim. Of course, if you want awesome features like the Audi Virtual Cockpit or the Bang and Olufsen sound system, you’ll have to pony up the big bucks for the Prestige.
Find out more about the Audi A5 Sportback.
I have to admit I was a little iffy when Buick started calling out models like the BMW 4 Series and the Audi A5, but after taking a good look at the new Regal, I have to say it’s a prime contender. It still has that American DNA to It, so it’s not quite as plush as the German models if that’s what you’re really in to, but it’s certainly attractive inside and out. I would like the see the option of a V-6 come along at some point, as it would make it a lot easier for the new Regal to compete against the higher trim levels of the 4 Series and even the Audi S5, but it’s certainly off to a good start.
And, it has a major selling point – it will likely start out at a significantly lower price than its German rivals, and that could be more than enough to make this luxurious model a big hit. What do you think? Is the new Regal attractive, or is there something it misses? Do you think it can take on the Germans? Let us know in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2017 Buick Regal.
Read our full review on the 2018 Buick Regal TourX.