The old Regal, a rebadged Opel Insignia that rode on GM's Epsilon II platform, was sold from 2011-2017 and was one of the few sedans on the market I really liked. Now, I realize that there's only so much designers can do with the conventional three box designs and myriad governmental requirements further squash what can be done but still, I loved what whomever drew this up did with it. Its size was great too - tad narrow, yes, but the overall design of the old Regal was way more balanced and in proportion than the cigarette boat like look of the current Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac XTS and 2010-2016 Buick Lacrosse. My only issue with the old Regal was that it only came with four-cylinder engines. Sorry, I have my standards - I'll never sleep in a communist country nor cheer for the New York Mets and I will never own a car as my personal daily driver that only has four cylinders. Turbocharged or not.
The Regal GS, however, gets stuffed with GM's spectacular 3.6 liter V-6 tuned to a luscious 310 horsepower and 282 pounds of torque. What's more, the GS comes with all wheel drive and, get this, a nine speed automatic.
Regal GS sits on fotchy 19 inch aluminum rims in front of Brembo, high performance front brakes; no such hardware for the rears. Why? Saves a couple of bucks but Brembo's on a Buick? What's the world coming to?
I swear to god, if Buick comes with another series of "That's Not a Buick" ads to hawk the new Regal I'm going to have to double up on my blood pressure meds. Stupidest ads ever. They always do more harm than good - after all, there's nothing quite like making folks who already own Buicks feel bad about their car. Hey, Buick, you're targeting this thing at older Gen X'ers like me so do us a favor, don't advertise that your brand used to be for old people. This ain't rocket science.
Anyway, I've yet to spend any wheel time with one of these so I have to glean anything tangible about it from what I've read and pundits rave about it. I mean, raaaave. Fast, solid, wonderful ride, great handling, easy to operate. Magnificent seats. Nice. Most of the reviews though mention that the GS is not great on gas and when you think about it, how could it be? The Regal GS with all wheel drive and a honking 300+ horsepower engine weighs 4,200 pounds - that's a lot. The Regal it replaces weighed no more than 3,600 pounds.
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty - would I buy this car? No. And the biggest reason why I would shy away from it is this fast back or what they call "Sportback" styling. Most if not all of the reviewers rave about how this looks too but then I have to remember than most of them are paid by an ad agency to write something nice and fluffy with perhaps a little pith. Hey, if I was being paid to write this I'd find some nicey nice things to say overall about it too but I'm not so you're getting white hot honesty here - this car is ugly. And ugly in ways that only sedans in 2018 are ugly too.
Can a car be ugly and generic looking at the same time? Umm, yeah. And you're looking at it. Might be because this car started out as an Opel but I'll be darned if this thing isn't a rehash of a half dozen if not a baker's dozen or more cars today. These days what's left of sedans all look the same. It's a problem that's vexing considering that sedan sales are in the crapper.
All cars today are great, well, you have to option them correctly - take our Chevrolet Impala rental from last weekend for instance - but what will help drive sales and sway buyers away from cross overs is compelling, interesting design. The new Regal is not a step in that direction and that's too bad considering what a swell ride it is. When designing sedans, if auto manufacturers don't start using some of the same design mojo they're using these days on crossovers, sedans as we know will be gone within the next ten years. At best, they'll be boutique models like pony cars are today.
There's also the issue of what Buick is charging for this car. Loaded to the front grill with every toy you can check off on, the Regal GS comes in at a click or two below $45,000. And get this, because reviewers say this car is at "Audi" levels of refinement and performance, they say it's a relative bargain compared to tonier makes and models. C'mon, are you kidding me? If you've got the beans to swing for an Audi, you are not going to be concerned about saving five to seven grand buying a freakin' Buick.
GM has been positioning Buick as an American Audi or Lexus for years now as they've been pushing Cadillac up into the upper echelons vs. BMW and Mercedes. As far as Cadillac goes, that status seeking has resulted in some remarkable automobiles that are superior to a lot of what the Germans are making now. They're bland looking and over priced but still, they're great cars. They also don't sell very well. Buick has a bigger problem as they attempt to once again get hip - they don't even have the same curb appeal as Cadillac; they'll always be "Buick". And to that end, the Regal is just another Buick.