Britain Sends Vauxhall to the US – As a 2011 Buick Regal CXL Sedan
By Alan Gell
The new Buick Regal is a good-looking vehicle.
You comment, “I thought the Regal went away from the Buick lineup about 5 or 6 years ago.”
You are correct, but General Motors has brought the nameplate back.
Actually, this car is not new because it is sold in Europe as an Opel and in Great Britain as a Vauxhall Insignia. It is simply being brought to North America as a sporty family sedan. Why didn’t GM simply call it a Buick Insignia?
The 2011 Buick Regal is only available in one trim level – CXL.
It is not un-attractive, but is simply a moderate, yet appealing mid-size sedan.
It offers a smart ride, normal handling, and a number of premium touches.
I remember my grandfather’s big, shiny, long, black with chrome Buick.
This Regal CXL is not even in that playing field.
The Buick Regal CXL is front-wheel drive, has four full-size doors, and a huge traditional-style trunk. It sports the Buick signature waterfall grill on the front, although it is slightly L-shaped that appears to flow like a waterfall rather than a slab of rock with creases. If you remove the distinctive grill and the badges, it is not easy to identify this as a Buick. Get behind the wheel, look over the dashboard and instrument panel, and you might think you are in the English Vauxhall Insignia. Oops – I forgot. You are in an Insignia. Only the badges have been changed.
Judy and I traveled to England, Wales, and Scotland not too long ago and we rented the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia often during the trip. It proved to be a wise decision and we really enjoyed the ride. Recently we have had the new 2011 Buick Regal CXL for a full week’s test drive and it was an interesting comparison. We like the cabin layout. The interior’s looks are definitely sleek and very European. The physical controls were not always easy to operate, however. Overall, the Buick Regal is a comfortable car to drive.
The new Regal is powered by a 2.5 liter engine that is matched to a six speed automatic transmission. Although this engine is adequate for most situations, it occasionally appeared to be sluggish. This inline four cylinder ECOTEC engine is the only choice and it offers a low 182 horsepower. That would compare to smaller, more compact vehicles in most instances. The acceleration is not appealing to heavy-footed drivers who want the instant feel of movement. There appears to be more engine sound than forward thrust.
We have been told that a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine with more horsepower will be introduced sometime next year. Also, this turbo-charged alternative will offer an alternative manual transmission. Is this really a Buick? A standard-shift in a Buick? Obviously, GM is changing the status of Buick for the American consumer – less luxury and large cars and more sportiness and good handling.
Our test drive model was called Quicksilver Metallic.
The EPA fuel ratings were 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
During the week, we actually went slightly better than the 30 mpg.
The base MSRP was $26,245, but with a Comfort and Convenience Package, and destination charge, the bottom sticker price was $28,840.
The 2011 Buick Regal is not like Buick predecessors.
Instead of a soft, comfy ride, the suspension is firm and sporty, but that is a good thing, and obviously another aspect of the European inspiration and adaptation.
Put away your pre-conceived ideas about Buick being an over-sized, stuffy car for retirees.
Visit a GM dealership and take the new Regal for a quick spin around the block.
The probability is that you will want to add this mid-sized sporty family sedan to your list of possibilities.
ALAN GELL, Lh.D.
Member, Texas Press Association
Member, Texas Auto Writers Association http://www.CarColumns.Net
Article Source: Britain Sends Vauxhall to the US – As a 2011 Buick Regal CXL Sedan