By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
It's been a long time since Buick brought us any car we'd put in the same sentence as "sporty," but the 2011 Buick Regal is here to change that. Armed with sleek European style, engaging driving dynamics, eighteen-inch wheels and an available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the new Regal is not your grandmother's soft Buick sedan. However, the road to a younger fan base is lined with attractive competitors like the Acura TSX and Volkswagen CC – vehicles that no one has trouble calling "sporty."
The 2011 Buick Regal offers a hefty dose of Euro cool in a well-packaged, premium-leaning American sedan.
The 2011 Buick Regal may be the sportiest Buick in the lineup, but don't confuse it as an answer to rear-wheel-drive performance standouts like the BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G37.
With engaging driving dynamics, fresh design and an available turbocharged engine for under $30,000, the upmarket 2011 Buick Regal is a step in a new direction for the brand.
Driving Impressions While there's nothing to complain about in regards to the naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that comes standard on the Regal, the real star is the turbocharged 2.0-liter four. It's quiet,...refined, and although it's not the fastest turbo out there, it has decent passing power and little off-the-line lag. Torque steer in this vehicle is also negligible, which is all the better since the vehicle is only available - for now - in front-wheel drive guise. Opting for the turbocharged engine also nets you variable power steering. A Buick wouldn't be a Buick without a quiet ride, and you can expect just that inside the Regal. However, don't expect the soft ride of Buicks past. Although the Regal isn't as spry as the Acura TSX or the Volkswagen CC, it is sportier than any Buick of recent memory and perfectly willing to have a little fun.
2.0-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine
While the Volkswagen CC also offers a turbocharged four-cylinder turbocharged engine, Buick's 2.0-liter powerplant offers more horsepower and torque.
Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS)
A first for Buick, this system is available with the turbocharged engine and allows you to choose from three different operating modes that modify the vehicle's suspension, stability settings, throttle response, shift pattern and steering sensitivity. What does that mean for you? Choose "Standard" when cruising around town, "Tour" for a softer ride when on the open highway, or "Sport" for more dynamic driving on a curvy section of asphalt.
The interior of the 2011 Buick Regal is where the vehicle's premium designation really becomes apparent. All of the switches and knobs have a smooth, weighted feel to them, and although the interior shares some of its features with the larger LaCrosse sedan, the overall treatment is spiced with a bit more European flavor. This is especially evident with the BMW-like, center stack-mounted lock/unlock buttons and the optional navigation system's iDrive-esque control knob that sits just below the shifter. Our only complaint? Rear headroom is a little tight, so those over six feet tall might find sitting in the back a bit uncomfortable on long rides.Exterior
While trademark Buick design cues remain - namely the waterfall grille - the rest of the 2011 Regal sedan is sculpted, sleek and carries over more than a few styling cues from the Opel Insignia, the award-winning European vehicle upon which it's based. In fact, if you were to look at the two vehicles side by side, you'd find that not much has been changed for duty in the Buick lineup, aside from the aforementioned grille, headlamps and badges.
Inside the Buick Regal CXL you'll find leather upholstery (unlike the Volkswagen CC, which has leatherette as standard), a 12-way adjustable power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker audio system with USB port. Motivation is supplied by a 2.4-liter in-line four cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission (with tap up/ tap down shifting), and power is put to pavement via 18-inch alloy wheels. To help keep you safe, six airbags are standard on each Regal, as are stability and traction controls, Brake Assist and the latest and OnStar with Automatic Crash Response.
Most notable of the 2011 Buick Regal's options is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine rated at 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. If having the latest and greatest in technology is more important to you than added power, you can add a 320-watt, nine-speaker harman/kardon sound system or a hard drive-based navigation system. Those who aim for creature comforts in their vehicle can opt for a rear parking assist system, a 12-way power adjustable passenger's seat or a sunroof, while those with safety on their minds can get seat-mounted rear thorax airbags. Extras for the exterior are limited to 19-inch machined alloy wheels.
The 2011 Regal is the first Buick to be offered exclusively with four-cylinder engines. The standard 2.4-liter in-line four produces 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, and delivers fuel economy in the range of 20 city/30 highway miles per gallon. Those looking for more power can get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which delivers 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque for a small penalty in fuel economy – 18 city/29 highway. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with tap up/tap down shifting, although paddle shifters are available with the turbocharged engine. Later in the year, a six-speed manual will also be offered, bringing the Regal more in line competitively with the Acura TSX and Volkswagen CC Sport.
2.4-liter in-line 4
182 horsepower @ 6700 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30
2.0-liter in-line 4, Turbocharged
220 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/29
By car and driver on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Acceleration and driving characteristics"
Cons: "Backseat head room is tight for over 6 footers."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the Premium II AWD package. Compared it to Audi A4, BMW 3 series, Cadillac ATS, Volvo S60, Kia Optima, and Lincoln MKZ. This car, (even without the GS package), handles as good or better than all the compared cars, has excellent power without any notice of turbo lag, stays flat in the corners, gets good (not great) gas mileage, and handles great in the snow with the AWD. Interior is top notch quality and intellilink system was the best and most intuitive voice command system of the bunch."
5 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Fran on Sunday, September 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks classy and is fun to drive"
Cons: "gas milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have been very happy with this car and the service I receive from the dealership. The car drives smooth, is comfortable, and sporty looking. I have received many compliments. I think the gas milage could be a little better for a 4-cylinder, but that is the only negative about the car."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Mac on Monday, August 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turbo is GREAT"
Cons: "Trans. BAD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Trans. is a little rough below twenty miles per hour, up or down. Buick says that is normal I say that is NOT right. I had a 99 Regal it was much smoother, and milage was better."
20 people out of 42 found this review helpful
By SG on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Fun to Drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded in my BMW for the Buick Regal and I am totally blown away with this car. I like it so much better than the BMW. Plus it handles the curves in the road 10 times better than the BMW, not to mention the gas mileage is 10 times better as well. It has get up and go, when I step on the gas this car hauls butt, no drag at all. I highly recommend the Buick Regal."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By SrASherbert on Saturday, February 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas mileage, fun to drive on windy roads, space"
Cons: "the back up sensors randomly goes off sometimes"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had this car now for a little over 2 years now and I got it with 7000 miles on it. I have had little problems with this car. I live in the frigid north in Minnesota and I have to have the heated seats. The only problem is that the diverside seat broke in 2013, after only having it for 1 year, but it was no hassle to get it fixed since it was under warranty. The turbo cuts my gas mileage way down for city to average about 17.5mpg. Straight highway is average about 28. I've seen it hit 34 when I'm on the hey for more that 15 min but am mostly a city driver. Plenty of room in the car for my 6'2" husband and my two 100 pound dogs. Good trip car. Driving from twin cities to Minot ND (500+ miles) in less than 2 tanks of gas. Really smooth ride and it has that giddy up to beat out that other car trying to cut you off. I don't like going slow and this car doesn't disappoint me at all. It's the ultimate sleeper car because the guy next to you will only see a Buick and think granny but when you pass him he'll realize his mistake!"
14 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Fran on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive and great looking"
Cons: "my tall husband finds it a little cramped"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car for over two years and it has proven to be a very reliable car. Except for maintenance, it has not been in the shop. It is great looking and fun to drive."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful