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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 champagneinhand (NY) on Saturday, April 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, comfortable, looks good, good mpg"
Cons: "small cup holders only big enough for 12 ounce can"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This has been a great car, with incredible performance from the Turbo driven engine that pulls this 3800lb safety factory through any kind of weather in pure comfort. It also boasts the ability to use E-85, though you will see a drop in gas mileage to about what the EPA bases on its sticker. Over the past 25 months I have got consistent milage on 87 octane gas of 23 City and #2-34 HWY. It handles very sharply and while the ride isn't plush at all times, it is no different from any car with these handling characteristics. It definitely not your fathers Buick. Its held it's value as well. The interior tan leather needs to be cleaned yearly, but the entire vehicle works as designed, even with my iPhone. The one thing I will say is that the E-85 does pull any fuel grime from the tank and sends it forward to the fuel filter, so I am about to replace that. Other than that it is a fine car, and I don't have to use premium gas, as fuel prices in NY are already high enough. The metallic stone paint rarely shows dirt and always looks fairly clean, even during Winter. I've had driven this car from NY round trip to Las Vegas as well as round trip to Charleston, SC and have really enjoyed it. The only other car I've owned that was similar in enjoyment was an Infiniti Q45, but without the addd fuel costs and massive repair costs. This was built in West Germany, and is built well. I have heard that the new versions built in the US have some reliability issues, but I haven't seen any in this version."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By cindy (MO) on Friday, April 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looking"
Cons: "brakes, tires, electrical, motor, and acceleration"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I would never buy another Buick regal. Worst gas mileage ever, the radio stations constantly change by themselves, power roof stop working three times, tires are constantly loosing are pressure, motor jumps and accelerates by itself, Bluetooth does not recognize your voice, the trunk will just open by itself, serious electrical problems with this vehicle, rough ride, and i had to have the brakes replaced twice because of the squeaking loud noise, and the rotor had to be replaced. wish someone had warned me."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By clarkairman (OH) on Thursday, March 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great value for price Plus warrantee"
Cons: "would like a little more pick up from 0-25"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I just purchased this vehicle a short time ago. My only hesitation was having a "old person" car. I made my purchase knowing I liked the car, but loved the bumper to bumper warrantee until 62,000 miles or 3 years. Not bad since I did not have to deal with the loss of value from driving off the lot brand new since I purchased it with 14,000 miles."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Grappledog (TX) on Sunday, January 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Seat warmers are fast heating!"
Cons: "Key remote; Often find trunk open. Very sensitive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"When at stop sign or light, the vehicle creeps forward on its own. Your cell phone is required to be manually connected to vehicle in order to listen to the music on your cell phone. The voice command to make calls does not effectivley recognize commands/requests. Radio functions/Settings continuously have to be reprogrammed The navigation will not auto download and or recognize addresses from your address book. You must download these manually which takes approx. 5 minutes per contact. I have been to three different dealers; they gave two explanations. 1. "Were not sure" and 2. You will have to live with it. If anyone knows how to resolve any of the above issues, please let me know. Bob"
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By MM (TX) on Saturday, January 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The total package, quality made!"
Cons: "small trunk"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car new-- 2012 Buick Regal w/eAssist, sunroof, intellilink, Premium 2 package, LED lights, french stitched leather interior, keyless startup (which I can also do from my iPhone!!), bluetooth, parking rear assist,... I could go on and on! This car is the full package. It rides so smoothly, the cabin is so quiet and comfortable! I love the heated seats and dual temperature (since my husband and I prefer totally different temperatures). The Harmon Kardon sound system with the well insulated cabin makes you feel like you're in a theater every time you listen to music! I also love the OnStar app and Sirius Radio that came with the car. OnStar even runs diagnostics on your car when you request it! With the OnStar app on your phone, you can also check your oil, tire pressure, gas %, send your car navigation, start your car from your phone... AHHH! Very on the front end of technology!) According to my car, I am getting 30mpg avg. Can't complain about that! This is a great car. Rides SO smooth-- looks sharp inside and out!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Larry (NJ) on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great looking car.. The ride is fantastic with great power for a 4 cylinder... I have the 20in wheels on mine.. Great sounding sound system as well.."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful