By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
Buick calls its 2013 Regal a "sport-injected performance sedan" and compares it to the Acura TL, Audi A4 and Volkswagen CC. Even if the reality falls a little short of those lofty ambitions, the Regal does have a distinct import character in its feel and road manners. Using a platform from Opel – GM's European wing – gives the Regal a chance to capture younger fans. For 2013, the Regal comes in seven distinct variations: three models (base, Turbo and GS), the first two of which offer three trim levels. The different engines for each model define vehicle character. The base Regal engine is a 182-horsepower eAssist mild hybrid, the Turbo gets 220 horsepower while the GS uses the same turbo engine tuned for 270 horses.
If you're looking for a fresh face, and you like making a slightly unexpected choice, and you think it might be time to give a domestic manufacturer another chance, the 2013 Buick Regal just might fit your bill.
While the 2013 Buick Regal's styling is lovely and the car drives with the refinement we associate with imports, its pure performance still falls a little short. And you just might not be ready to embrace that Buick badge.
For 2013, the Regal line packaging is simplified slightly, with the 2.4-liter eAssist mild hybrid 4-cylinder becoming the base engine. Buick's IntelliLink smart-phone integration system is now standard on all Regals. A few new paint colors join the palette, though color choices on the GS remain limited.
Driving Impressions When you choose a powerplant in the 2013 Buick Regal, you also choose a personality. The base model with its 182-horsepower eAssist mild hybrid engine gives you plenty of...time to feel environmentally responsible as it gradually builds speed. The 220-horsepower Turbo model is quite a bit livelier, and the 270-horsepower GS is a legitimate runner. Either of the turbocharged engines can be had with a manual gearbox but the shift throws are long and slow enough that we prefer the automatic. In any guise, the Regal runs smoothly and feels competent on the road, if not quite as light on its feet as a Volkswagen CC. Suspension action is compliant and well damped, and the Interactive Drive Control (optional on Turbo, standard on GS) provides three selectable levels of firmness. The variable-boost hydraulic steering on the turbocharged cars has better feel than the eAssist's electric power steering.
2.4-LITER ECOTECH 4-CYLINDER ENGINE WITH eASSIST
Acceleration may be leisurely but think about that carbon footprint. Buick claims the eAssist mild hybrid system's improvement in fuel efficiency amounts to 25 percent. And the engine spins with a smoothly polished sense that reminds us of a Honda.
INTERACTIVE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEM (IDCS)
A first for Buick, this system allows you to choose from three different operating modes that modify the vehicle's suspension, stability settings, throttle response, shift pattern and steering sensitivity. It is optional on the Turbo and standard on the GS.
This is where premium-car credentials really have to show, and the 2013 Buick Regal makes the grade. Design and materials are first-rate, with a clear European influence in the BMW/Audi-like joystick that controls the available navigation and audio functions, a console-mounted central locking button and the steering-wheel-mounted thumb wheel for scrolling through function menus. All the switchgear has a smooth, high-quality feel. If the Regal falls down in any area, it's rear-seat headroom. The low-slung roof and raked rear window mean anyone over six feet tall will likely have his head against the headliner.
Buick's signature waterfall grille and porthole louvers are present and accounted for, but the rest of the 2013 Regal sedan is striking in ways that Buicks have not historically been. Based on GM's European Opel Insignia, the 2013 Regal has a clean but strong look that borders on aggressive. The wheels are pushed to the car's outer corners while the body drops low to hug the pavement. A distinctive side scallop begins on the front door and fades rearward.
Inside the 2013 Buick Regal you'll find leather upholstery, an 8-way adjustable power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth and a 7-speaker audio system with USB port. Motivation is supplied by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with eAssist paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission (with tap-up/tap-down shifting), and power is put to pavement via 17-inch alloy wheels. The Turbo model uses a 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine while the GS tunes the same engine for 270 horsepower. Either of the turbocharged engines can be paired with a no-cost choice of 6-speed transmissions, either manual or automatic.
The 2013 Buick Regal sedan's options are mostly grouped into packages, called Premium I, II and III. The base Regal offers Premium I and II upgrades and the Turbo offers Premium II and III options. (The GS is considered its own trim level.) Among the many available options spread throughout the groups are a 9-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, a hard-drive-based navigation system, rear parking assist, an 8-way power adjustable passenger's seat, power sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels (20 on the GS), E-Z Key passive push-button start, HID headlights and a 120-volt outlet. Rear-seat thorax side-impact airbags are also available.
The Regal was the first Buick to be offered exclusively with 4-cylinder engines. For 2013, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with mild-hybrid eAssist becomes the standard engine. Regenerative braking, a dual-function generator/motor and a lithium-ion battery pack help power the car's electrical systems and offer a slight boost under acceleration. Fuel efficiency is the big payoff, with EPA city/highway figures of 25/36 mpg. Stepping up to turbo power, the Regal offers two excitement levels. In the Regal Turbo, the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 220 horsepower. The Regal GS uses different software tuning and exhaust plumbing to get 270 horsepower. Turbo engines can also be paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox in place of the 6-speed automatics that are standard across the line.
182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 mpg (eAssist mild hybrid)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
220 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/32 mpg (manual), 18/29 mpg (automatic), 15/22 mpg (E85, manual), 13/22 mpg (E85, automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Regal GS)
270 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 mpg (manual), 18/20 mpg (automatic)
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