By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
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)
The 2013 Buick Regal Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $29,900 for a base Regal sedan, and the Premium II option package takes a Regal to almost $33,000. A Regal Turbo starts about $31,500 and rises to just over $34,000 in Premium III trim. Regal GS prices start just under $36,000. To make your best deal, see what others in your area have paid for their Regal by checking the kbb.com Fair Purchase Price. As for resale, we expect the 2013 Buick Regal sedan to retain its value nearly as well as its Asian and European rivals.
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."
4 people out of 6 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