Buick has always been an upscale brand, but it spent most of the last 100 years kind of wedged into the GM luxury car family along with Oldsmobile and Cadillac. That was OK in the 1950s, but today our expectations of automotive luxury have changed from a smooth ride and soft seats to a very complex mix of performance, handling, infotainment, and comfort. To meet that standard, Buick had to wipe out its old product line and start from scratch.
The current generation of Buick Regal was launched in 2011 as a key part of Buick’s renaissance. Among other updates, the new Regal was available with a manual transmission and with an optional turbocharged engine. In 2014, the Regal added optional all-wheel-drive. Suddenly, Buick had a sports sedan capable of competing with the Japanese brands.
The 2016 Regal comes with your choice of three engines, starting with the basic 2.4-liter direct-injected 4 cylinder with 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The same 2.4-liter engine is available with Buick’s eAssist hybrid system. But the standard engine for the Regal and Regal GS is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for a whopping 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The 6-speed manual transmission is still offered in a front-wheel-drive configuration, while a 6-speed automatic is available with front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
Fuel economy on the 2016 Regal ranges from 19 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway for the AWD turbocharged models up to 25 MPG city and 36 MPG highway for the hybrid eAssist model.
On the tech side, Buick has added an eight-inch color touchscreen display for the 2016 model year, integrating Bluetooth phone support, GPS navigation, hands-free text messaging, and the IntelliLink voice-activated applications system. IntelliLink supports Apple CarPlay now, and will support Android Auto in the near future. On top of that, you get the latest version of GM’s OnStar connectivity system, including AtYourService concierge functions including hotel and restaurant reservations. Finally, you get 4G/LTE data service and the car will create its own WiFi hot spot.
On the road, the Regal is both powerful and nimble. This is a car that can compete with the Japanese and European luxury brands. The turbocharged engine pulls like a V8 and the AWD means that the handling is sure and precise. This car is fun to drive as well as being comfortable and well-connected. Regal comes equipped with Buick’s StabiliTrak stability control system, traction control, and a rear-view camera. Optional packages include adaptive cruise control and radar-based collision warning and mitigation systems.
Best of all, Buick has cut prices by up to $3,000 on the Regal for the new year. The 2016 Buick Regal starts at $27,990 for the base 2.4-liter FWD model, and ranges up to $37,310 for the top trim turbocharged AWD model. If you’re shopping performance luxury sedans this year, you need to check out the Buick Regal.