Overview & Reviews
Although the Buick Regal nameplate has been around since the mid-1970s, the most common examples for automotive shoppers will be either the new, European-influenced model or the previous generation that debuted back in 1997. Between the two generations there was a six-year hiatus, and although these cars have the same name, they couldn't be any more different. The current Regal offers sophisticated styling and road manners, while the previous generation is much more in the traditional Buick mold, meaning squishy seats, an isolated driving experience and a roomy but old-fashioned cabin accented by some cheap plastic trim.
The older generation makes for an inexpensive family car, as there are plenty available, and there's even a supercharged version for those who'd like a midsize sedan with some kick. The current Regal's exterior styling combines traditional Buick elements (such as a chrome waterfall grille) with neatly tailored European lines, no mere coincidence considering the Regal is based on GM's European Opel Insignia. The cabin is likewise attractive, with splashes of metallic trim to brighten things up a bit. The latest Regal provides an entertaining drive along with the strengths that Buick has long been known for: a smooth ride and very quiet cabin. As such, this well-rounded midsize sport sedan should appeal to driving enthusiasts who never thought they'd consider a Buick.
Current Buick Regal
The Regal's base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 259 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available as an option. A six-speed automatic transmission is the only choice unless you spring for the GS, which offers an optional six-speed manual with front-drive (the GS AWD is automatic-only). A 2.4-liter four-cylinder with mild hybrid technology called "eAssist" is offered as an option on the Premium I trim. It's good for 182 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque, with shifting duties handled by a six-speed automatic. EPA combined fuel economy with the mild hybrid rates in the high 20s.
The Buick Regal comes in four trim levels: base, Premium I, Premium II and GS. The base Regal's standard highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, Bluetooth, OnStar and a seven-speaker sound system. The Premium 1 trim adds keyless ignition and entry, rear parking sensors and a power passenger seat, while the Premium 2 trim adds amenities like adds automatic xenon headlights, a navigation system, an upgraded sound system and rear passenger side airbags. The Regal GS comes with all of the above along with Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats and unique exterior and interior accents. A sunroof is optional on all Regals, while a touchscreen navigation system and lane-departure, blind-spot and forward-collision warning systems are available in optional packages on certain trims.
In reviews, we've praised the Regal's upscale-looking cabin. The standard front seats provide plenty of support for spirited driving and comfort for long-haul trips, though they may be a bit snug for wider folks. Those riding in back, however, may find the rear seatbacks a bit flat and uncomfortable, and tall adults will likely bemoan the lack of headroom. The Intellilink infotainment system is easier to use than the previous button-heavy interface, and looks better to boot. An abundance of infotainment media options should please technophiles.
On the move, the turbocharged base model is spunky and quick, though there's a slight delay after the gas pedal is floored before the car really hits its stride. However, we'd recommend skipping the 2.4 "eAssist" version. Though it gets decent fuel economy, its acceleration is sluggish for a car in this price range. On a curvy road the Regal displays impressive athleticism, especially in the GS version. Some drivers may find the precise steering too light (except on the GS) and disconnected for their tastes, but for most buyers this won't be an issue. The Regal's ride is hard to fault, as the suspension flattens out bumps and ruts and the cabin remains hushed at highway speeds. The GS also gets adaptive dampers that can firm up the ride or make it comfier at the press of a button.
Used Buick Regal Models
The latest fifth-generation Regal was brought back for the 2011 model year. For that debut model year, trim levels consisted only of the CXL and the CXL Turbo, and there were just two engines offered -- the base 184-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder (without the hybrid system) and the base turbocharged 2.0-liter good for 220 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Standard equipment on these Regals essentially mirrors the current car. The first-year Regal, however, had a rather frustrating interface for the optional navigation system (it looked like a touchscreen but instead used fussy knobs and buttons), which was replaced by a touchscreen for 2012. That year also saw the introduction of the mild hybrid eAssist model and the high-performance Regal GS. While the eAssist is the same powertrain as the current version, the original GS boasted a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder than today's, with 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
For 2014, the Buick Regal received a host of changes. A 259-hp turbocharged four-cylinder replaced both the Turbo and GS trim levels' engines, while all-wheel drive became newly optional on all turbo Regals. Other changes included exterior design tweaks, an updated equipment roster (including new electronic safety features) and a redesigned dashboard with a standard 8-inch touchscreen in place of the many buttons that cluttered the dashboards of previous Regals.
The previous, fourth-generation Regal (which was available only as a sedan) was produced from 1997 through 2004. It offered a roomy interior along with peppy, yet fuel-efficient powertrains. This Regal was available with a muscular supercharged V6, affording buyers the chance to get a sedan that was both sensible and capable of giving a little thrill, at least in a straight line.
There were two trims available: LS and GS. Base LS models included keyless entry, full power accessories and a CD player, while GS Supercharged models added a more powerful engine, a trip computer and leather upholstery. A third trim, the luxury-themed LSE, was offered only in 2000. Options included heated seats, OnStar and a power sunroof.
Throughout this generation, LS models had a 3.8-liter V6, while GS Supercharged models packed a supercharged version of the V6. The standard V6 initially offered 195 hp, while supercharged models upped the ante with 240 hp. For 1999, the standard V6 saw a power boost to 200 hp. Both engines were mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
But this Regal's shine was dulled by a couple of shortcomings such as a rather archaic cabin that was dressed in cheap-looking fake wood and lacked some of the amenities provided by the competition. Additionally, the Regal's seats weren't that comfortable – a notable failing for a family sedan. Though this Buick stood as a fair choice in the midsize segment, it was surpassed in many respects by the Japanese competition. Still, low resale values and a good reliability history make this Regal a decent choice for midsize sedan buyers on a tight budget. If possible, we'd suggest narrowing your focus to a GS Supercharged version built in 2000 or after to enjoy a model with appealing performance and the best available feature content.
The third-generation Regal was built from 1988-'96. It held the distinction of being the first front-wheel-drive version of the car, and was offered as both a coupe and sedan. Regals of this era came in a host of trims. For example, in 1996 sedans could be had in base Custom, Olympic Gold, Limited and top-of-the-line Gran Sport trims; coupe buyers had less to choose from, with just Custom and Limited trims. Custom Regals built in the mid-'90s offered a 3.1-liter V6 good for 160 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, while Limited, Olympic Gold and Gran Sport models were motivated by a 3.8-liter V6 that offered 205 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque. A supercharged engine wasn't offered.
Previous to the '88 redesign, the Regal was, for the most part, a rear-wheel-drive luxury coupe (though a sedan was offered sporadically). Performance enthusiasts will note that the mid-1980s were the high point, as the Grand National, a blacked-out Regal sporting a turbocharged V6, made its mark by being quicker than most muscle cars of the '60s and '70s. There was also the GNX, a limited-edition, even more powerful version of the Grand National.
The Buick Regal started out in 1973 as a lower-priced luxury coupe based on the midsize Century. A sedan debuted the following year and this generation ran until 1978, when the Regal was substantially downsized. A redesign took place for 1981 and that generation lasted through '87.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 535.00
Out of 6 BMWs and 6 Mercedes, my FAVORITE - 2000 Buick Regal
By Jerry - January 14 - 9:53 pm
I've owned 6 BMWs and 6 Mercedes, and I expect a LOT from my cars. I bought my LSE after getting fed up with being $1000'd to death by Mercedes and BMW. Thought I'd give a Buick a try, but wasn't really expecting much, considering it was a, well, BUICK. Boy, was I surprised! This is my favorite car ever, and I don't say that lightly. Gets 32 mpg on long trips, has the touring suspension and corners like it's on rails. As most Mercedes owners will admit, the cruise control and A/C are unreliable at best. This dual zone automatic climate control is faultless, EVERYTHING ALWAYS WORKS as it should, and this car is really loaded up with options like a Cadillac. It is absolutely reliable, smooth riding, good power, and fun to drive. Mercedes could learn a thing or two from this car's reliability, so could BMW.
Best Car Ever I Had - 1999 Buick Regal
By Mark - January 12 - 6:57 pm
This is the Most Fun best Driving car I Every Had. I Bought 1999 Buick regal GS brand spanking new. It was still on the truck when i called the dealership. Took it for a test drive and the supercharger kicked in, WOW. The Leather seats never ripped, radio, windows ,ac and all the power never stopped working. I only ran Mobil 1 oil and Trans fluid. After 200,000 we had some transmission work but after 248,000 the engine just quit. But up till then it still got 28 mph on the highway to work. After 16 years this has been the Best Ever, only bad was the Premium Gas.
Long Term Review - 2002 Buick Regal
By Ryan - December 17 - 9:31 pm
My family owned this car for around 9 years. It was my first car and I took a lot of pride in it as it is a car to be proud of. We had a special edition style and handling package with two tone paint and firmer, more reactive suspension. While the car isn't particularly special in the curves, it felt awesome until you near the limit and realize how front heavy it is. The engine was plenty powerful to have fun with, and consistently gave me 29 mpg HWY without fail. ABS worked great. Traction control worked surprisingly well even in deep snow up to the bumper. Never got my car stuck in the winter except for once when it was practically buried overnight. We did have some problems over the course of the ownership. The worst one was the ignition switch which shut the car off in heavy traffic. Other than that, we also had to replace the swaybar, a window motor, window switches, AC clutch, 3 wheel bearings, fender rust and well that's about it. Pretty good car, but still nickle and dimed over the years. Probably cost less then 2k for everything over 9 years. It was really built well though. Maintained it perfectly and it was still driving like new at almost 170k. There were no weird squeaks, rattles or anything which is amazing considering how high quality the monsoon radio and speaker system was. YOU WANT THE MONSOON! The only wear it showed were a few chips on the aftermarket hood, some fine cracks in the leather, and a light tick from a lifter in the bullet proof Buick 3.8L until she warmed up. Car was broke in but showed no signs of slowing down. I trusted it fully to the day I sold it. It wasn't babied either. Maintained and serviced well was not used lightly. Ditched during winter twice, but no damage was ever taken.
I had no idea this car was made by Opel in Germany - 2011 Buick Regal
By Newton Farmer - November 11 - 5:25 pm
I bought my 2011 Regal CXL Turbo used. It had extremely low mileage and I thought the price for the quality, technology, luxury and options (loaded) was very competitive. The great value may have something to do with the Buick's perception as an older person's car, but this has not always been the case. Don't forget the Buick Grand National. The irony of my purchase is I did not know this Buick was made by Opel when I bought it. I am probably one of the few Americans that has owned two Opel cars. I bought a new 1969 Opel Rallye when I was a senior in high school. That car was a piece of junk. The 2011 Regal Turbo is a blast to drive. Switch to the sport mode and you feel like you have the ride, handling and performance of a baby Corvette.
Good Car, but some Disappointments - 2015 Buick Regal
By Karina Espinoza - October 27 - 4:13 pm
I'm about 8,000 miles into my 2015 Buick Regal (Premium II) class and I've had it for about 7 months now. It drives really well and feels comfortable enough behind the wheel However the interior has a few problems. In order for me to access the window/lock buttons I have to contort my body a bit and bend my arm considerably (I'm 6' 1"), it's not natural. Also, for me to access the storage console in the center, I have to reach back and put my body and arm in an awkward and uncomfortable position to open it... Basically, should not do this while driving as it can be dangerous. My other cars allowed my arms to comfortably go off the steering wheel and to the window switch with ease rather than have to start bending and contorting... Same with the center storage console. Visibility while backing up and changing lanes is not so good. You really have to depend on the camera However, the camera in my vehicle is too bright during the day and has poor detail, so it's not very reliable. Finally, the "Infotainment" console has had some glitches in just the 7 months, which makes me feel it's just a matter of time before something goes bad: 1) Within 3 Months the temperature gauge stopped working consistently... it takes about 10 minutes to start gauging the right temperature outside. 2) twice I've entered my car to a loud buzzing sound that stopped once I turned the vehicle on. 3) twice I've pressed my ignition button and the car wouldn't wouldn't start (as if the battery was dying). 4) Several times when I've turned my vehicle on, the console has "glitches out" shut off and then turned back on. 5) Once, after reversing and going into drive, the parking camera stayed on for the entire time I was driving and never switched back to my radio/console view. 6) Many times I've adjusted the volume and it switched my radio channel instead. I took it in once for a minor issue and told them about the issues and they said there was nothing they could really do about it yet.
First Buick after five Cadillacs - 2015 Buick Regal
By Daniel Wal - October 25 - 8:51 am
So, after five Cadillacs (3 STSs, and 2 CTSs), I decided to try the Buick Regal. I liked the size and fuel economy (we commute 150 miles daily). I couldn't stand the CUE interface in the Cadillac and was a little dismayed that the same basic system is used in the Buick. I have to say, though, that it works much better in the Buick - there are hard buttons for the climate controls and radio - very nice. The individual temp controls and seat heater controls are a weird touch-panel that doesn't work very well - Buick should have just used hard buttons like the rest of the climate controls. The front seats are very comfortable and there is plenty of room. The center console is a bit small, as is the glove box, but this is a fairly small vehicle so I guess that's to be expected. The back seat looks nice, but it also looks very cramped although my 5'6" mom doesn't complain at all, even when she sits behind the driver seat (I'm 6'4"). The trunk is spacious and the Premium I package includes almost everything my Caddy's had (except, alas, ventilated seats). Driving dynamics are great - she's fast, fluid, and agile. Passing is a piece of cake, the brakes are monsters, and the ride is well-controlled (definitely not grandma's Buick). The Navigation, like CUE and other GM products is flaky - we end up using our phones more than the car's nav. Also, the split functionality (between the nav and the instrument panel) is a very strange design - sometimes the system initially 'finds' a destination, but then the navigation system cannot... routing is also terrible... more than once GM's Navigation systems have tried taking us down non-existent roads. Fuel economy is great for the size and performance. The 2.0 Turbo is plenty powerful and we always use premium "Top Tier" gasoline.
Euro Car Snob Goes Domestic - 2011 Buick Regal
By ajkiniowa - October 19 - 10:28 pm
This car is really an amazing value and design. My Buick was made in Germany. In the rest of the world it is an Opel Insignia which has been a European Car of the Year several times. I also drive a Volvo, which in my opinion, has the best seats of any car maker - hence I can't laud the Buick's seats. They are comfortable and I can drive for hours without any discomfort. The technology takes a bit of time to learn. If you can read a manual, watch a DVD and Google you can learn these electronics easily. I DO NOT like the electric parking brake! Call me old school, but I would be happy to have a mechanical interface return. In emergency maneuvers, the car rivals any vehicle I have owned - BMW, Volvo, Audi, Saab, etc.... In some ways it is even better with the Stabilitrak stepping in to direct the car accordingly and allow one to avoid potential accidents without relying on anti-lock braking. The brakes are also stellar. The interior is exceedingly quiet. I have found myself speeding more in this vehicle then probably any other I have owned. It handles well and in Sport mode is very tuned in and fast. The headlights are also incredible - almost like daylight. I also want to praise the Harman Kardon sound system, quite amazing. I think driving the car will speak for itself. As a certified vehicle there have been no maintenance or out of pocket costs and my local dealer is super.
Horrible car - 1999 Buick Regal
By Connie - July 29 - 5:30 am
I bought this car when it had 55,000 miles I finally had to junk it at 130,000 miles I had to put at least $8,000 into it, What a lemon.
Jury is still out - 2015 Buick Regal
By Mike Trainor - July 24 - 2:54 pm
At only 700 miles, it is hard to judge a brand new car. So take that into consideration as you read this. And, it will be helpful to know that I was NOT shopping Buicks - at all - before I bought this. In fact, I wasn't shopping ANY car that had an MSRP more than $30K, and this Regal GS was stickered at nearly $41K. So what happened here? I had been driving a 2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited and wanted a car with more HP & torque, better handling and more tech features. First looked at the new Elantra's - nope. Looked at Mazda 3s - nope. Cruze, nope. Mustang... well, not more than $30K so that was out of the question anyway. Not interested in anything Toyota had, nor Honda for that matter. Wife mentions Buick one day. BUICK??? Oh... yeah... the Verano! So, I decided on July 4 to shop them, not really expecting the dealer to be open. They were. Before I knew it, I was test driving a Regal T premium, but didn't like the interior. Saavy sales rep finds a GS out back and convinces me to drive it. Sure, why not drive a freakin' $40,000 car!!! Anyway, to sum it up, I bought the thing. Not that day, but later next week. So, enough on how I got into this car, here's my summary review: Overall: 4 stars because 3 wasn't enough and there's no 3-1/2. It IS a NICE car, but some things are missing. Performance: I don't have a great basis for comparison. Last "fast car" I drove was '74 Chevelle SS with a 454 v8. But... the Regal does move and moves quickly - once you get past the turbo lag. The acceleration and power curve are quite nice after that. At slower speeds, 25 - 35 say, it can hardly get out of its own way unless you put your foot into it. Steering and road holding I think I very good - feels solid, good feedback. BMW drivers might find it dull and lumbering, but for me, it is more than adequate and would not fear driving this car 120 mph. Especially because the Brembo brakes are confidence inspiring. What kinda sucks is the tranny when you shift on your own. I'm still learning where this car needs to be on the rpms, but it is SO quiet, and quick, that I didn't realize I was up to almost 4000 rpms and still in second. She didn''t like that very much. in more normal driving, ahem, I found while the shifts are smooth, there's no audible feedback from the engine. keep your eye on the rpm guage!! but... see... you need your eyes on the road and your ears on the engine. other than that, shifts fine and you can toss this car around pretty well. but she's heavy. this, of course, coming from being used to a featherweight Elantra. just driving as an automatic, shifts are smooth and about where you would expect, and want, them to be, even under heavy acceleration. Comfort-Interior -- For the money, she's quite comfortable. Seats are firm(er) in the GS model which has an upgraded seat and leather package, but they fit me well. The car fits me well in fact. I'm 6'0" and about 180 lbs. The front is a bit narrow, but I still have plenty of elbow and hip room. Seats provide thigh support right where I need it. Headroom, even with the sunroof, is fine, plenty of clearance. Someone at 250 might not fit as well. Controls are all relatively well-laid out, similar in some ways to the Elantra, so i'm not having any issues in finding where things are, and everything is within easy reach. except two things..... Nitpick alert! One negative about the interior design is where the window controls and outside mirror control are. In the Elantra, resting my elbow on the door grip in a comfortable spot at my side, my fingers fell right onto those, with only a slight reach forward to the mirror control. In the Regal, I have to bring my hand back almost a full hand-length and LOOK as to which button do I have, front window or back window? I also find quite annoying where the door grip is. The interior features a nice swooshy grab bar in fake metal. it's okay to use when closing the door. but when opening it, the grip is a bit far forward, making an already heavy door even heavier because you're pushing it open too far forward. and here's the gotchya - there is no grip in the elbow rest part of the door, no place for your hand. Cheap, GM, very cheap. As noted, this car is quiet. In fact, I've never been in a quieter car save for a fun little drive in an 80s vintage Rolls Royce. But also noted, that's a negative when it comes to hearing the engine, or exhaust. Visibility is mostly okay, but out the back and over the shoulder are tougher. The B pillar is pretty wide... you'll quickly learn to use, and appreciate, the blind spot warning in the mirrors. Rear is smallish and narrow, but hardly an obstacle. The Mazda 3 hatchback was much, much worse. As to instrumentation, well, there's a learning curve there, but it's all there if you want it, including oil temp and pressure, friction bubble (wha???), and a whole mess of other stuff. Not the easiest to use and could stand a bit more ability to customize, but I find it complete, easy to read. ###
Fantastic Driver with some Shortcomings - 2012 Buick Regal
By Josh - July 22 - 10:35 am
I purchased this car over a year ago to replace a 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid that had recently surpassed 100,000 miles. I wanted something that would be fun to drive and that had a manual transmission. This car checked (most of) the boxes for my needs, after a year with it, however, this will be my last GM for a while. The good: The turbocharged motor and manual transmission combination is great! Clutch and shifts are smooth and engage easily. The torque band is very wide and pulls the Regal up to (and over) legal highway speeds, quickly and quietly. The interior is quiet and comfortable around town and on long trips. The bad: Trying to use/figure out the buttons on the steering wheel/center console/touch screen is miserable and very confusing. Voice recognition only works for certain functions, much worse than the SYNC in my previous car. No rear-view camera, on a vehicle at this price point trying to compete with entry-level luxury cars, a rear-view camera should be standard. The graphics for the navigation are acceptable, at best. QUALITY (or lack thereof) - my car has been in the shop 6 times in the past year for small repairs, blower motor on the climate control randomly cuts out, 4 rear light bulbs (no access panels in trunk, have to remove carpet surrounding the trunk to replace), sun visor mirror cover shattered apart, and grommets holding the floor mats to the floor sprung apart. The plastics on the interior feel cheap and look cheaper. The lack of storage space for front seat occupants is disappointing. Buick has done a fantastic job with the styling and the performance aspect of this car. It looks and drives fantastic, now if there was more focus placed upon quality and interior components, I'd be fully satisfied. I'm glad I purchased the Regal, but I'm ready to get into something else.