Entry Price: $25,070
Price As Tested: $43,115
This week, we’re driving Buick’s new generation 2019 Regal GS, with the “GS” taxonomy standing for “Gran Sport.” Built in Russelsheim, Germany, our tester features standard fully electronic all wheel drive (AWD), lighter and stronger rear multi-link suspension components and the expected GS performance upgrades.
Dating back to the first ever Regal in 1973, today’s Regal is a real beauty and features both four-door sedans and a cool looking station wagon called Regal TourX. So be it the Gran Sport, an entry Buick Sportback or top grade Regal Avenir, this line is still a popular choice for those who still like midsize cars.
Buick’s GS heritage also deserves note as car collectors agree the legendary Buick Skylark Gran Sport muscle cars made a big splash during the days of high horsepower and boulevard cruising. Built from 1965-1972, these Gran Sport models are still beloved and very collectible, especially the magnificent 1970 Buick GSX that touted a 455-inch V8 and 510 lb. ft. of torque.
The last time we drove a Regal back in 2014, it was built in Ontario, Canada, had a four-inch shorter wheelbase and weighed 500 pounds less. Today’s new sixth generation Regal debuted last year to good reviews featuring GS specific features like special front and rear fascias, sport tuned 5-link rear suspension, Brembo red caliper front disc brakes and a spacious cargo area compared to last generation’s tiny 14.2 cu. ft. of space. Helping with the expanded cargo space is Regal’s large rear hatchback style lid that is wide, deep and spacious and expands cargo accommodations to over 60 cu. ft. if the rear seats are folded.
Starting at $25,070 in Sportback front drive format, non-GS Regals come standard across the line with 4-cylinder engines and either 8- or 9-speed automatic transmissions. However, on GS models, all-wheel-drive and the 3.6-liter V6 are both standard fare as no 4-cylinder or front-drive is available. This V6 delivers 310 horsepower and 282 lb. ft. of torque and mates to a special GS specific 9-speed automatic transmission the results in 19 city and 27 highway EPA fuel mileage estimates.
If you want AWD and insist on a 4-cylinder, Buick offers several Regal models with the turbocharged, high-output Ecotec 2.0-liter engines delivering 250 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. These Regals offer good AWD EPA numbers at 21 city and 29 highway while the front-drive only Regal with the 4-cylinder delivers 22 city and 32 highway. (If you live in warm climate, the 4-cylinder front-drive Regal is a fine choice).
On the road, Gran Sport’s AWD suspension works well and the added traction pays dividends in snowy weather climates. All GS models come with 19-inch Continental tires on sporty alloy wheels and drivers can select their GS steering response, suspension and other driving dynamics with three interactive drive control settings of Touring, Sport and GS. Surprising is no GS paddle shifters are available.
The Regal cabin is really slick and features GS specific trim, aluminum alloy pedals, keyless entry and start, tilt and telescopic steering, premium infotainment stereo system, USB ports, Bluetooth, dual zone air, Sirius XM Satellite, On-Star, heated steering wheel, and much more. Notable is GS-exclusive racing-inspired heated/cooled leather seats that feature front massage controls, electronically adjustable lumbar and thigh support bolsters. All Regals provide comfortable surroundings, a quiet ride and room for five.
Our tester came with four options, including a Driver Confidence package for $1,690 featuring adaptive cruise, following distance monitor, forward collision alert, forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front pedestrian braking, and head-up display. It’s worth the extra $1,690 and highly recommended. Add a $485 appearance option and a $945 Sight and Sounds Package (Buick’s 8-speaker infotainment system upgrade) and you arrive at our tester’s bottom line of $43,115 including $925 destination.
All expected airbags are in place along with GM’s heralded Stabilitrak safety system. Your Buick dealer awaits your visit to explain all Regal options and models, including current buyer incentives and discounts.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 111.4 inches, from 31.5 to 60.7 cu. ft. of cargo space; 4,270 lb. curb weight and a 16.3 gallon fuel tank.
As expected, the Buick GS is both nimble and comfortable on the highway, with the 310-horse V6 up to the task be it merging or passing (although more ponies would be appreciated). The brakes are very good, yet I wonder why Buick decided on just two red caliper Brembo brakes up front instead of four all around? Those red calipers really stand out, but don’t match with GM’s silver rear disc calipers.
Another area to address is the rumored 2020 Buick Regal Grand National that recalls the “GN” and “GNX” glory days of those Regal V6 Turbocharged muscle cars in the mid-1980s. If rumors come to fruition and Buick is serious about regaining the excitement of the prior Grand Nationals, it should consider utilizing its Twin Turbo Dual Overhead cam V6 that powers the Cadillac ATS-V and produces 464 horsepower. This move would make any future Regal Grand National, or even the current Gran Sport, a real supercar and worthy of the past Buick performance badges and nomenclature. This also means a rear drive setup and perhaps a move back to the states and some Lansing, Michigan, platform time, but the end result will be a real performance car.
Am I day dreaming? Probably so.
In summary, the 2019 Buick Regal in any style is a fine car. Considering its current “recommendation” checkmark from Consumer Reports magazine and the fact the Regal outscored a Mercedes-Benz C-Class in overall road test scores, these Buicks are worthy candidates if shopping the mid-size sedan/wagon market.
Likes: Looks, AWD abilities, cargo space, Gran Sport legend.
Dislikes: Only two red caliper Brembo disc brakes, current V6 could use more ponies.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.