How Does Buick’s Last Sedan Hold Up Today?

Buick got out of the sedan game last year, and going forward its U.S. lineup has been and will be nothing but SUVs. It’s perhaps an odd choice, but Buick isn’t alone. Ford has sworn off sedans as well, and GM’s sedan lineup is teetering on just three left. In 2020 Buick had just one sedan left, that being the Regal. With Cadillac flexing its plush leather and Corvette power, it’s easy to forget about Buick as GM’s second-highest class brand. That said, how was the Buick sedan magnum opus? Did it go out with a bang, or a whimper?

Buick Regal’s powertrain – the best part of the car

2018 Buick Regal Sportback
2018 Buick Regal Sportback | Buick

Buick offered the Regal with two trims, those being the Sportback and the GS. They each got their own powerplants. The Sportback got a turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 250 horsepower to the front wheels, or all wheels if desired. The GS got 60 more horsepower for 310 and was all-wheel-drive as standard. All-wheel-drive models got an eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite the horsepower difference, Car and Driver cites the GS being only 0.2 seconds faster than the front-wheel-drive Sportback. The GS model sold for $40,000, while the Sportback sold for as low as $26,295, and depending on the trim, could start at as much as $36,695. The Chevy Malibu apparently costs less and isn’t much different.

Handling – thoroughly uninspired

2019 Buick Regal GS
2019 Buick Regal GS | Buick

While the powerplant delivered adequate acceleration, the handling suffered. U.S. News cited the ride being extraordinarily comfortable, and absorbed road imperfections with ease. However, its handling wasn’t as sporty as other mid-size sedans in its class. The steering is somewhat vague, without the response that might come from a more sophisticated luxury sedan like a BMW. Its AWD does provide massive amounts of grip, which does help it stick to the tarmac whilst bending around corners. 

Buick Regal cost to own – not looking great

2019 Buick Regal GS
2019 Buick Regal GS | Buick

MotorTrend unfortunately graded the Regal harshly while considering its cost to own. While the GS may have sold for $40,000 MSRP, its predicted cost-to-own over five years came out to almost $52,000, most of it coming down to depreciation, insurance and fuel. The repair costs and lack of recalls do, however, bode well for its reliability. It only has one recall so far, and it’s with insufficient seat welds which could become a problem in a crash.

Higher trims have lots of safety features

2019 Buick Regal GS
2019 Buick Regal GS | Buick

While the Regal did score highly in crash tests, only higher trim levels get the more advanced safety features. The Regal was the first Buick to get standard active pedestrian detection. Buick fitted it with an actuator that lifted the back of the hood about four inches to reduce impact. 

The GS other high-end trims got many safety features as standard that weren’t included in lower trims, including rear cross traffic alert and blind zone alert. The Driver Confidence Package was available, which included adaptive cruise control, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, and enhanced automatic emergency braking, among others.

Is the Buick Regal worth buying in 2021?

First of all, any Regal you find today is going to be a used model. The Sportback can be found in today’s inflated used market for around $20,000. For a ride that’s reportedly unremarkable and not particularly ground-breaking, more exciting sedans are available in the same price range and likely sold better in the first place, like the Acura TLX.

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