Sedans & Coupes

The 2012 Buick Regal Was the Worst Model Year for the Car

Today’s Buick Regal is a striking sedan that offers a comfortable ride, an abundance of cargo space, and excellent predicted reliability ratings. 2020 is the final year of the Buick Regal, and for its final year, it’s a stylish car with an athletic V6 and decent driving dynamics. Maybe its GS models aren’t as exciting as the GS models of the past, but it’s far from being the worst model of the popular sedan.

What is the worst model year for the Buick Regal? Why is it the worst model of the popular sedan?

The worst model year for the Buick Regal

According to the complaints logged at popular consumer site Car Complaints, the worst model year for the Buick Regal is 2012. The 2011 model had more complaints, but the severity of the issues with the 2012 models and the fact that they occurred at a low mileage earned it the title.

The top complaint was brake failure. On average, the problem occurs under 5,000 miles and ranks a 10 out of 10 on the site’s problem severity scale as “really awful.” The average repair cost is $10,000.

One owner in Beijing experienced brake failure while driving on a flat road at an average speed. When the vehicle before theirs had to brake unexpectedly, and they’d observed a safe following distance, the Regal driver’s brakes failed to deploy. Not just the brakes but the entire braking system. When the driver tried to use the emergency brake, it also failed. The damage to the vehicle was extensive. 

The model has also experienced instances of engine failure. The incident, on average, occurs around 55,000 miles, and the repair involves replacing the engine for an average price of $4,400. The issue earned it a 10 out of 10 on the site’s severity scale. 

One Connecticut owner noticed the engine sputtering while idling. The issue grew worse and the vehicle began to stall in idle. Finally, it completely lost power at a higher speed. The dealer suggested that maybe they had a bad batch of gasoline.

The problem continued when blue smoke began to emerge from the exhaust. They replaced the coils, plugs, and fuel injectors. After it was suggested that the smoke could indicate cracked pistons, they got a second opinion at another dealership. The verdict? Engine replacement or rebuild.

It’s gotten better

RELATED: Never Buy a Used 2013 Buick Verano

After the problems of the 2011 and 2012 model years, recent Buick Regal models have gotten a lot fewer complaints. The problems reported are minor compared to brake and engine failure. The site has no complaints logged for Buick Regal for either the 2019 or 2020 models.

Later models of the Regal didn’t impress with its fuel-efficiency, and the interior materials left a lot to be desired. It didn’t offer what some of its peers did and often it cost more than some of the competition. While its handling was pretty balanced, its competition often offered more athletic performances. Still, it was a good car.  

The 2020 Buick Regal

The final Buick Regal to be produced is a quality car. It has a chassis from Europe and comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 182 hp. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive comes standard. There’s an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets 259 hp, and you can get all-wheel drive with that. 

The Regal GS is a nice choice for those who prefer a showy sports car. It’s equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gets 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels but the acceleration isn’t the quickest. The GS models also have 19-inch wheels, unique cabin accents, and a sport-tuned suspension. 

There’s a lot to like about the 2020 Buick Regal. There’s an impressive lineup of powerful engines, but a higher-than-average base price and poor fuel efficiency hurt its appeal. The fact that the competition has nicer cabins to offer doesn’t help. It doesn’t have the best handling in the midsize sedan segment, but it has good technology, a lot of space, and a comfortable ride.