The 2019 Buick Regal has left its sedan past behind. The current Regal comes in hatchback and wagon guise, and delivers either with confident road manners and satisfying handling.
A new range-topping Avenir trim level has joined the lineup for the 2019 model year, fitted with special upholstery, unique 19-inch wheels, and more standard equipment.
Regal Sportback hatchbacks are offered in six trim levels: base, Preferred, Preferred II, Essence, Avenir, and sporty GS. Regal TourX wagons come in three trims: base, Preferred, and Essence. Each is nearly identical to the equivalent Sportback.
The Regal’s turbocharged 4-cylinder engine makes 250 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. With all-wheel drive, torque output drops to 260 pound-feet.
Front-wheel drive models get GM’s 9-speed automatic transmission, but AWD Regals use an 8-speed automatic. Occupying a more sporty position, the Regal GS switches to a 3.6-liter V-6 that develops 310 horsepower and 282 pound-feet. Equipped only with all-wheel drive, the GS features adjustable shock absorbers, sport seats, and sporty body details.
Riding about an inch higher off the ground than Sportback Regals, TourX wagons are nearly a foot longer than principal rivals.
The 2019 Regal offers a sizable suite of advanced-safety technology, but only at upper trim levels. Essence and GS models can add a Driver Confidence Package that includes blind-spot monitors and rear parking sensors. Another Driver Confidence Package adds forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has crash-tested the 2019 Regal.
Prices do not include $925 destination charge.
Base Sportback ($25,070) has 2.0-liter turbo with front-wheel drive and comes with cloth upholstery, power windows/locks, keyless ignition, and 17-inch wheels. The 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Only two colors are offered: white and silver.
Sportback Preferred ($27,670) includes a power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and auto-dimming mirror. Options include blind-spot monitors.
Sportback Preferred II ($29,770 with front-drive, $31,770 with rear-drive) adds foglights, sport seats with synthetic leather bolsters, a 40/20/40 folding rear seat, heated steering wheel, and 8.0-inch touchscreen.
Sportback Essence ($31,770 with FWD, $33,870 with AWD) brings heated leather seating front and rear, plus a power passenger seat.
Sportback Avenir $35,270) comes only with front-wheel drive, and includes quilted leather upholstery, LED cornering headlights, blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, and 19-inch wheels.
Sportback GS V-6 ($39,070) has the 3.6-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive. Standard features include Brembo front brakes, adjustable dampers, drive-mode selection, 19-inch wheels, rear spoiler, adjustable seat bolsters, and active-safety features.
TourX wagon ($29,070) has 3.6-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive, with cloth upholstery, 7.0-inch touchscreen, and 18-inch wheels.
TourX Preferred ($32,670) adds a power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, height-adjustable passenger seat, and auto-dim mirror.
TourX Essence ($35,070) includes heated leather-appointed front seats, heated steering wheel, hands-free power liftgate, and 8.0-inch touchscreen.
Both body profiles please the eye, but the wagon is a more familiar shape. The Sportback looks more sleek and disguises its hatchback well in a sloping roofline.
Chrome strips accent the grille and outline each side window. The chiseled nose suits this car’s sporty aspirations.
LED taillights and a lip spoiler round off the clean look. Avenir trim adds 19-inch wheels and a unique grille. The Regal GS flaunts more aggressive lines up front, coupled with sharper bodywork and 19-inch wheels, while the TourX wears tough plastic cladding.
In both body styles, passengers and cargo can expect ample space. Though the cabin looks uncluttered, it never feels sparse. Interior lines stretch from the dashboard to the rear end, making the cabin look longer.
Front seats are spacious, but power adjustments aren’t included in lower trim levels. Rear seats also are roomy and comfortable, even for taller occupants. The Regal’s interior is a bit of a letdown, though, with just average materials at hand.
Cargo volume excels. Sportbacks have 60.7 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seatbacks folded â€“ a figure that approaches crossover territory. TourX wagons are roomier yet, totaling 73.5 cubic feet. Taller items might not fit beneath the sloping roof, though.
Regals blend a comfortable ride with decent performance. Though responsive and even fun to drive, coping well with corners, Sportbacks are more utility vehicles than they are sporty machines.
Buick’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 provides lively acceleration, without losing refinement. Reaching 60 mph takes about 6.2 seconds. Better yet, the transmission invariably manages to find the best gear for the occasion.
Performance feels even more intense with the GS model’s V-6, dipping 0-60 mph times below the six-second mark. Paddle shifters are absent, but carefully-programmed Sport or GS mode can hold gears longer.
The GS also provides sharper handling and stopping power. Relatively heavy steering helps deliver confident handling and maneuverability, helped by continuously-adjusting dampers. Though firm, the suspension is compliant. Sport mode provides good balance between crisp performance and a smooth ride.
Optional twin-clutch all-wheel drive balances power between front and rear to improve traction. It’s one of GM’s better AWD systems.
The Regal benefits from Buick’s intensive sound-deadening, including active noise cancellation. Foam in tires even absorbs road noise.
Fuel economy is competitive. The turbo-4 engine is EPA-rated at 22/32 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive or the TourX wagon reduces those estimates to 21/29/24 mpg. With its V-6 engine, the GS is EPA-rated at only 19/27 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined.
The 2019 Buick Regal has graceful looks and lots of utility to its credit. It limits safety equipment to top models, but it handles like a premium car should. The best value is likely to be found in lower-priced models, too.
Driving impressions by Aaron Cole, TheCarConnection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.