While it’s often overshadowed by German and Japanese rivals, the 2015 Buick Regal stands out as a good value within the segment.
Reborn as a sort-of German sport sedan in 2011, the Buick Regal continues to offer buyers in the near-luxury class a competent driving experience, posh furnishings and a lot of car for the money. With a willing turbocharged engine and available all-wheel drive, the 2015 Regal defies stereotypes about the Buick brand for the better. There are five trim levels, ending in a sporty GS trim with firmer suspension and an available manual transmission.
Aside from the typically toothy Buick grille and fake ‘ventiports’ mounted on the hood toward the engine, the Regal is sleek and modern on the outside. The GS model has a slightly more aggressive look with 19-inch wheels and deeper lower styling front and rear, but the overall look is cohesive and not trying to act too young.
At just over 190 inches long, the Regal is 8 inches longer than a BMW 3-Series sedan but almost exactly as large as an Acura TLX. It’s also roughly as large as mainstream midsize sedans, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into space inside.
The Regal’s interior would not look out of place in a German offering, partly because it’s heavily derived from the German-made Opel Insignia. There are plenty of soft-touch, low-gloss materials. Seats are German firm, rather than the soft American chairs from some other Buicks.
Rear legroom is good for compact luxury sedans, mediocre for mainstream family models. Headroom is somewhat impacted by the sloping roofline. And thick pillars conspire against visibility in some situations.
The Regal comes standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and dual-zone automatic climate control. A heated steering wheel and a power-adjustable passenger seat are optional, and sport seats come with the GS model.
Most Regals are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 259 horsepower. A six-speed automatic is standard, and a six-speed manual is available on the GS model. All-wheel drive is an option, but only with the automatic. Power is more than adequate and it gets the Regal up to speed confidently. Fuel economy is 21/30 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive, and 19/27 mpg with all-wheel drive.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower is the base engine. That engine can also be mated to electric power in the eAssist model for extra efficiency, but neither of these power plants give the Regal the performance its road manners can utilize.
The 2015 Buick Regal includes standard tech features such as Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port and Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. Features like navigation and a Bose stereo system are available in option packages.
Since its 2011 introduction, the Regal’s controls have improved markedly. An 8-inch touchscreen dominates the center of the dash, with large icons and clear graphics for the navigation system that’s standard on Premium II and GS trims.
The audio system cleanly navigates between radio, SiriusXM and iPod/Bluetooth streaming functions. GS models also get an 8-inch color display between the gauges for clear access to trip computer functions.
It’s a shame that the system isn’t faster to respond to inputs and that adjusting the climate temperature often requires multiple attempts at tapping the touch-sensitive button. OnStar with 4G LTE is standard, although requires a monthly or yearly fee after its trial subscription expires.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2015 Regal a five-star overall rating, with four stars in frontal crash tests and five stars in side crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the Regal as Good in the moderate overlap and side crash tests, but it hasn’t been tested in the more stringent small overlap test.
There are two available packages for those interested in safety technology. Driver Confidence 1 includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning systems.
Driver Confidence 2 upgrades to adaptive cruise control and automatic braking. With both available packages, the Regal gets a ‘Superior’ rating for crash prevention from IIHS. A backup camera is standard.
Against luxury sedans such as the Acura TLX, Audi A4 and Volvo S60, the Regal is good value as a fully loaded Regal GS AWD tops out at less than $45,000. The base model starts at just over $27,000, but you’ll need about $31,000 to get a better-equipped version with the 2.0-liter turbo.
Resale value is mid-pack among its rivals. The Regal is a slow-seller compared to Buick’s other models and isn’t as common on lots, but substantial discounts can still be had.
Overshadowed by rivals that don’t have to carry the stigma of being called a Buick Regal, this is a well-rounded car and a good value. Those who want something more Germanic than an Acura TLX and more affordable than an Audi A4 would do well to check out the Regal, especially in the GS trim.