Test Drive: 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD car test drives luxury cars buick
Test Drive: 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD car test drives luxury cars buick
Test Drive: 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD car test drives luxury cars buick
Test Drive: 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD car test drives luxury cars buick
2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Well, this has to be the longest official name for a car that I’ve ever encountered: 2014 Buick Regal 2.0 Turbo Premium II 4-Door Sedan AWD. It’s specific, I’ll give it that!

The current-generation Buick Regal was introduced in 2011 and is based on the European Opel Insignia sedan. Designed to go head-to-head in North America with European sports sedans, it remained pretty much unchanged through model years 2012 and 2013. The 2014 model features some significant differences, however, headed by a new engine that’s standard across the range.

The 2014 Regal’s 2.0L, four-cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged engine is the same as that found in the Cadillac ATS, although it is actually tuned for more overall power than the Cadillac. With 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the 2014 Turbo models gain 39 hp and 35 lb-ft torque over the outgoing equivalent Regals (the top-of-the-line GS loses a few horsepower, however). There is also an e-assist option available, but only with a front-wheel drive Regal.

Which until 2014, was the only drivetrain available for Regals, and is the second big change for this model year. Now you can order your Regal with Haldex all-wheel drive (AWD), enabling Regal prospects to more closely compare the car to its AWD competition. It’s a good system, too. Primarily operating in front-wheel drive, the Haldex system is fully automatic, on-demand, and uses an electronic limited-slip rear differential to better manage wheel-slip. Sensors detect wheel speed and steering angle, among other indicators, enabling the system to send over 90-percent of torque to the rear wheels when required. The AWD models also arrive with a performance-oriented front suspension which “offers more linear and communicative steering,” according to General Motors, and “improved impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces.”

The entry-level price for a 2014 Buick Regal AWD is $37,075 (includes $1,700 freight/PDI), which supplies smart 18-inch alloy wheels, dual automatic climate control, Bluetooth interface, leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote controls, leather seat trim, power driver’s seat, fog lights, rear vision camera and seven-speaker audio with satellite radio as standard equipment. It’s a well-equipped car, but there’s much more available.

Our Turbo Premium ll model has a higher base price ($41,295 includes freight/PDI) which nets additional standard features, but it also included Driver Confidence Packages 1 and 2 at $1,565 and $1,835 respectively, along with the $1,395 sunroof which raised its overall price to $46,090.

The additional standard features are several, and included bi-xenon headlights, ultrasonic parking assist, keyless access, HomeLink wireless control, nine-speaker Bose audio, navigation system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated steering wheel.

The Driver Confidence Packages focus mainly on camera and radar-based safety technologies, featuring a Blind Spot system, Forward and Rear Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Following Distance Sensor Indicator in Package 1, and Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Prevention in Package 2.

Note that when you select Driver Confidence Package 1 you must also select the sunroof. I don’t know why the two are related, but there you go.

I must admit that I’ve been lukewarm to the new Buicks however, mainly I think because I bring a residual antipathy to the brand due to its former incarnation as a vehicle for senior citizens. I like the new Regal, but my dilemma is that I’m not sure whether actually moving toward senior citizenry is making Buicks more appealing, or whether it’s the Buicks that are changing for the better.

Test Drive: 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD car test drives luxury cars buick Test Drive: 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD car test drives luxury cars buick
2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD dashboard. Click image to enlarge

I reckon it’s the latter, although I still think the name “Regal” is a bit pompous and the hood nostrils (vestigial Buick portholes, I think) unnecessary. That said, the new headlamps, wheels, and more understated grille simply make the Regal  better-looking, and the car’s proportions and shape seem trimmer and more athletic because of them.

Inside, the favourable impression continues. A new instrument panel centre stack features an eight-inch colour touch screen display, and there’s a new steering wheel with a range of remote controls. The instrument cluster (major and minor gauges) is also new and the whole effect is simpler, tidier, smarter (the new centre stack radio controls have seven buttons, as opposed to the previous 17, for instance).

There’s still a bit too much chrome inside for me, but if chrome can be understated, I guess this is. Something to note, however is that the wood and metal trim is, in fact, simulated. If you’re buying from GM, you have to head up to a new Cadillac for the real stuff.

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