2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD
2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD
2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD
2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD

2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jeff Wilson

Buick’s marketing mavens proclaim the Regal is “a luxury for those who love to drive,” suggesting rather boldly that they aim to compete with some of the stalwarts of the category. The Volkswagen CC, Ford Fusion or Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S60 and Audi A4 are a few that come immediately to mind.

These competitors are each fashionably styled, feature front-wheel-drive-based power delivery (with all-wheel drive available) and are propelled by a turbocharged four-cylinder, just like the Regal. Yet despite the on-paper numbers, features and amenities, Buick’s mid-size, luxury sport sedan (sporty luxo-sedan?) has proven to be a highly contentious point of discussion in our Autos.ca forum.

One could spend hours trolling through the pages of argumentative discourse presented by forum visitors ranging from the Regal’s merits to simple bashing of all-things General Motors. Names were called; feelings hurt; and tears surely shed on the keyboards.

I’d love to tell you that I’m here to blow the whistle and bring peace to this discussion, but what fun would that be? Rather, I expect my experiences with the updated 2014 Regal Turbo AWD will fan the flames of dispute on both sides of the coin.

Here’s why…

I’m going to start by telling you that the Regal Turbo AWD is a really good car. Seriously. It delivers on Buick’s promise of being a wholly capable and rewarding car to drive, yet offers up all the modern amenities one would expect in an entry level luxury machine. But there are a few caveats that will give the Buick nay-sayers some fodder.

This year Buick’s Intellilink infotainment system gets plus-sized from seven inches to eight and features the colourful iconography and slick functionality we’ve seen across GM’s various applications of this system. Features like being able to type an entire address in one box (rather than “House Number”, then “Street”, then “City” and so on) make one wonder why everyone doesn’t do it that way. The nine-speaker Bose audio tied into this system provides decent sound, if not on par with some of the best of the competitors in terms of sound clarity and depth.

The Intellilink system did exhibit a few interruptions to its intelligence. For one, it refused to transmit sound from my iPod to the speakers. And on a single occasion I pulled nose-first into a straight-through parking space and the Intellilink system went black except for the back-up sensor lines shown on the screen. Umm-kay. Weird.

The styling of the interior is well executed. It’s not a big stretch to imagine sitting in the same conservative but classy interior while driving down European highways, almost as if it had come from some German-based GM subsidiary… oh wait, it did, thank you, Opel.

2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD
2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD. Click image to enlarge

If I’m to nit-pick though, the same pale greeny-blue lighting that’s been a staple in Chevys and Buicks all through the dark decades of the General shows up again here to cheapen things around the speedo and tach. On up-level GS trim cars, a full 8-inch configurable screen is available to replace those dated-looking dials.

The heated steering wheel looks good and feels good in hand, and the rest of the driver controls make good sense and are easily within reach except for the new-for-2014 haptic controls for climate and seat heaters. This gimmicky addition required at least two finger pushes to get any action and with gloves on, usually four or five pushes before any response. What’s wrong with a simple, functional toggle or button?

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