2014 Buick Regal GS
2014 Buick Regal GS
2014 Buick Regal GS. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Until 2010, it’s not likely you’d have seen “Buick” and “European sport sedan” in the same sentence, but when GM tapped its German Opel subsidiary in mid-2010 to bring the mid-sized Insignia sedan to North America, renaming it the next-generation Regal, Buick suddenly became a player in the mid-size “premium sporty” sedan class (the 2009 Opel Insignia was named European Car of the Year).  All of a sudden, Buick was back on the map competing with premium front-wheel-drive sport sedans like the Acura TSX, Audi A4 2.0T, Volvo S60 T5, Nissan Maxima, and Volkswagen CC.

The 2011 Regal, particularly the turbocharged model, added taut European styling, exciting performance and athletic driving dynamics to Buick’s stable.  It was a game-changer for Buick’s ‘Geritol’ image and after three years on the market, Buick’s Director of Product Marketing, Roger McCormick, says that the Regal is now attracting a larger percentage of new customers from other import sedans:  44 percent of current Regal buyers are ‘conquest’ customers who switched from the Regal’s competitors, says McCormick.

To attract even more import buyers, the redesigned 2014 Regal has been given some upgrades to improve its poor-weather performance, safety, fuel economy, and in-car infotainment. Highlights include the availability of a new all-wheel-drive system in all trim levels (with automatic transmission only), an all-new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine with better fuel economy and reduced NVH, improved handling and braking, refreshed styling, a revised interior design and next generation infotainment system, and more active safety systems like blind spot and lane departure warnings.

Model year 2014 pricing has dropped significantly while content has been upgraded.  The base front-wheel-drive 2014 Regal comes with a new 259-hp turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine (not the same as the old one) for a base price of $33,095, down from its 2013 MSRP of $36,845 (not including manufacturer’s rebates).  The carryover 182-hp 2.4L naturally aspirated four-cylinder motor with eAssist (a 115-volt lithium-ion battery assists the engine to reduce fuel consumption) is still available in 2014, but only in front-wheel-drive Regals equipped with the Premium 1 option package: its MSRP is $34,725.

2014 Buick Regal GS2014 Buick Regal GS
2014 Buick Regal GS. Click image to enlarge

Last year’s Regal Turbo designation has been discontinued, leaving the uplevel Regal GS trim, now starting at $40,650, down from $41,455 (complete pricing at the end of this article).  The turbo engine is offered with FWD or AWD in all trim levels.  A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines but an optional six-speed manual transmission is available only in the Regal GS FWD.

Our driving location for the new Regal was in northern Kentucky’s rolling hills, where the well-maintained, pothole-free asphalt secondary roads and wide, uncrowded freeways were like going to Driving Heaven.  We spent about four hours behind the wheel of a front-wheel-drive Regal GS with manual transmission and an all-wheel-drive GS with automatic tranny.  Buick did not have any Regals available with the economical eAssist 2.4L motor as it seems to have been relegated to backburner status.

By the way, if you ever get a chance to drive in Kentucky, do it.  Kentucky is in the sweet spot between the frosty north and the asphalt-melting south; or at least that’s what I was told.

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