2011 Buick Regal. Click image to enlarge
Vehicle Type: Mid-size Sedan
History/Description: Some seven years after the moniker was last ditched, Buick brought back the Regal nameplate to inject some sporty and youthful flare into their product lineup with the goal of attracting a younger shopper to the brand.
With European underpinnings, a long list of safety features, sporty suspension tuning and a high-efficiency four-cylinder engine, the Regal had the right stuff for the job. A fresh new cabin helped round out the package.
All models were four-door, front-drive and powered by a four-cylinder engine. Available feature content included navigation, a potent Harman Kardon stereo system upgrade, heated leather, xenon lights, automatic climate control, full multimedia connectivity, Bluetooth and plenty more.
Interesting technologies were available or standard across the Regal lineup, too. For instance, Direct Injection technology was standard, allowing the engine to crank out more power using less fuel. An Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) was available on higher-end models to help match the personality of the car with the personality of the driver. Normal, Tour and Sport settings could be selected on the fly to instantly alter throttle sensitivity, steering effort, suspension firmness and even transmission shift patterns.
Engines / Trim: In 2011, Regal was only offered in a CXL trim grade. At launch, Regal shipped with a 2.4L direct-injected four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission as its exclusive powertrain team. This engine is a member of GM’s Ecotec family, features lightweight aluminum construction, variable valve timing, aggressive deceleration fuel cut-off, and is noted for turning in very respectable real-world fuel mileage.
Approaching and entering 2012, several more powertrain options were available. A six-speed manual joined the six-speed automatic transmission in the gearbox roster on select models, and a 2.0L turbo engine was added as well.
This world-class Ecotec Turbo engine generated 220 horsepower in the Regal Turbo, and pushed that figure up to 270 in the high-performance Regal GS. This model came complete with suspension, brake and chassis upgrades to handle the demands of performance motoring.
Finally, an eAssist light electrification system was added to the lineup as well. Giving shoppers a premium option to save fuel, eAssist works like a simple hybrid system, generating power when braking, auto-stopping at traffic lights, and assisting the Regal’s acceleration during sportier driving. The eAssist system was paired with the 2.4L non-turbo engine.
Buick Regal, 2011–2013. Click image to enlarge
What Owners Like: Highly rated by owners are the Regal’s handling, ride quality, performance with the turbo engine, noise levels, seats and overall responsiveness. The luxurious cabin appointments, stereo system and powertrain refinement were also rated highly. Overall value seemed to get owners into showrooms, while the driving feel of the new Regal largely sealed the deal. On a past test drive of a 2011 Regal, I noted excellent fuel economy after some 2,000 kilometres at the wheel.
What Owners Dislike: Some owners wish for easier entry and exit, which is likely a function of the shape of the Regal’s sloped roof. Rear space isn’t friendly for larger adults, and performance from the non-turbo engine is frequently rated as adequate and nothing more.
Note that virtually any used Regal you might be considering in the used market will still carry some portion of the brand’s extensive powertrain warranty – though a few checks are still advised.
Any model exhibiting a rough idle should be checked out by a GM-trained mechanic. Initial reports on owner’s forums like buickforums.com are still unclear as to where the issue stems from, but indicate that it is likely fuel-system related – possibly caused by the fuel pump itself.