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All Hatch All the Time: We Drive Buick’s 2018 Regal Sportback, TourX, and GS

By: · July 19, 2017

2018 Buick Regal TourX, 2018 Buick Regal Sportback, and 2018 Bui

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The new 2018 Buick Regal lineup throws the conventional sedan body style out the window in favor of a trio of more compelling options: the Regal Sportback and the Regal GS, both hatchbacks, and the Regal TourX wagon. Even though these Regals continue to share much with the Europe-market Opel Insignia, these redesigned versions aim for new territory and push Buick a bit further upscale. We got a chance to wring out pre-production examples of each of these new Regals on a ride-and-handling test loop. Here are our first impressions from the brief seat time C/D had in each version.

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2018 Buick Regal Sportback

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Regal Sportback: Middle of the Road

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Don’t be misled by the swoopy lines or the word Sport in its name, because the standard 2018 Regal is not an overtly sporting machine. Its front-wheel-drive chassis is shared with the Chevrolet Malibu (all-wheel drive is optional), and it doesn’t feel all that different from the 2.0T-equipped Malibu. If anything, the Regal is tuned to be a bit softer than the Chevy, with light, overboosted steering and a compliant ride that verges on floatiness over larger bumps. At least the brake pedal is firm and confidence-inspiring. The front-wheel-drive version we drove accelerated strongly, with the 2.0-liter turbo four providing plenty of midrange grunt and the nine-speed automatic transmission shifting quickly and smoothly (an eight-speed automatic is standard in all-wheel-drive models).

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2018 Buick Regal TourX

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Regal TourX: Practical and Placid

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Predictably, the longer and heavier TourX wagon feels a bit more ponderous than the Regal Sportback. But with even fewer sporting pretensions, the TourX has a calm demeanor that is fitting for this wagon that is chasing crossover shoppers. It should be a pleasant road-trip machine, thanks to a quiet cabin and a nicely settled ride. The somewhat plain interior with plenty of ordinary-looking plastic trim won’t worry Audi or Mercedes-Benz designers, but the controls are well laid out, and the seats are comfortable. The TourX is also remarkably spacious and versatile, with a capacious rear seat and tons of cargo space. The 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks also fold easily and create a completely flat load floor. Wagons FTW!

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Regal GS: That’s More Like It

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While the Sportback name might not be the best descriptor for the base Regal, the GS’s numerous performance tweaks live up to its promise on paper. The 3.6-liter V-6 is eager to rev and sounds throaty, while the nine-speed automatic is programmed intelligently and always seems to be in the right gear. Paddle shifters are a notable omission, but at least the transmission won’t shift on its own in manual mode. The steering is weighted much more heavily than in the Sportback and offers better on-center feel and sharper turn-in. The standard adaptive dampers help the GS feel considerably more buttoned down through bumpy corners. Outright grip from the all-season rubber could be better; disappointingly, Buick says it won’t offer summer tires as an option, but, then again, the Regal isn’t a track car by any means.

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Although we’ve only just gotten a taste of these new Buicks, we’ll have a chance to spend more time with the 2018 Regal lineup before they go on sale. The Regal Sportback will arrive at dealerships first, going on sale this fall with a starting price of $25,915; the $29,995 TourX and the $39,995 GS will follow it by a few months.

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2018-Buick-Regal-GS-REVEAL-REEL

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