2018 Buick Regal Review

2018 Buick Regal - The 2018 Buick Regal GS is a nice blend of sportiness and luxury.


Pros - Knockout styling. Generally fast. Decent roadability. Nice ride. Roomy. All-wheel drive.

Cons -
Could use more power. Needs more aggressive shifting.

Bottom Line - Great coast-to-coast cruiser.

Many forget, or never have known, that Buick built fast upscale muscle cars in the 1960s and early 1970s and that its 1987 Buick GNX could out accelerate a Chevy Corvette. Now we have the 2018 Buick Regal GS, which is loosely derived with major modifications from the worthy German Insignia model.

The $39,990 GS is a sensational looking, roomy all-wheel drive hatchback sedan. It's got a 3.6-liter V-6 that kicks out 310 horsepower and 282 pound/feet of torque on its way from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in about 6 seconds. While hardly slow, it's no hot rod because it weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. A turbocharger or supercharger would be appropriate to accompany the go-fast styling.

You see, Buick is walking a fine line here between offering a rakish looking but sporty car for younger buyers and one that would satisfy older late-model Buick buyers.

The low-slung mid-size GS has everything from prominent fascia scoops to cool its hefty brakes to distinctive lower rocker panels, sexy chromed dual exhaust outlets and diffuser-enhanced rear fascia. The 19-inch wheels and red-painted Brembo front brake calipers and subtle rear spoiler contribute to the car's sexy looks.

The especially large trunk seems as if from a big 1960s family sedan, although the hatch with its huge rear window is quite heavy. (At least there's a large interior grab handle to help close it.) Split folding rear seatbacks sit flat and significantly increase cargo space.

There's plenty of room in the quiet interior for four tall adults, or for five on shorter trips. I rode in the rear seat for a few miles while the GS was being driven aggressively by a (very big and tall) auto journalist, but never felt uncomfortable back there.

The extra-supportive heated and ventilated front seats look as if yanked from a Corvette and liven up the rather bland-looking interior, which has a lot of average-looking plastic. I didn't have time to fool with the car's 8-inch dashboard touch screen, but felt that the redundant dashboard manual controls for the HIV system and such are a good idea.    

The engine shoots power through a new General Motors 9-speed automatic transmission with no paddle shifters that could use more aggressive shift mapping-the gearbox wants to upshift as early as possible, hurting acceleration. However, the shift strategy allows the GS to provide fairly decent fuel economy. It's an estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on highways.

A driver can select one of three drive modes via console buttons that go from Normal to Sport to GS. You'll get the best response from the GS mode, which sharpens the car's reflexes up a bit, but Normal mode is best for regular driving.

Keeping the GS glued to the road are its all-wheel drive system and twin clutch torque-vectoring rear differential, which helps the car glide securely through curves taken briskly. Push too hard in turns, though, and the car's weight can be felt. Steering is quick, and the brake pedal has a progressive feel.

Continuously damping control shock absorbers help deliver the sort of smooth ride most have come to expect from Buick and help control pitch and roll.

Safety features include plenty of air bags.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.  Options include rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert and side blind-zone alert.

In all, the Regal GS is a great-looking ride that's easy to live with, but it's no sports sedan.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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