Buick Regal TourX — A modern wagon

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Buick once made the large station wagon a staple of the American highways before it went out of style in favor of minivans and then crossover SUVs. But if you like the utility of a crossover, but still yearn for a sedan-like vehicle, than the modern mid-sized station wagon might be the answer, and Buick might just have your number with its new Regal TourX.

The TourX, with standard all-wheel drive, is one of the newest entries in a small sub-segment of go-anywhere wagons approaching near-luxury status at an affordable starting price with a load of available amenities, room for four adult passengers as well as 32.7 cubic feet of their luggage, and a healthy 73.5 cubic feet of cargo space when hauling stuff is the order of the day. Buick says the TourX has more overall cargo space than the Volvo V60 Cross Country, Audi A4 Allroad, BMW 3-series Sport Wagon and the Subaru Outback.

As an added attraction, standard equipment on every TourX includes push-button start and entry, Hill Start Assist, 10 air bags, universal home remote, heated side mirrors, OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and five years of the OnStar basic plan.

With only a slightly raised ride height, the TourX is more a rain/snow-covered road type of car than a true off-roader giving buyer’s cargo room and bad-weather driving confidence that people expect from a crossover SUV. In addition, the TourX offers a comfortable ride, quiet interior and a fair measure of handling and balance. The bottom line — you don't have to give up the comfort of a sedan to get most of the characteristics of a crossover.

The Regal TourX comes in three trim levels — base, Preferred and Essence — starting at $29,995. The Preferred trim starts at $33,595, and the Essence begins at $35,995.

All TourX models are powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 250 horsepower in addition to 295 pound-feet of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic. People wishing for an optional V-6 are out of luck, but they will find the four-banger provides adequate forward momentum even under a full load of people and cargo. It can propel the Buick from 0-to-60 in about six-and-one-half seconds and does a good job in merging on a limited access highway and passing on a two-lane road. We did find that the automatic needs some coaxing to downshift when demanded by the right foot. Buick has sai
d it will soon replace the 8-speed with GM's newer 9-speed shifter and that should resolve that issue.

We found the steering quick and accurate with a good on-center feel, an area where the TourX shines compared to a typical mid-sized crossover. At the same time, steering assist amps up at slower speeds, good for parking lot maneuverability. The TourX surprised us on our usual winding back-road "test track" displaying excellent cornering prowess.

The interior layout is handsome with a handful of physical buttons for most often-used features such as radio volume and climate control. The center screen includes large icons that bring up clear information that can be used with a minimum of distraction while driving. It's relatively easy moving from one screen to another. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a base Bose audio system are standard equipment.

It proved easy to find a comfortable driving position and the seats offer a wide variety of power adjustments, with tilting lower cushions and power lumbar. The steering column tilts and telescopes with good range. The doors open wide for easy entry and exit, but the sloping roof may force a taller passenger to duck his head getting into the car. Rear seat legroom is adequate for adults.

Standard safety features include the usual array of airbags, rearview camera, and tire pressure monitor, but we don't think the TourX with its near-luxury persona goes far enough in offering standard safety equipment To get some key safety equipment such as blind spot warning with cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control you must add Driver Confidence Packages costing $1,240 in the Preferred trim and $1,725 in the Essence trim.

Our Essence test car came with a power liftgate, upgraded 8-inch touchscreen (a 7-inch screen is standard), Wi-Fi hot spot, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, a cabin air cleaner/ionizer, heated front seats, and dual climate control. We missed out on the upgraded Bose sound system and some of the safety features we mentioned above. The only option on our test car was a panoramic sunroof at $1,200. Bottom line was $37,195.

Base price: $29,995; as driven, $37,195
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 250 @ 5,400 rpm
Torque: 295 pound-feet @ 3.000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 111.4 inches
Length: 196.3 inches
Curb weight: 3,849 pounds
Turning circle: 40.0 feet
Luggage capacity: 32.7 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 73.5 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 16.3 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 21 city, 29 highway, 24 combined
0-60: 6.5 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Subaru Outback, Audi A4 Allroad, Volvo V60 Cross Country

The Good
• Scads of cargo space
• Strong turbocharged engine
• Handsome interior
• All-wheel drive standard

The Bad
• More ground clearance needed

The Ugly
• Key safety features not standard