Surprise — 2018 Buick Regal no longer a sedan

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 22, 2017) Buick’s new Regal lineup for 2018 is a bit of a surprise. Instead of selling just an Audi A4-sized sedan this time, Buick decided to drop the sedan altogether, and replace it with a hatchback with coupe overtones. And, if that wasn’t enough, it took the plunge and added a high-riding station wagon in the mold of Audi’s A4 Allroad to the mix.

The thought being that adding ride height and all-wheel drive will eliminate the animus buyers seem to have for station wagons.

Let’s start with the Regal Sportback, whose body structure is a surprising 200 pounds lighter than that of the car it replaces. Sitting on a three-inch longer wheelbase, the Sportback offers a larger interior, 60.7 cu.ft. of cargo area with the back seats folded down (31.5 cu.ft. with them up), and the option of all-wheel drive.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four producing 250 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque that sends its power through a nine-speed automatic transmission and to the front wheels. Adding AWD ups the torque output to 295 lb.-ft., and swaps an eight-speed automatic for the nine-speed. AWD models get a new five-link independent rear suspension.

On the safety front, the Regal Sportback is the first Buick to offer an active hood to protect pedestrians in accidents. If the car’s sensors determine there will be an imminent impact with a pedestrian at speeds between 16 and 30 mph, a pyrotechnic actuator is triggered to lift the rear of the hood up nearly four inches. This reduces injuries by increasing the separation between the pedestrian and hard points under the hood.

There are two available Driver Confidence packages on the 2018 Sportback. The first adds Lane Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist. The second package builds on the first by adding Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Automatic Braking.

In addition, every model comes standard with push-button start and entry, Hill Start Assist, 10 airbags, a universal home remote, 7.0-in. infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and heated outside mirrors.

The high riding TourX crossover wagon is 3.4 inches longer than its Sportback counterpart, and has 73.5 cu.ft. of cargo space when the rear seats are folded flat. (There’s 32.7 cu.ft. when the seats are up, only 1.2 cu.ft. more than the Sportback in similar trim.) It has a hands-free power hatch that, on upper trim levels, features a standard lamp in the Buick logo that illuminates the ground beneath the hatch’s sensor. Plus, it comes standard with all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic, and a 250 hp/295 lb.-ft. of torque 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

As you might expect, the TourX has all of the same features and options as the Sportback, but offers three trim levels instead of four. Pricing for Buick’s new Regals will be set closer to when they go on-sale in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Virtual Driver