Buick Regal CXL Turbo
Power: 220hp, 258 lb.-ft.
Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged Inline 4
Fuel Consumption: 18 city, 29 highway
Price as tested: $35,185
March Madness has once again gone out like a husky, but Buick’s latest “Your Kind of Luxury” campaign—a tagline launched in commercials aired during the NCAA tournament—is just a pup. I got behind the wheel of the 2011 Regal CXL Turbo, a car built around the premise that a penchant for nice things shouldn't necessarily get your labled an a-hole, to see if if driving one would make me any less of a likeable guy.
If the name Regal implies royalty, then the 2011 reincarnate is Harry, not William. Sporting a facade that may fly under the radar of most gawkers, the sedan still manages to come across as modern, refined, and as a car that knows how to have a good time. Clean and astute from head-on and profile views, the Regal shows the most character from a rear three-quarter angle—a stance which best highlights its unique diving design line that runs fender to fender. Rolling through an H-Town overrun with college hoop fans young and old, I can’t say I sensed all eyes on me, but I did feel smart and confident stepping out of its relaxed cabin nonetheless.
Caring too much about what others think is, of course, what gets you sucked into the trap of typical “me too” luxury. So before I got caught up in the high-rolling nature of Houston’s Galleria district, I decided to leave town. Navigating through the Regal’s rotary-controlled central command center proved simple and self-explanatory. Though not quite as fluid in nature as the BMW and Audi systems it’s fashioned after, the console proved more than adequate in responding to my commands. In no time, we were on our way to Galveston, TX and the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas isn’t known for an abundance of curves or switchbacks in its many miles of road, but in fairness, the Regal lays no claim of being a canyon-carver. About the best I could find were some long, sweeping highway ramps to push its boundaries of handling. And while its steering was a bit too loose to belligerently dip into a curve, the tires of the midsize sedan stayed planted, with minimal body roll. Still, the best part of the process hands down, was accelerating out of the curve with the help of the 2.0L turbocharged engine. Taking a play from the book of another domestic competitor, the CXL Turbo version of the Regal exploits a forced-induction four-cylinder to achieve V6 performance figures, while delivering more socially acceptable fuel economy numbers. Is it a claim it delivers on? The answer is a wholehearted yes. On the open highway is where this midsize shines. On a 3-hour tour under some heavy-footed circumstances, the needle of the fuel gauge barely budged; and in the comfort of the car’s handsomely leather-clad seats, the time seemed to fly by at a pace quicker than the car itself.
Overall, the Regal CXL Turbo is a solid, well-rounded Sedan that delivers handsome good looks and adequate power, alongside ownership costs that won’t break you at the bank or the pump. Is it the understated, everyday luxury Buick seems to be aiming for? They shoot, they score.