Stick Shift: 2018 Regal TourX

Sliding in behind the wheel of the new Buick Regal TourX, I realize that I don’t really have any idea what to expect here. I haven’t had the chance to experience much from Buick. Selling enough cars globally to be GM’s number two brand period, Buick is big enough that it could never completely fall of anyones radar. But its never been big enough as a pure luxury brand to fully share the glowing spotlight with the likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes or Lexus even.

The more time I spend with the new Regal though, the more I suspect that this is precisely Buicks’ goal. A kind of “attainable luxury.” Much of the Buick line falls right in the middle of an interesting kind of “white space” in the market. Where many high priced cars achieve high luxury and low volume, and others aim at low price, low luxury but big sales volume, Buick is attempting to be right in the middle.

With the new Regal TourX, I’d say mission accomplished. Priced at just over $40,000, a mere $3,000 more than a Subaru Outback, the Regal has redefined what I’ve thought of the Buick brand for quite some time. An obvious goal of the design team was to give the Regal a sort of sculpted beauty. In this, they’ve been successful. The Regal TourX looks great. With soft features and a face that reminded me a little of an Audi or Volvo mix, with its own unique take of course. The TourX is dripping crossover appeal, which is still an underserved auto segment that seems to only be growing in popularity. Serving plenty of rugged refinement, there’s nothing geriatric or boring about it. little details abound, like a chrome stripe that runs unbroken, across the roofline, all the way back to the taillights. This same roofline is lower and longer, with low profile roof rakes to facilitate loading kayaks, bikes and whatever else you may need for your active lifestyle.

This is a car that caters to the active adventurer. It’s got a decent amount of ground clearance. It comes with an incredible amount of cargo space, 73.5 cubic ft to be exact, which is well beyond the competition. An impressive twin clutch and Buicks most advanced AWD system comes standard, delivering sophisticated torque vectoring to the wheels to balance out power delivery when traction varies from tire to tire. All of this combines to create a vehicle that isn’t afraid to tackle most road conditions with confidence, however slippery or unstable things get.

The inside feels more luxurious than the price tag would suggest. Everything is power adjustable, there’s a panoramic sunroof that never seems to end, generous use of soft leather and a commanding 8” touchscreen infotainment center hosting Car Play and Android Auto. Attractive ambient lighting on the inside helps up the ante even further. Seats offer good support and plenty of comfort. The steering wheel is heated and leather wrapped, and the graphics behind it look great and are well implemented.

To help keep road noise down, Buick uses active noise cancellation technology. While this approach to noise management is becoming more and more common amongst luxury brands, Buick takes it a step further and has filled the tires with foam insulation. This extra step is an important one to keep tire noise to a minimum. It sounds easy enough, though I’m sure it’s not. Powering the Regal TourX is the increasingly popular and sporty 2.0L turbo four. Paired to an active 8-speed automatic transmission, it delivers good power at a moments notice and exaggerates all the right turbo suck squish bang blow noises we love. I could tell it was loving our cooler temperatures.

In an automotive market where we often have to choose between a great car at a price too high, or not breaking the bank but settling too much, the Buick Regal TourX strikes a remarkable compromise. The list of safety and luxury features is long. It looks great, rides smooth, and with all that cargo capacity, can tackle most tasks with ease. Buick has marketed it as the vehicle that can satisfy every need and scratch every itch. Why have two cars in the garage when one can do the job of both? Fill it with suitcases and children for a road trip, kayaks and camping gear for a few nights in the woods, grocery bags or soccer equipment for the daily activities of a modern family. Everything while still feeling pampered and unique.

By: Brandon Randall

Price as tested: $41,155.00

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