If you like the looks of this stylish mid-size sport sedan you can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that it’s not getting cancelled anytime soon. Of course, considering the sheer number of…

2019 Buick Regal GS Road Test

2019 Buick Regal GS
This is the new face of Buick, and it’s a particularly handsome one at that. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

If you like the looks of this stylish mid-size sport sedan you can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that it’s not getting cancelled anytime soon. Of course, considering the sheer number of four- and five-door models currently getting axed by General Motors, and the fact that its European Opel and Vauxhall Insignia twins will soon need to disappear due to an August 2017 sale of the two brands to France’s Groupe PSA, it’s quite possible we’ll see this change at some point in the future (our Regal is manufactured in Rüsselsheim, Germany after all), but a 2020 Buick Regal is slated to go on sale shortly, so at the very least we’ll enjoy it for another year. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The Regal’s elegant lines come standard, but this GS model’s sportier additions really make it stand out. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I use the word “enjoy” because this mid-size near-luxury sedan is truly a joy to look at, and possibly even better to drive. It helps that my tester was in top-line GS trim, and therefore is one of the mid-size family sedan segment’s sportier cars. It’s also not technically a sedan, but rather a five-door hatchback, Buick choosing to call it a Sportback. As a quick side note they make a raised five-door sport wagon/crossover variant (à la Subaru Outback and Volvo V90 Cross Country) for the U.S. (and Euro markets, plus Australia and New Zealand where the two body styles are sold as the Holden Commodore) dubbed TourX, but just like in China where Buick finds its most ardent followers (and builds its Regal at the SAIC-GM assembly plant in Shanghai), we only get this four-door coupe-like sedan. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
In a rare feat of design mastery, the Regal’s rear angle looks just as good as its front. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Despite its attractive styling and strong performance, the Regal is either one of the least popular cars from a mainstream volume brand or a fairly strong selling luxury model, depending on how you categorize it. With a base price of $32,045 (plus destination and fees), most competitors start $3,000 to $7,000 more affordably, while similarly priced mid-size sedans from volume brands do about the same or worse when it comes to sales numbers. Still, the Regal doesn’t quite measure up to premium status or refinement levels (GM’s Cadillac division occupies that space), so the unique model’s market exclusivity is understandable (see all 2019 Buick Regal pricing at CarCostCanada, where you can also find out about available rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands). 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The red “GS” insignia and LED headlamps come standard with this top-tier model. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The Regal GS pictured here starts at a cool $44,045 plus freight and fees and goes up to $51,700 with all options (and a couple of cool accessories added), which while a steal compared to a comparatively sized and equipped premium-branded model, is a fair jump up the desirability ladder from a fully loaded Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Ford Fusion, the top-three sellers in this category, but its fully loaded price is just $205 more than a completely optioned out Kia Stinger and actually $1,880 less than VW’s new Arteon with all features added. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The design details are fabulous! (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Granted the top-tier Stinger is a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6-powered AWD super-beast capable of hitting 100 km/h from standstill in just 4.9 seconds, but the 310-horsepower Regal GS’ is plenty respectable at 5.6 seconds from zero to 100km/h, which is (believe it or not) better than the legendary Regal Grand National GNX and about the same as the 265-horsepower Arteon, which is 300 kilos (about 660 lbs) lighter. These acceleration times are estimates, of course, with some manufacturers more conservative than others, Buick seeming not to want to set anyone’s hopes too high considering the GS’ 3.6-litre V6 engine’s generous power rating, not to mention its 282 lb-ft of torque. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
Yes, you’re looking at Brembo brakes behind those sharp looking 19-inch rims. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Of course, there’s a lot more that makes each of these impressive cars worthy of your attention, and much that sets them apart from their more conventional family sedan peers. I won’t turn this review into a full-scale comparison review, despite recently testing all of the above for a week at a time, but rather will concentrate on the Regal GS and occasionally point out strengths and weaknesses compared to its key rivals. 

As far as styling goes, each respectably holds its own. I find the Regal is thoroughly attractive, but admit my appreciation for its classic lines and overall elegance may have something to do with my 50-something age. On looks alone I could understand why someone would fall for it, especially when enhanced with GS trim details. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
These elegant LED taillights are standard. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

These upgrades start with bold red italicized “GS” block letters on the otherwise glossy black mesh grille insert framed by a gloss-black grille surround that’s all underscored by yet more of the shiny, inky brightwork on lower fascia. The same piano black treatment highlights the lower side window trim and rear apron, this sporty look complemented by aluminum-like trim on the grille, corner grillettes, upper window surrounds, and exhaust. A subtle body-colour rear deck spoiler and modified rear bumper finish off the performance-oriented design. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The interior is a mix of awesome sport-oriented upgrades plus fit and finish that comes up a bit short. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Climb inside and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Buick is channeling the ghost of Pontiac, as you’ll immediately be greeted by two of the most aggressive looking sport seats in the Regal’s class, not to mention a contrast-stitched, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel to match, complete with a slightly flattened bottom for extra verve. I wouldn’t say the latter is as impeccably shaped as the Arteon’s superbly crafted wheel, or for that matter the Stinger’s paddle shifter-enhanced rim, but they all do much better than average in this family-friendly segment. Like the others (i.e. glossy black plastic is hardly original), Buick adds some additional splashes of piano black lacquer trim here, a bit of carbon weave-like adornment there, plus aluminized and chromed accents elsewhere, and voila, you’ve got a sport sedan. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The Regal’s interior design is conventional, but the GS spiffs things up with a nice sport steering wheel. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

A smart looking partially digital gauge cluster with a red GS insignia emblazoned within the 4.2-inch digitized centre speedometer portion reminds that we’re in Buick’s quickest car, a graphic than can be swapped with plenty of useful features by flicking the steering wheel controls. 

Over on the centre stack is the latest version of Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment interface, residing within a very nice high-resolution 8.0-inch touchscreen. The circular aqua-green on black graphics are attractive and a bit more upscale looking than the bright, colourful Apple-style design in the Regal’s Chevy Malibu counterpart, fitting for the Buick’s older and slightly wealthier target clientele. It’s certainly an easy system to use and once again filled to the brim with helpful features, from a large, clear backup camera with dynamic guidelines, to a navigation system with easy-to-input, accurate route guidance with detailed mapping, plus all the usual audio features including HD/satellite radio and Bluetooth streaming, phone and text message info/readouts, another panel for OnStar, a big interface for the dual-zone automatic climate control system, and more. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The gauge cluster includes a large colour multi-info display at centre. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

A separate HVAC panel just below provides quicker-access analogue controls for the same, not to mention switchgear for the three-way heated and cooled front seats, while other features not yet mentioned that came with my Regal GS tester included a heatable steering wheel rim, a head-up display atop the dash, adaptive cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and driver’s side mirror, two-way driver’s seat memory, leather upholstery, eight-speaker Bose audio, wireless charging, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a powered moonroof, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, remote engine start, auto-leveling LED headlamps with cornering capability, 19-inch alloy wheels with grey-painted pockets, front and rear parking sensors, and much more. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The centre stack is nicely sorted, and the infotainment system excellent. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Buick also includes a host of advanced driver assistance and safety features, such as autonomous forward braking with collision alert and pedestrian detection, blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, plus Buick’s first active hood pedestrian safety system that raises the rear portion of the hood by 100 mm (3.9 inches) to lessen impact and help reduce injury. 

The driver’s seat is inherently comfortable and benefits further from four-way lumbar support, a feature some premium-branded luxury sedans don’t even include, not to mention extendable lower cushions that cup nicely below the knees, and big side bolsters that provide excellent lateral support thanks to powered adjustability. Complemented by extensive reach from the tilt and telescopic steering column, the Regal provided an ideal driving position, which isn’t always the case for my long-legged, short-torso frame. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
Get a load of these sport seats, complete with four-way lumbar, extendable lower cushions, and powered side bolsters. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The Regal GS’ V6 idles smoothly when it’s not shutting off automatically to save fuel and reduce emissions, a good thing in my books. Quick shifts come from a nine-speed automatic transmission, the GS getting one additional forward gear than four-cylinder AWD trims, which like the engine proved smooth and effortless to operate around town, on the highway, or through more entertaining serpentine stretches. Chagrined to learn this sporty sedan didn’t include paddle shifters, which would have been a great way to improve on its well sorted transmission and fully capable powerplant, I first put it in Sport mode and then slotted the gear lever to the left for a little old school manual fun. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
The rear seats are roomy and comfortable. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The GS has a lot of punch off the line and the gearbox is a perfect match, shifting quickly yet never harshly, but needing more sport from Sport mode I immediately chose the GS setting, which adds more weight to the steering and feels a lot more engaging overall. Yes I missed having paddles, but I adapted as needed and enjoyed this very well balanced sedan through some tight, twisting two-laners and some open straights as well. The chassis is smooth and comfortable, yet it holds the road very well thanks to active dampers that adjust every two milliseconds. The GS’ active twin-clutch all-wheel drive system aids handling further, particularly in wet weather, while its high-performance Brembo brakes perform as brilliantly as they look. Fuel economy is reasonable for its performance and all-wheel drivetrain, with a rating of 12.4 L/100km city, 8.7 highway and 10.7 combined. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
Yes, the Regal is a hatchback. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Unfortunately, the GS wasn’t perfect. It suffered from one of the cheapest turn signal stalks I’ve ever experienced, due to flimsy hollow plastic and a loose, sloppy feel, while there’s a lot of low rent hard plastic on the lower dash, glove box lid, and mid to lower door panels. To be fair, the aforementioned Arteon isn’t much better when it comes to the latter, but the Stinger pulls off luxury more convincingly. Most of the GS’ upper surfaces are agreeably soft to the touch, however, and front and rear seat roominess is good, with the rear outboard positions almost as comfortable as the buckets up front, but the moulded black plastic panel covering the backside of the front console looked bulbous, as if it was pulled from a much cheaper vehicle, an issue made worse by its spartan array of twinned air vents up top and dual USB ports below. 

2019 Buick Regal GS
A 40/20/40-split rear seat configuration makes for ultimate passenger/cargo flexibility. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Yes, the Regal GS comes up a bit short on back seat features. It doesn’t including rear seat heaters like most $50k-plus competitors, which was a shame as, together with its AWD, its standard 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks and liftback layout, not to mention its strong performance on winding mountainside roads, it would make for an ideal ski shuttle. The cargo cover is weighty, feeling really well made, and seat releases on the cargo walls quickly expand the 892-litre (31.5 cubic-foot) luggage compartment to an accommodating 1,719 litres (60.7 cu ft). 

While missing some key features and not quite measuring up to its peers when it comes to interior fit and finish, the Regal GS is nevertheless an ultra-stylish ride that does some things so well it’s worth a closer look. You’ll probably like its quick and agile performance, reasonably well-equipped, roomy and comfortable cabin, and overall practicality, and therefore will likely be able to look past its few shortcomings.

Buick now has a more affordable way to get into a compact luxury SUV, but does the Envision really measure up to its more established rivals? That’s the question we pose in today’s review. On paper…

2017 Buick Envision Premium II Road Test

Most automakers have voids in their lineups that eventually need to be filled in order to take advantage of market developments. Even major luxury brands like Audi and Lexus are missing key models that would dramatically boost sales if available. For instance, Audi could use a smaller, sportier mid-size five-passenger crossover SUV to take on Lexus' segment-leading RX, and Lexus needs a seven-passenger car-based sport ute to fight the Q7.

This issue is even more pronounced amongst entry-level luxury brands like Acura and Buick, with Honda's premium division requiring a subcompact SUV to battle the popular Encore, and GM's near-premium subsidiary having long needed a compact crossover to go up against the RDX. Thanks to the new 2017 Envision this latter problem is now resolved, but is it good enough to unseat the mighty RDX.

Mighty yes, but Acura isn't number one in the segment. That position has long belonged to Audi's Q5, but the RDX has almost always maintained a respectable Read Full Story
Buick has recently been making an earnest play into the premium sector with models like the new Envision compact SUV and this much-improved LaCrosse full-size sedan, so we tested it in top-line Premium…

2017 Buick LaCrosse Premium AWD Road Test

Ask the majority of car shoppers to name the top three most reliable brands in the industry and Lexus would likely earn the popular vote, as it's been touted most dependable for decades. Once again it sits on top of J.D. Power and Associate's 2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, as well as first place with Consumer Reports' most reliable car brands in America report.

Considering Toyota is Lexus' parent automaker and therefore shares many of its components and some platform architectures, at least when it comes to the premium marque's lower end product, choosing it for second place makes sense too, but this is only true for Consumer Reports. Instead, J.D. Power gives the runner up position to Porsche, leaving Toyota in third. I'm guessing you can figure out which brand slots into CR's second rung. Buick, of course. The General Motors division manages a solid fourth in J.D. Power's ranking, which is still mighty impressive considering 31 brands are in contention.

Depending Read Full Story
Buick’s Encore is updated for 2017 and is therefore an even more enticing prospect for subcompact SUV shoppers. In this review we give you the good, bad and ugly, the only real negative being a great…

2017 Buick Encore Sport Touring Road Test

Each time I schedule a Buick Encore for testing I don't give it much thought. It's a subcompact SUV that needs to be covered because of its reasonably strong sales, but it's not the type of vehicle that elicits a lot of passion. And then once inside I'm reminded of how nice it is, and on the way home how easy it is to drive.

I must say it's even better for 2017. GM just gave it a thorough mid-cycle update including a much more attractive modernized grille, headlights and taillights filled with LEDs, the removal of those silly hood-mounted "ventiports", and of course new wheels all-round, while its interior gets a number of styling and technical enhancements too, plus it continues to drive very well.

My tester came in near-base Sport Touring trim with few options so it featured the standard 138 horsepower 1.4-litre turbo four with 148 lb-ft of torque, and was only configured to drive the front wheels as tested-AWD is a reasonable $2,000 option across most of the line. Read Full Story
If the new 2017 Envision looks like a Buick that might have been envisioned a few years ago, complete with a chromed waterfall grille and “ventiports” atop the hood, there’s a good reason. It was…

2017 Buick Envision Premium II

2017 Buick Envision Premium II
The 2017 Envision offers a classic Buick look in a compact SUV package that’s already appealing to Canadian buyers. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
If the new 2017 Envision looks like a Buick that might have been envisioned a few years ago, complete with a chromed waterfall grille and “ventiports” atop the hood, there’s a good reason. It was actually a two-year old model when it arrived here late last year, having initially only been available in Buick’s largest market, China. It hails from GM’s very successful SAIC General Motors Corp., which manufactures and sells Buick, Chevrolet, and Cadillac brand vehicles in Mainland China, a Shanghai-based venture that first produced the Buick Regal in 1999 and has since resulted in one of the most formidable U.S.-Chinese corporate partnerships. Those paying attention to all things Buick have likely heard stories about nicer, more opulently trimmed models available in China that couldn’t be had here in North America, so it’s nice to see some of the fruit from this relationship finally heading our way in the form of this very impressive new compact SUV.
2017 Buick Envision Premium II
It doesn’t look like a smaller Enclave by accident, the Envision playing on the success of its larger sibling. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Yes, the Envision is produced in SAIC-GM’s Shanghai facility and then shipped here, which only makes me wonder why it took so long. Certainly they could’ve picked a better year to do it, with President Trump’s anti-offshoring rhetoric and all, but the U.S.’ bombastic new commander in chief seems more twitterpated with “unfair” Canadian trade practices than anything the Chinese might be doing. Of course, I digress as usual, but in the case of anything Buick related, a “Made in China” stamp makes perfect sense. After all, if it weren’t for the Chinese market there wouldn’t be a Buick today, which means our friends across the Pacific deserve all the jobs this once solely domestic brand can allow for. If it were up to the North American market, we’d be wandering through show ‘n shine shows on Sundays telling our kids about this great tri-shield brand that made now legendary nameplates like the GNX/Grand National, Riviera (how I love anything from 1963–1965), Roadmaster (especially the Skylark), or the Model 40, but now this history is still part of a brand that teases us with new dream cars like the fabulous Avista and Avenir concepts, just like the Y-Job did to our forefathers. Yes, if it weren’t for the Chinese market Buick would likely be history along with Pontiac and Oldsmobile.
2017 Buick Envision Premium II
There’s no shortage of premium-level features, but how’s the quality? We’ll tell all in an upcoming review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
To be completely clear, global Buick deliveries were 1,432,679 units last year, beating its previous best year ever (2015) by 200,698 for a 16.3 percent increase. Can you guess how many of those sales were from the U.S. and Canada? The world’s largest vehicle market accounted for just 229,631 Buick deliveries during the 12 months of 2016, whereas Canadians purchased just 19,053, no doubt many sold to new Canadians of Chinese descent (or at least that’s what my local dealer tells me). So on behalf of all classic automobile brand lovers, thank you China for saving another storied American brand from elimination. Now, can you please do something about Chrysler before it’s too late? While the 2017 Envision might not be the newest looking SUV on the block, or within Buick’s ranks for that matter, it is ideally positioned in the market to push Buick’s North American sales up considerably. The compact luxury SUV segment is Canada’s third largest category amongst premium brands, just behind D-segment cars (sedans, coupes and convertibles) and mid-size SUVs, but it’s one of the fastest growing and therefore represents the greatest opportunity. This is especially true for Buick that’s a virtual no-show in the D-segment with Regal at 841 units in 2016 compared to BMW 3 and 4 Series at 12,217 or Mercedes’ C-Class at 9,954. It did better in the mid-size SUV class last year with 3,632 sales compared to the bestselling Lexus RX’ 8,147, and to its credit owns the subcompact premium SUV category with 4,765 sales, but its Encore is priced nearly $10k lower than its closest competitor so it’s not really a true premium player there.
2017 Buick Envision Premium II
Those leather-covered seats look comfortable enough. Want to know more? See you soon for details. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The Envision is, however, in both its pricing that starts at $40,295 plus freight and fees, which is square in the middle of the premium pack (and a lot lower than GM Canada initially targeted), and its standard and available feature set. As for build quality you’ll need to come back and read my review for the pros and cons, and believe me I won’t hold back. My tester is equipped in full load Premium II trim, which means its equipped with almost everything Buick can throw at it, except some obvious options that should have been added to optimize the experience. That’s no fault of the vehicle, the Envision an SUV worthy of mixing it up in the premium crowd, but I can only imagine the folks in Oshawa didn’t want any of us journos to gripe about a price tag that rubs up against $60k when optioned out (its fully equipped MSRP is $56,825 before freight or dealer fees). Still, do so with most of the Envision’s competitors and you’ll face similar sticker shock, or considerably more if it’s European-sourced, which makes this Buick a more value-oriented premium compact SUV, and reason enough for strong early sales.
2017 Buick Envision Premium II
The Envision’s rear quarters certainly look inviting. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
A total of 1,208 Envisions left GM dealer lots over the first five months of 2017. That’s pretty good for a newcomer, the compact Buick already outpacing Jaguar’s 1,118 F-Pace sales during the same period, or for that matter the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s 979 units, Lincoln MKC’s 975, Infiniti QX50’s 777, or Volvo XC60’s 559—although these last two long-in-tooth models will soon be replaced. Onward and upward for Buick, the Envision already seventh out of 12 competitors, and it’s only getting started. Come back for my full review when I’ll cover all the detailed, including performance from its optional 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. All Envisions get a six-speed automatic with manual mode, but this more potent powerplant benefits from a torque vectoring rear differential and 19-inch alloys to aid handling, while the rest of the Premium II upgrade list is long and plentiful. Stay tuned…