Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Auto Reviews & News

January 31, 2011

Regal shows Buick's new turn

Buick resurrected the Regal name for its newest car, but that doesn't mean it's anything like the Buicks of old.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

The new Regal is a small, fun-to-drive, thoroughly modern car that marks a dramatic break from the heavy, V8-powered Buicks of the past.

It doesn't have that meaty, American iron feeling you would normally expect from this brand because — truthfully — it was never meant to be a Buick in the first place.

This car actually started out in Germany as the Opel Insignia. If General Motors hadn't gone bankrupt, it would have been sold in America as a Saturn, but that plan died along with the Saturn brand.

The Insignia was too good of a car to keep away from Americans, though, so GM decided to bring it to the United States as a Buick instead. Thus was born the 2011 Regal.

And thank goodness.

The new Regal is exactly the kind of car that GM needs to be selling here. It has an upscale, premium feel — despite its smallish dimensions — that make it seem like an expensive car from the driver's seat. It looks as classy as, say, an Infiniti G37, but it has a starting price around $26,000, which is $5,000 less than the Infiniti.

Its snazzy body isn't much of a surprise for Buick, which has been cranking out good-looking cars like the Lacrosse and Enclave for

several years, but there's one thing about the Regal that's a shocker:

It only comes with a four-cylinder engine. That's a major change for a brand that has long been known for V8s and the occasional V6.

Now, before you get too upset about this Buick sacrilege, you should know that one of those engines has a turbocharger that gives it the

oomph of a big V6.

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