Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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January 31, 2011

Regal shows Buick's new turn

(Continued)

The model I drove, a Regal CXL Turbo, served up an overflowing plate of smooth, sophisticated power. There was no truck-like grunt — just

the quiet whirr of a turbocharger spinning under the hood as it delivered 220 horsepower from a little 2.0-liter engine, which is

remarkable.

The result is a car that is not only fast — 220 horses in a car this light makes it feel like a rocket — but also fairly efficient at 28

mpg on the highway. The non-turbo version, with a 2.4-liter engine, is rated for 30 mpg at highway speed.

This car excels on both the outside and inside, where GM executed everything to perfection. The body looks sleek and luxurious, a good fit for driving around upscale suburbs. And the interior is even better, another example of how "New GM" has figured out how to give cabins the wow factor of luxury cars without a luxury price.

The driving feel, though, isn't quite as good.

Granted, it's great for a Buick, with a light, nimble feeling that shows its European DNA, but it's not as sporty as the more luxurious

cars that it aims to compete with — such as the G37, Acura TSX and Nissan Maxima.

The Regal undercuts all those cars on price, though, making it seem like a great value in comparison. You can get it with the turbocharger

for under $29,000, and even when decked out with lots of high-end options the price only reaches the $35,000 range.

Overall, the new Regal leaves two impressions: "Wow, this is a really nice car!" And, "Wow, people might be able to afford it!"

It's a car that offers a glimpse at how great a Buick can be, even if it was never intended to be a Buick at all.

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