2011 Buick Regal CXL Review

Front 3/4 view of silver 2011 Buick Regal
The 2011 Buick Regal. A whole new look for GM's longtime old-guy division.

Turning points are usually things that become obvious well after the fact...noted by historians looking at the big picture. It's rare when we can see one in real time and realize it.

I could be wrong here, but I think we're looking at one right now.

It's been many years since Buick built a car enthusiasts could get (pardon the pun) revved up about. It was a Regal, too, come to think of it.

Well, 1987 was 1987 and 2011 is 2011 and Buick wisely resisted the urge to join the retro-mobile bandwagon and instead built a sedan for our times.

Rear 3/4 view of silver 2011 Buick Regal driving on city street
Slick European lines highlight the rear view of the 2011 Buick Regal.

Buick's aiming for an interesting spot in the sedan spectrum...sportier than Lexus, cushier than BMW (the American alternative to Infiniti, perhaps?), and the Regal hits that very small bulls-eye. Simply put, it drives better than any Buick of the last 25 years, perhaps than any Buick ever...and better than many contemporary sedans out there.

That's a big enough accomplishment for Buick, but here's the kicker...it does it with a four-cylinder engine under the hood. In fact, that's the only way you can get a Regal right now...your choice is turbo or non-turbo...and that's what we got...the stock engine. 182 horsepower. Doesn't sound like much considering what else is on the market, but it moves the Regal with authority, and mated to a six-speed automatic, it delivers pretty good mileage, too. 19 city isn't awesome, but 30 highway is a strong selling point these days.

$26,245 is the price of entry, bringing with it Stabilitrak, a full complement of airbags and curtains, battery rundown protection,  a six-month subscription to OnStar Directions & Connections with automatic crash response and turn-by-turn navigation, tire pressure monitoring, brake assist and ABS, 18-inch alloy wheels, power heated outside mirrors, halogen headlamps and fog lamps, leather seats (heated up front and 8-way power adjustable for the driver), remote keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, power door locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, controls for audio and cruise on the steering wheel, a seven-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system with USB port and Bluetooth, and two power outlets.

Interior shot of 2011 Buick Regal
The 2011 Buick Regal interior will remind you of anything but Buicks past.

In our book, that's loaded. Especially for a tick over $26K. But Buick added one....just one...option package. It's called RL6, the Comfort and Convenience Package. It gives the front passenger the same 8-way adjustable seat the driver gets, along with 4-way lumbar, adds a 120-volt power outlet, Ultrasonic rear parking assist, a power sunroof, rear seat mounted airbags, GPS navigation and ups the audio system to a premium unit with 9 speakers instead of 7. 

It costs $4,785.

I think the Regal's one helluva car without it at $26,245. But I can't really object to anything in the option package either (other than satnav....say it with me now: "My phone does that."), and at $31,780 with destination charges, it's still one helluva car, and fairly priced for what you get. It's just not the jaw-dropping value it represents at almost five grand less.

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