Regal’s crash test performance was also outstanding and earned it a “top safety pick” rating…

The all-new 2011 model year edition of Regal was built in Germany and based on a rigid Euro-car chassis, and could be ordered with a turbocharged engine and had a driver-selectable suspension system.

It would also be the first Buick to offer a manual transmission, since the 1980s. Not since the days of Grand National, a big engine rocket, last produced in 1987 (and still cherished by Buick enthusiasts), had we seen a hard-core sports version of the Buick Regal. Yet, this Regal is a very different beast. While it may not possess the awesome straight-line power of its ancestor, it’s a hoot to drive for different and probably better reasons.

It was based on the German designed Opel Insignia, which was the 2009 European Car of the Year. The 2011 Regal was made in Germany but then (2012 and on) all production was switched to Oshawa, Ontario.

The overall design profile of this Regal is coupe-like, even though it has four doors. Up front, there’s a modern version of Buick’s traditional “waterfall” grille and an extra-large version Buick’s tri-shield emblem.At the rear, the sloping roofline connects to a short deck with distinctive and large wrap-around taillights.

The turbo engine versions of Regal should definitely be on the checklist of buyers looking at mid-sized sporty front-drive premium sedans such as the Volvo S60 or Acura TSX. Regal has a longer wheelbase (a more comfortable ride) and comes with a larger trunk.

The base CXL trim comes with a 2.4L direct-injected engine rated at 182 horsepower (136 kW) mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a drive combination that provides decent power and very good highway fuel economy, rated at 6.5L/100 km.

The CXL Turbo trim, on the other hand, comes with a 2.0L turbocharged direct-injection engine that’s rated at 220 horsepower (164 kW). The auto transmission is a crisper-shifting six speed unit and its 6.9L/100 km highway fuel economy is still good, considering the extra power.

Buick expanded the Regal line to four for the 2012 model year, with the addition of eAssist and GS editions. The eAssist edition has a mild-hybrid powertrain that uses an electric motor/lithium-ion battery pack combo to boost power to road wheels when needed, and conserves fuel. It’s the most economical edition of Regal with a frugal city/highway fuel economy rating of 8.3/5.4 L/100km respectively.

The GS edition is a more potent version of Turbo that rides lower and comes with Brembo front disc brakes and 19-inch or 20-inch (optional) wheels. Under hood its turbocharged engine can produce 255-horsepower and 295 ft-lb of torque. Acceleration to 100 km/hour is under 7-seconds and its highway fuel economy is 7.4 L/100 km.

The base (CXL/2.4-litre engine) edition was dropped for the 2013 model year and trim levels offered were eAssist, Turbo, Turbo Sport, and GS. On the safety front, standard equipment includes a stability control system and the OnStar emergency service. It comes with six air bags and rear seat side air bags were an option and standard on GS. Regal’s crash test performance was also outstanding and earned it a “top safety pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

So far, overall reliability has been “average” according to Consumer Reports, but it did get a “recommended buy” rating and is one of the top-rated vehicles in its class.

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Price Check: 2011 – 2013 Buick Regal (May 2014)

Year                  Edition                                                  Expect to Pay Today

2011           Regal CLX Turbo                                              $19,000 to $23,000

2012               Regal Turbo                                                  $22,000 to $26,000

2013               Regal Turbo                                                  $26,000 to $30,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.

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Safety Recalls: 2011 to 2013 Buick Regal:

2011: The spare tire size was listed incorrectly, with the letter “T” missing on the Tire Pressure Label. The label should properly indicate the spare tire size as T125/80R16. Since this does not pose any risk to vehicle safety, no corrective action is required.

2012: On vehicles equipped with High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, the Body Control Module (BCM) may have been incorrectly programmed during the manufacturing process, thereby preventing parking lamp activation. Dealers will reprogram the Body Control Module.

2012/2013: Vehicles equipped with eAssist, the Generator Control Module (GCM) may not function correctly and cause a gradual loss of battery charge. This will illuminate the malfunction indicator lamp and eventually the engine may stall. In addition, there may be a burning or melting odour, smoke and possibly a fire in the trunk. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the Generator Control Module.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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