2015 Buick Regal Premium II Group Review
Competent entry-level luxury for a younger crowd.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: August 3rd, 2015
When you're tasked with driving a vehicle for several hundred miles over the course of two days, you become somewhat intimately acquainted with it. That's what we did with the 2015 Buick Regal, which took your author and four of his friends down to Louisville, Kentucky, for a stag party bonanza. In that time, we were able to glean important information from our occupants, as well as getting a feel for how well the car appeals to its target demographic - Millennials that are looking to get into a luxury brand that's not short on technology.
We walked away impressed, for what the car is. It's a solid performer in its segment, and while it's not perfect, it does succeed as being an aspirational entry-level-luxury car that should help bring a few more buyers under the Buick umbrella.
In case you're wondering, updates to the Regal for 2015 include GM's 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot capability, both of which are added to the Regal's standard IntelliLink infotainment system.
The Regal's interior design has several nice elements that help to break up traditional luxury monotony. A band of trim sweeps from the door panels up to the center of the dashboard, which is something we typically see on higher-end luxury cars, like those from Audi and Jaguar. The center stack uses a blend of touchscreen and physical controls, including some swiped-from-Cadillac HVAC controls contained within the stack's two piano-black panels. Every other control you'll need (and some you won't) is on the steering wheel, within easy reach of a thumb or forefinger. The gauges have a multi-information display situated between the tachometer and speedometer, which displays pertinent information in large-enough font with minimal skeuomorphic annoyance.
Sounds nice, right? It is - for the most part. The touch-based HVAC controls can be slow to respond, and even tougher to activate without looking. The aluminum trim around the shifter will reflect the sun directly into your eyes. Some of the plastic feels a bit harder than it should in a near-$40,000 car. Finally, while the seats are plenty comfortable with four adults in the car, it gets fairly cramped with three in the back, even when all three passengers are on the heroin-chic side of thin.
If you dig your cars with a bit of European flair, the Regal should be right up your alley. It's largely unchanged from the Opel Insignia off which the U.S.-spec car is based. Our tester is the top-level (but poorly named, if we're being honest) Premium II Group, which means it ditches any semblance of sporting nature (that's the GS) in favor of chrome wheels with a fair bit of sidewall. With the Regal pretty well hunkered down without too much gap between fender and tire, the Regal is just aggressive enough to appeal to a younger demographic without falling back on some "Look at me!" boy racer crap.
That said, can we get rid of the porthole vents on the hood? They don't look functional, or really all that good, even. AutoZone still sells aftermarket ones, if you're really pining for the porthole-fjords.
On the Road
We don't use the word "surprising" very often, but that's how we felt after spending several hours behind the wheel of the 2015 Regal. American luxury cars aren't usually very nimble; then again, they're not usually this European, either. The Regal was awfully spry on the highway, using its 295 lb-ft of torque to vault our party ahead of slow-moving trucks. In terms of pedal feel, the throttle accepted slight modulation with a hint of stiffness, and the brake pedal had just a little bit of squishy travel before clamping down on the rotors. While the suspension was on the stiffer side of what we've seen in luxury cars, the Buick still absorbed a good deal of bumps and potholes without transferring much of that feel to the cabin.
Despite being a mid-size sedan with more torque than it probably ever needs, fuel economy was good. We easily achieved the EPA-estimated numbers of 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway; on some boring stretches of Indiana's I-65, we were closer to 35 mpg when the headwinds died down.
If you'd like to learn more about our experiences on the road trip, just click anywhere within this sentence.
In short, the Regal is an excellent companion for a younger buyer that wants to dip his toes in the pool of entry-level luxury. It's a nicely-appointed car that features excellent Millennial-friendly technology (safety systems, Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.) with a driving dynamic that errs on the side of sporty. It's not for the folks that want to ride to work on pillows instead of wheels, and it's not for a Scion FR-S buyer, either. It strikes a good middle ground between a fun car and a sensible car.
Specs & Price
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Power Output: 259 horsepower / 295 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 21 city / 30 highway
Base Price: $34,100
As Tested: $39,260 (incl. $925 destination)
Driver Confidence Package #1: Following-distance indicator, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, front seat memory, blind-spot monitor
Driver Confidence Package #2: Adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation
Individual Options: Power moonroof, chrome grille, ambient interior lighting
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Buick Regal, click here: 2015 Buick Regal.