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2015 Buick Regal REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/3/2017

Con: Optional eAssist powertrain's pokey acceleration; some interior comfort and visibility issues; touchscreen interface can be frustrating to use; limited trunk space.

Interior: Inside, the 2015 Buick Regal features a sleek dashboard with minimal button clutter. The appearance is upscale, and materials quality is satisfactory, if not fully luxury-grade. The front seats are surprisingly snug and supportive; slim folks will smile, but the broader of beam may wish for more wiggle room. The backseat is more cramped than the Regal's midsize dimensions would suggest, and the sloping roof line is a double whammy for rear headroom and rearward visibility.

The 8-inch touchscreen comes with the IntelliLink infotainment system, which features large icons and Pandora radio compatibility. The IntelliLink interface includes smartphone-style swipe commands and voice-command functionality. Even so, this touchscreen is occasionally frustrating to use due to slow or missed responses to touch inputs.

Out back, the standard trunk measures a decent 14.2 cubic feet, but its narrowness makes longer items like golf bags a tight fit. When the eAssist powertrain is specified, cargo space drops to 11.1 cubic feet due to the trunk-mounted battery pack.

Body: The 2015 Buick Regal is a midsize sedan that comes in base, Premium I, Premium II or GS trim.

The base Regal starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, dual exhaust outlets, keyless entry, heated power mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), a power height-adjustable passenger seat (with manual adjustments), split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are an 8-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, OnStar emergency communications and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and Buick's IntelliLink smartphone and voice command integration system. IntelliLink includes a text message feature that reads incoming text messages aloud. Also included is Siri Eyes Free, which gives iPhone users voice control over a range of functions via the Bluetooth microphone.

The Premium I adds rear parking sensors, keyless ignition, remote start, a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power passenger seat (with two-way power lumbar) and a 110-volt power outlet.

Note that the Premium I's available eAssist mild hybrid powertrain comes with 17-inch wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires and a concealed single exhaust outlet.

The Premium II starts with the Premium I's standard features and adds xenon headlights, rear-seat side airbags, a navigation system and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

The GS boasts 19-inch wheels (20-inchers with summer tires are optional), unique front and rear fascias, a rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, adjustable drive modes (influencing suspension, steering and shift calibration), Brembo front brakes, body-color sport rocker panels, an enlarged and configurable gauge-cluster information display, unique pedals, sport front seats and a three-spoke sport steering wheel.

Most of these GS features are exclusive, but the sport-tuned suspension (minus the adaptive dampers) is also specified on non-GS Regals with AWD. A sunroof is optional on all Regals, and the navigation system can be added to the base and Premium I trims.

The Premium I is available with the Experience Buick package, which adds the sunroof and the navigation system. Optional on Premium II and GS are two Driver Confidence packages. The first -- which requires the sunroof -- adds numerous safety technologies (including a blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision alert) as well as driver memory settings, while the second -- which requires the first -- adds adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.

Driving: The 2015 Buick Regal's standard turbocharged engine gives this sedan ample spunk. Though the 2.4 eAssist version delivers better fuel economy, it does so to the detriment of brisk response in traffic. For most shoppers, the turbo engine will be preferable, even though its mpg ratings are lower. It's not the most refined four-cylinder engine in this price range, but real-world acceleration is strong in most situations.

The available all-wheel-drive system is another feather in the 2015 Regal's cap, as it adds additional wet-weather traction, plus enhanced handling when powering around turns. In normal driving, the Regal rides smoothly and quietly, with light but precise steering. The car doesn't really excel in any one category, but it remains composed and confident.

What’s New: For 2015, the Buick Regal's standard IntelliLink infotainment system adds 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, along with Siri Eyes Free and the ability to read text messages aloud over the speakers.

The Regal's primary engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 259 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. A six-speed automatic transmission is mandatory unless you spring for the GS, which offers an optional six-speed manual with front-wheel drive (the GS AWD is automatic-only).

In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Regal accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is slower than many choices in this price range.

The EPA rates the turbocharged Regal at 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway) with front-wheel drive and the automatic, 22 combined (19 city/27 highway) with AWD and 24 combined (20 city/31 highway) for the front-drive Regal GS with the manual.

Optional solely on the Premium I trim is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with mild hybrid technology called eAssist. Output measures 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, with shifting duties handled by a different six-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway).

Safety: The 2015 Buick Regal comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are standard on Premium II and GS. The standard OnStar system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, a stolen vehicle locator and remote door unlock. The optional Driver Confidence package #1 includes blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a frontal collision warning system. The Driver Confidence package #2 adds a more sophisticated frontal collision mitigation system that initiates automatic braking in potential crash situations.

In Edmunds brake testing, a 2015 Regal Turbo came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is shorter than average for a car in this class. A 2015 GS with the optional 20-inch summer tires managed to stop in an even shorter 113 feet, although most other sport sedans with summer tires fare better.

In government crash tests, the Regal received the top five-star rating overall, including four stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Regal its highest score of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength crash tests. The Regal's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Pro: Plentiful standard features; reasonable base price; available all-wheel drive; standard turbocharged power.

Edmunds Say: With lots of standard features and a relatively affordable price, the 2015 Buick Regal offers decent value for shoppers seeking an entry-level luxury sedan. Some other rival sedans provide a more polished driving experience, however.

Introduction: Luxury-car shoppers are a diverse bunch. On one end of the spectrum is the shopper who would gladly pay extra for class-leading attributes and a badge that will awe the neighbors. On the other end is the shopper who cares less about brand cachet and more about getting solid performance and feature content at a reasonable price. For this value-oriented shopper, the 2015 Buick Regal could be a nice fit.

The Regal boasts a pleasing mix of talents. Its list of standard features is generous, including amenities like leather upholstery and heated front seats. Those who sometimes commute in rough weather will appreciate its available all-wheel drive, and those who prioritize safety will like this Buick's comforting crash-test scores. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumps out a robust 259 horsepower, exceeding the norm among comparable sedans. The Regal also presents an attractive value proposition, as it's more affordably priced than you might expect.

Growth within the entry-level luxury segment has given entry-luxury shoppers plenty to choose from, however. If you can step down a notch in size, you'll want to consider the 2015 Audi A3 It has a smaller backseat and trunk but in return boasts a more premium cabin and potentially quicker acceleration than the Buick. The 2015 Volvo S60 offers even better crash-test scores and more engine variety, but the Regal has it beat when it comes to price. And don't forget about the 2015 BMW 3 Series -- if you stick to the base 320i model, you can have one for the same price as a midgrade Regal, and the BMW is undoubtedly more rewarding to drive.

But the 2015 Regal remains a well-rounded offering, and chances are it'll give you more features for the money than its overseas rivals. If you'd rather not pay top dollar for your next luxury sedan, the Regal should prove an agreeable match.

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