2018 Buick Regal Saloon

Made in Germany, this is the 2018 Buick Regal saloon. 

2018 Buick Regal saloon: source

We know this car already. It will be a curiosity in years to come, the Buick made by PSA but designed by GM. Of most immediate interest is that it will be sold as hatchback (is this Buick’s first since the Skyhawk?) and as an estate, the first Buick long-roof since the Roadmaster of 1995. Given that large, agile station wagons have something of a cult appeal (brown, with manual transmission is best) this is a good move. The question is whether the buyers of Volvo, Mercedes and Subaru estates want a Buick estate?

This is what Motor Trend says: “The new vehicles were unveiled at GM’s Warren Technical Center in metro Detroit ahead of the New York auto show, where Buick will be showing the new Enclave crossover. The Regals will go on sale in the fourth quarter. Pricing has not been announced, but competition, especially for the wagon, is largely limited to the Volvo V60 Cross Country, Audi A4 Allroad, BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon, and Subaru Outback, which suggests pricing in the $32,500 (Sportback) to $40,000 range. The Sportback will be offered in four trim levels; the TourX will be offered in three.”

I had a look at Buick’s website and found three cars that will be affected by the PSA take-over. Two are Astra based and won’t be missed when they are gone. The Encore is related to the Mokka and probably has only a couple of years left in it (launched 2012). The Chevrolet Trax shares the same fate. There are three CUVs in Buick’s range and two saloons, apart from the Astra derivatives. It may be that GM has been considering the ditching of Opel for a while as the range is not that reliant on Opel as it once was (or as I thought it was).

Generally speaking, the Buick range is missing something: a two door coupe I think. It also needs a bigger saloon as a range topper though that might be a touch too close to Cadillac.

How different are Buicks anyway, I wonder. A lot of the feeling of “special” in Buick cars might be at the level of trim quality so one can’t tell at a distance how similar they are in character to Chevrolet passenger cars. That said, even if they have a different style to Chevrolet they are not as noticeably ritzier than Chevrolets as they once were. This is in part because Chevrolets have got better in recent decades and the distance between Chevrolet, Buicks and Cadillac has become harder to maintain.

Incidentally, the Buick Verano (an Astra saloon) costs the same as the Chevrolet Malibu, a class up. Losing the Verano won’t be much of a problem for Buick. The model overlap will get smaller. There are three cars below the Malibu in price classes Buick doesn’t deal with: Spark ($13K), Sonic ($15K) and Cruze ($17K). With the Verano gone, Buick and Chevrolet will begin overlap at the Regal and Impala level, both around $27K.

The Impala is related to the considerably more expensive Buick Lacrosse so that means customers can choose a smaller car with nicer kit (Buick Regal) or a large car with less nice stuff (the Impala) for the same price. If they want Impala size and Buick standards, they’ll need to find another five thou.

That’s how it looks from here. I expect some readers might have first hand experience and inform DTW that the Lacrosse is a disaster and worse in every way than a Chevrolet Spark.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

8 thoughts on “2018 Buick Regal Saloon”

  1. Interesting that the Americans shall have another go at fastbacks and estates. Is it already a sign of a reverse anti-SUV trend or just an opportunistic move since the shapes are already there?

    By the way, given the choice of two identical cars, I’d probably have the Buick over the Opel. In an ideal world, it’d probably even have a softer suspension.

    1. Considering that GM has raised the ride height 20mm on the estate, filled in the wheel arches with Audi Allroad like grey plastic cladding and generally pretending it’s a crossover I would say it’s the latter.

      But suspensions can be lowered and plastic removed. I’m interested enough to investigate come fall.

    2. Simon: it might not be much different. Buick has veered away from overt cushiness for a while though I believe still make an effort on NVH.

    3. Dinger: the cladding has the same detailing as the Adam Rocks.
      The interior looks good from the photos – as nice as the last one which I liked too.

    4. Chrisward: it looks fine to me. How it seems in the metal matters more than the photos. I got it wrong on the first Insignia so I am reluctant to jump to conclusions now. The current Astra really irked me: I did not like the C-pillar. After a year I feel it´s not the taste offence it once was and, well, they have to do something different. Maybe aspects of this car about which I am uncertain will grow on me (or I mean the overall look of the car will grow on me). This hasn´t happened with most of the others except the Passat CC. This is not a class of very pleasing cars, even within the narrow remit. I am sure saloons can be done better than they are now, in general.

  2. In your listing of Chevrolets, you miss the point of the Malibu, I think – it’s their volume sedan. As you say, it fits between the Cruze and the Impala, and funnily enough is on the exact same platform as this Regal/Insignia duo, and made in the USA. Even shares the long low lean look and general dash layout. It must just be cheaper for GM to get the low volume hatchback and raised-wagon versions made by Opel/PSA to fill out the line/range. Any reasonably optioned Malibu will be $30K in the US, so these Regals, if obvious to a casual shopper to be of higher quality in paint and interior appointments will command prices beyond that.

    With the cratering of the passenger car market in the US (down to 37% from 41% a year ago on smaller vehicle totals), I don’t see these selling very well. The hatch is a sitting duck own goal. If Buick had a savvy ad agency, which they sure do not, they could market the raised wagon as a Subaru Outback competitor with styling. The smaller Golf Alltrack is bumbling along nicely at 4,000 units/mo, but has eaten the regular Golf Sportwagen sales in the process – people want AWD.

    The Buick Envision crossover made in China and exported to the US has the same powertrain and variations as the Sportback Regal, and is well into the $40K range for an AWD version. There are rumours that the corporate GM V6 will fit in the Regal. Still, I can’t see this being any cheaper than the Envision. So it’ll be suck it and see a year from now when they’re really actually readily available. Then wait for an orgasmic GM Major Sales Event The Likes of Which You’ve Never Seen Before Folks, which happens at least twice a year, to get the Regal of your dreams at 20% off.

  3. Bill – the High Feature V6 will go into the Insignia / Regal. The Holden Commodore NG which goes on sale from February 2018 (takes a bit of time to swap over the column stalks…) will get the engine in 3.0 litre direct injection form. However there’s no room for turbochargers, unlike the Insignia A.

    Last year I managed to corner a GM Europe high-up at Geneva and asked if the Chinese-built Envision would come to Europe as an Antara/Captiva replacement. He was non-committal to the point of denying its existence. I guess subsequent circumstances mean that the answer will be ‘no’.

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