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