The Buick Regal Turbo Review

I have been chronicling my 5 days with the Buick Regal Turbo recently which can be found here and here and here.  In doing so I never did give my official review of the car until now.  I will give you a rundown of the car from a perspective not from a person who reviews cars for a living but rather by a person who would be considered a consumer and looks at the car as such.  I review Tech and Gadgets for a living and doing a car review while albeit new to me is refreshing as well.  A chance to see things in a new perspective, and with that let’s get this started.  You can also check out my experiences with the new 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe right here.

Buick Regal Turbo Review

First let’s rattle off the spec list of the car.  Much like I do when reviewing Technology it is always good to list what all is under the hood and with this review there actually is a hood to speak of.

Engine

Standard Engine 2.0L I4
Standard Transmission 6 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @RPM 220@5300
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 18 / 28
Combined Fuel Economy 22
EPA Class Mid-Size
Number of Valves 16
Torque @RPM N/A
Fuel Type System Gas Engine / Electronic Fuel Injected
Turbo (Yes/No) Yes
Overdrive Transmission Yes
Battery Output N/A
Compression 9.2:1
Displacement 1998 / 122
Bore X Stroke 3.39×3.39
Cruising Range 396 miles
Final Drive Gear Ratio Opt N/A
Power to Weight Ratio 16.7
Final Drive Ratio Yes
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam / Twin Overhead Cam
Supercharged No
Electric HorsePower RPM N/A
Electric Torque Feet Per Pound N/A (foot-lbs)
Electric Torque RPM N/A
Electric HorsePower BHP N/A

 

See even after all that I still don’t have a clue what all of it means.  All I know is that this car is a dream to drive.  I have been driven around in cars of equal class and quality but never did I get the opportunity to do the driving and for some significant amount of time at that.  This car each and every time you get behind the wheel just “feels” right.

I got the opportunity to use this vehicle for 5 days as a loaner vehicle from my good friends GM and through a wonderful person named Eleni Simmoneau who was my guide through the process.  She helped set this up and made the deal happen and sure enough on the 22nd of April there is a 2011 Buick Regal Turbo sitting in my driveway ready for me to take for a spin.

The Interior

Getting myself acclimated to the car didn’t take too long and getting all my settings didn’t take long either on the very nice XM satellite radio.  In fact I think it is time I start to speak about the interior of the car and all its wonder.  The main unit of the console has a series of buttons allowing you to navigate your way through a series of options.  This all displays on a rather large LCD Screen that sits right in the middle top of the console and displays your selection very nicely, whether it be Radio, CD/DVD/HDD, or Navigation you have your options to choose from.  You have also a selection knob near your hand just under the arm rest in which to also navigate your options and including a Back button in case you make a mistake.  The dial near the arm rest also doubles when pressed as an “enter” command for your display unit.

You can also use the directional dongle switch to navigate the Navigation instruction input screen.  It might be easier than “dialing” in the address.  All these different input options makes navigating the interior entertainment console very easy and downright delightful.

The only downside of this is that the screen isn’t a touch screen which would have been a nice feature to have and it would have fit perfectly in here with the class and style of this car.

The Speedometer and RPM gauges are represented well and very easy to read and the center HUD can also display other information about the car.  It can display how many miles estimated left before you need to refill, tire pressure checks, hours of driving and a very multitude of options all of which keeps you fully in the know of what is going on with and about your car.  The Speedometer and RPM both, at night, have a blue hue cased around them and when you look at the dial giving you the readout you can also see this little red dot along the border of the gauge, running right with the numbers, that was to me just a little extra wink to a laser pointer on a dial.  I liked it and found myself looking at it quite often for entertainment.

The steering wheel has a very nice comfortable feel to it.  Styled in a way I felt to handle a multitude of driving styles from the two handed 10 and 2 driver, to the lazy one handed that I do from time to time,  to the super lazy hand flapper in the middle that steers kindy funny like.   The controls on the steering wheel can switch the modes on the entertainment console so you can go from Radio to CD and back again.  Use the hands free devices or commands and lastly also turns the volume up or down on the radio.  Also on the steering wheel are the input methods of the cruise control.  None of these seemed either hard to input or use and the car’s reaction to a button push from here was just the same as if it was wired to the center console.

The Seats of Comfort

My girlfriend suffers from MS and her first comment was how comfortable the seats were and how easy it is to adjust her seating so she can be comfortable without being crammed in or having to move around her seat to find a more comfortable position.  I to had to agree that the seats themselves really do welcome you with open arms and almost invite you to go on a long distance marathon and never feel “butt fatigued”.  Those of you who have taken a long car ride and felt like your butt had become molded to the shape of the seat know my pain.

The arm rests were placed perfectly so it didn’t feel as if you had to stretch to reach them and the arm rest on my left arm didn’t make my elbow scream in pain like some other cars do when I rest on them.  The only downside was from my girlfriend who couldn’t quite figure out how manipulate the power windows properly.  Constantly jabbing at the button would make the window go all the way down, quickly correcting herself she would over do the correction and the window would shoot up.  A battle of up down window began finally stopping the window in whatever position it was in and saying “that is where I want it…there done”.   She never did figure out the power windows.

Power Kicks In

Now all along you hear the word Turbo and you have an expectation.  This car surely does deliver in that department.  Now while you hear the word Turbo don’t go expecting this car to bust out a 4.3 0-60mph time trial.  Now this car is still an elegant car and the Turbo does kick in when it needs to.  While in First gear you can feel the car wanting to run away but the engine can’t perform.  However, once the car starts moving along and you punch the gas pedal, then the Turbo kicks in full effect.  You really feel that Turbo kick in while on the highway making a pass around a car and this car really just does have the effect of flying while driving.

I have never experienced that in any other car I have been in.  The cabin being super quiet and the engine just purring along all the while the car is just flying down the highway, legal speed of course.  The Buick Regal Turbo is just a beautiful car from the front grill all the way to the back bumper.  Just hoping that down the line the Turbo actually starts to back up its name and gives you tremendous power from the jump and not a sluggish start then finally being awoken to perform.

The Technology Part Kicks In

Now I am the Philadelphia Tech and Gadget examiner one of many I might add so it would be against my nature not to comment on the technology aspect of the car.  I talked earlier about the interior of the car and covered all the bases of the buttons but just to remind you of some things.  The Entertainment Console of the car is tremendous with many options and input devices to make sure you get what you want, when you want it.  The directional pad is handy when inputting addresses, the quick jog dial easily changes the channels for you and the input selector on the steering wheels makes sure you can change your entertainment choice without fiddling around and taking your hands off the wheel.

Buick has done a fantastic job and sadly in the same way missed a few good points.  Touch screen is the wave of the future Buick.  Maybe having a touch screen option would further advance the experience with the user.  I also hope that maybe getting the hands free menu options down or even inputting the directions via voice command would show vast leaps in user connectivity.

The hands free calling features are fun and exciting to use however, more often than not, the call would get lost in translation or just dropped completely and that is very frustrating.  I do enjoy the HDD option and hopefully could see that coming in handy for customers wanting to store and keep hundreds of song options in a neat and handy place.  The iPod/USB connection ports were a nice surprise however they also take up to much space in the limited storing capacity of the arm rest.  Not a huge let down by any means at all.

The information HUD of the car was very impressive and allowed me to truly know the ins and outs of how the car was performing or underperforming was a very nice touch.  Allowing me to “see” all around the car while driving.  The technology aspect of the Buick to me was fantastic, with many options given to me to choose my entertainment all the way to seeing how my car was performing Buick keeps you in the loop at all times so you can have peace of mind while driving.

Results

Now usually around this time I do my huge wrap up of sorts and I call upon thee from the halls of Valhalla the all knowing and super scientific Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama of DOOM!   I take into account that again I am not a car guy…not a car guy whatsoever.  Instead I am a Tech and Gadget guy who happens to enjoy cars.  I will now list the Pros and Cons and then render my decision

Pros

  • Wonderful Entertainment Console that brings together all aspects of entertainment and can easily be managed with a touch of  a few buttons
  • Great cabin experience, you can enjoy the inside of the car without the noises from outside seeping in
  • Wonderful car to take on long drives and just enjoy driving around
  • Fantastic look and dynamic new innovation in body shape really gets this car to grab people’s attention
  • Tremendous trunk space.  I am 6’4” 240 pounds and I fit COMFORTABLY inside the trunk with room to spare.
  • Quiet engine even with a turbo doesn’t overpower the rest of the car with noise to prove it has a turbo inside
  • Great safety features for night driving

Cons

  • Sluggish performance in 1st gear
  • Handling sometimes an issue around corners
  • No Touch screen option
  • Hands Free didn’t always work like it should have
  • Poor storage capacity in arm rest with other peripherals having to be stored there

 

With all that said and done we now calculate the data and extrapolate the data and come up with a number on which to verify the standings of our research.  I base this number out of 10.  With 0 being Take a Tour of a Japanese Nuclear Power Plant and 10 being invited to the Church at the Royal Wedding, by the way if you couldn’t understand that let me make it simpler.  0 means to stay far away and 10 means to not miss it for the world.  Now that we got that out of the way here is the number.

Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama judges this the Buick Regal Turbo a solid 8.7 out of 10.  For a car that starts under $30K and has the look and feel of something much more expensive this car was a dream to drive and just a pleasure to enjoy.  Definitely take a look for yourself and enjoy a car that has no connection to Buick’s of old.

Click the link for the video review of the Buick Regal Turbo

 

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