Dating back to 1973, the Regal is one of the oldest and most familiar names in the Buick line-up. But, like the rest of the brand, it is set to undergo some major changes.
During a preview in the Motor City, General Motors’ “premium” brand unveiled two new takes on the Regal nameplate, a more stylish Regal Sportback that picks up on the coupe-like sedan look that has swept through the industry, as well as the Regal TourX.
Since the word, “wagon,” is largely verboten in the U.S. these days, Buick has dubbed the TourX a crossover, which effectively positions it to compete in one of the market’s fastest-growing segments. Light trucks, in general, accounted for roughly two-thirds of U.S. new vehicle sales in March, and compact and midsize CUVs were the industry’s real hot ticket.
“Regal TourX is a crossover in the truest sense of the word,” declared Duncan Aldred, the head of the GMC and Buick divisions, with “the drive dynamics of a car and the versatility of an SUV.”
Whether you prefer to call the Regal TourX a wagon, ute or CUV, it measures 3.4 inches longer and 0.6 inches taller than the new Regal Sportback. There’ll be plenty of storage space, Buick claiming 73.5 cubic feet with the second row folded down.
It will be offered only in all-wheel-drive, with a turbo-2.0-liter inline-four making 250 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the engine paired to an eight-speed automatic.
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For those who still like wagons – and there are some still left – TourX fills in a once proud niche for Buick that has been left open since the demise of the classic Buick Roadmaster two decades ago.
“It’s something that is very different and very beautiful, and it’s a good alternative for Buick to try,” said Mark Reuss, head of General Motors’ global product development operations, at the Regal reveal.
Buick isn’t the only one trying to strike a balance between SUV and station wagon, of course. Volvo is hoping to score with the new V90 – which shares the same platform as the award-winning XC90 SUV. But it is telling to note that Volvo officials recently told TheDetroitBureau.com that they expect to sell only “a few 100” true V90 wagons in the U.S. They are more upbeat, predicting demand will go well into the “thousands” for the XC90 Cross Country, which is a higher-riding, more robust-looking version.
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The Buick Tour X will actually go up against a smaller Volvo model recently unveiled in Geneva: the XC60 Cross Country. Other competitors in this wagon-CUV class include the likes of the Audi A4 Allroad, Subaru Outback and BMW 3 Series wagon.
As for the Buick Regal Sportback, it will offer the same AWD powertrain as the TourX, as well as a front-drive option pairing a four-banger and nine-speed making 250 hp and 260 lb-ft.
The Sportback also provides a reasonable amount of space, at 31.5 cubic feet nearly twice what the current Regal has to offer.
Both of the new Regal models are based on an Opel design, likely among the last to share platforms with the German-based brand that GM recently sold off to France’s PSA. They also will be imported from a plant in Russelsheim, Germany.
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That raises the possibility they could be subject to a border tax if Pres. Donald Trump has his way, though the auto industry has been strongly resisting that move.