The 2016 Buick Regal, both comfortable and comforting.
Do you follow fashion trends and buy the latest outfits, or do you replace your classic black dress with…a new classic black dress. If you fall in the latter camp, the 2016 Buick Regal is for you. This mid-size luxury sedan updates its look every year, but not so much that you won’t know exactly where everything is. It is both comforting and reliable, your old friend, rendered in about 3,600 pounds of steel and leather.
But the car is not boring. The all wheel drive means you can take it on a camping trip – as we did to New Hampshire. Then you can run it through the car wash and drive it for a night out on the town.
Easy to use technology
It’s great having advanced safety features and Bluetooth connectivity with your phone, but if you can’t figure out how to use them, the features are useless. The Buick IntelliLink is simple and elegant with OnStar 4G LTE and a Wi-Fi hotspot. There are buttons and knobs if you don’t like using a touchscreen and you can connect up to seven devices.
The Regal has lane change alert, lane departure warning, forward collision alert and collision mitigation braking, rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone alert, along with adaptive cruise control. With lane change alert, a little green icon of a car crossing the line is on the instrument cluster and if you try to change lanes without signaling you are pulled back to your lane. You can turn this off – and the button is easy to find.
Getting around is easy
You can find your way easily, using the OnStar navigation, or the voice activated nav system. OnStar, of course, couldn’t be easier; push a button and a live human being helps. But if you are in a hurry and OnStar is busy – this happened to us twice – you can quickly get directions with the navigation system. Once you’ve gotten your destination loaded, directions are super easy to follow. The navigation voice temporarily turns the radio volume down when it speaks, so you can hear the directions, upcoming turns are noted on both the dashboard and the eight inch infotainment screen and you get adequate warnings when a turn is soon; there is a two mile then one mile warning, and an audible “ding” to indicate your turn.
Who this car is for
- People who never outgrew a sedan
- Anyone flummoxed by technology; OnStar is easy to access and simple to use
- Drivers who like a heated seat, but don’t need a cooled one
- Drivers who like to rent the same car they own on vacation
Storage – the trunk and throughout the Regal
The Buick has a huge trunk; we were able to fit all my daughter’s camp supplies, plus our luggage for a weekend trip. Throughout the car, there are good little storage areas, but I found the cup holders in the center console awkward to use; you have to pull your elbow all the way back or turn to get a water bottle out while driving.
The White Frost tricoat paint job, an extra charge, made the Buick sparkle and little accents – like elegant brake and gas pedals and leather trim – helped justify the price tag, which is north of $40,000.
Back seat passengers enjoy a household plug to power up a phone, laptop or tablet. But the two USB ports in the center console are hard to use; perhaps Donald Trump with his tiny hands could use them, but my average sized fingers found them frustrating to use. On the other (oversized) hand, most car buyers would plug a charger in once and then leave it in the car, so it’s not really that big a deal.
Not so environmentally friendly
The comfortable leather seats with lumbar support will make a vegan cry, but what will really get her goat is the fuel economy – just 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 on the highway. The turbo charged four cylinder car should really do better, but the all wheel drive eats up any fuel savings the four cylinders offer. We did feel virtuous hiking up to the summit of Mount Holyoke; at the trailhead, the Buick was surrounded by hybrids. Had we driven to the top, the Buick would have shared the parking lot with all the luxury vehicles that took the easy way up.
What we loved
- Household plug plus 2 USB ports
- OnStar in addition to easy to use navigation system
- 4G LTE WiFi hotspot
- Apple CarPlay
- Heated front seats and heated steering wheel
- Power moonroof
What you need to know
- Base price: $36,490 price for the model I drove, with both driver confidence packages, moonroof, 20 inch wheels and tricoat paint, $42,345
- Fuel economy: 19 mpg in the city, 27 on the highway; 22 combined
- Takes regular gasoline
- USB ports can be hard to access; center console cup holders are also difficult to use
- 2 maintenance visits included
- 6 year / 70,000 mile powertrain warranty
- 4 year / 50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty
Note: Buick loaned me the Regal for the purposes of this review. Opinions expressed are my own.