2012 Buick Regal Review
The 2012 Buick Regal offers comfort and performance at a price that’s less than many rival upscale midsize cars.
Buick refuses to rest on its laurels with the 2012 Regal. Buick introduced two new models into the Regal family for 2012, as well as a revised touch-screen infotainment system that should impress Regal buyers.
The Buick Regal is the 2012 U.S. News Best Upscale Midsize Car for the Money. It won this award for its low long-term ownership costs and high praise from auto writers, as well as its nimble handling and comfortable interior. All of these attributes make it a good value in its segment. The Regal is also the 2012 U.S. News Best Upscale Midsize Car for Families. This is an award it won for its good safety scores, roomy interior and high-quality cabin.
The 2012 model year sees the introduction of the Regal eAssist, a mild-hybrid version of the Regal with impressive fuel economy. So far, though, the big news among reviewers has been the introduction of the Regal GS, which is even more powerful than the Buick Regal Turbo.
Still, some test drivers say that while the base Buick Regal offers great performance at a reasonable price, the Regal GS is up against better-known competitors in an intensely competitive class. “With the Regal GS, Buick is serving up a gourmet helping of nouvelle refinement and performance,” says Motor Trend. “But the big-name chefs down the street at Acura and Audi are selling their established crowd-pleasers (TSX V-6 and A4 Quattro) for the same price."
Fortunately for shoppers on a budget, most critics assert that even the base model handles like a European luxury sedan. Test drivers say that even though the Buick brand may not be strong enough to pull brand loyalists of more expensive automakers in, overlooking the Regal would be a mistake.
Other Cars to Consider
The 2012 Buick Regal is more expensive than most base-model affordable midsize cars, but less than other upscale midsize cars. If you’re shopping for value, compare the Regal with other affordable midsize cars like the Hyundai Sonata. Like the Regal, the Sonata comes with standard interior tech features that are often optional on competing models, but it’s also considerably less expensive than the Buick and gets better fuel economy.
If you’ve got a little more money to spend, and like the Regal’s composed handling and comfortable interior, consider rivals like the Audi A4. The A4 may be pricier than the Regal, but it also offers good fuel economy and optional all-wheel drive, as well as German luxury car cachet. However, the A4 also doesn’t come with as many standard features, which means that if you want to match the Regal’s list of standard equipment, you’ll have to add a longer list of options into your budget.
Buick Regal: The Details
For 2012, the Buick Regal is available in four distinct trims that are based primarily around the engine. Base models feature a four-cylinder engine, while the Regal eAssist adds a small electric motor to improve fuel economy. For buyers seeking more performance, Buick offers the Regal Turbo and the top-of-the-line Regal GS, which both feature a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
GS and eAssist models are new for 2012, and Buick will be adding its IntelliLink touch-screen infotainment system as standard equipment at some point during the 2012 model year. If you like the Regal, but also want the latest tech features, you might want to wait for this feature.
For a full list of standard and optional features, see the 2012 Buick Regal specs.
- "The Buick Regal is an entirely reasonable proposition. People and stuff fit in it. It's decent looking, priced fairly and has the requisite balance of power and fuel economy for a medium-size sedan with premium aspirations." -- AutoWeek
- "The Regal boasts nimble, athletic road manners while maintaining the generally upscale aura expected of the brand." -- Consumer Guide
- "Check every box and you'll end up just under $39,000. That's pushing awfully close to the $40K mark, but keep in mind, an Acura TSX V6 with the tech package will run you about $39K, as well. We'll take the Buick, thanks. (Isn't it nice to be able to say that again?)" -- Autoblog (Regal GS)
- "What it is, it turns out, is a very well tuned, near-luxury sport sedan that, in terms of sheer driving pleasure, surpasses anything else in its class made in Detroit these days, not to mention imports like the Acura TSX and the Lexus ES350." -- Automobile Magazine
- "So let's see what we have here; A gorgeous, fun-to-drive, quick, comfortable, well-equipped American sedan built with the quality of its German competitors... and it's a Buick. Who knew?" -- Jalopnik