Up until this latest generation, Buick has always been the brand my aging, and aching grandparents chose, thus the brand was obscured from my field of vision with extreme prejudice.
This morning I had the opportunity to spend some time with the mid-size 2015 Buick Regal.
I chose the base level model so as not to be distracted by the many toys and gizmos available.
My reasoning was simple, I need to focus purely on the chassis dynamics and feel of the car, if ever I am to shake the notion of Seniors car from my head.
The 2015 Regal is an attractive vehicle. The lines are modern, the front end has an subdued aggression to it that appealed to me.
The interior layout is nearly luxurious, with the occasional plastic panel cheapening it slightly, but not detracting from the overall feeling of pleasantness and comfort.
I loved the radio and HVAC controls. They are clean, well sorted and do not require you to have a degree in computer software engineering to operate.
The use of dials is perfect. We need dials to control volume and channel selection.
Dials are intuitive, touchscreens are not. Dials are safe and in my subjective opinion, touch screens are not, as they require the driver to look away from the road, even if it is only briefly.
The Base model had 10-way power adjustable seats for the driver and 4-way power/manual front passenger seat. The seats are leather and heated, very comfortable, but in no way sporty.
The list of standard features is impressive.
To give a glimpse, without wanting to sound like the brochure, standard features include: a very nice cool blue interior lighting, electric parking brake, eight-inch colour touch screen radio with Buick IntelliLink, AM/FM/Sirius XM (three months of service) stereo with CD player and auxiliary input jack, USB ports, SD card and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for select phones, leather wrapped steering wheel, and a whole lot more.
On a quest to attract a younger audience, the 2015 Regal can be had with a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows up to 7 devices to access the internet.
Another very modern feature is the RemoteLink Key Fob service. Basically this is an App you upload to your smartphone or tablet that allows you to lock or unlock the doors, activate the horn and lights and start the car using said phone or tablet, so really make sure you know where your phone is at all times.
For those looking for safety features the 2015 Regal is available with Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind spot monitoring, Lane departure warnings. What all this means is the car will keep pace in stop and go traffic without you having to adjust a thing, well you do still need to steer.
The drive was bank vault quiet, only the odd distant thump on larger potholes. The suspension absorbed nearly every impact without any jarring, crunching or really any effect to the occupants.
To me the ride is best described as being a modern take on classic Buick. You feel isolated from the road and chassis but not so much as to feel your at sea.
Of course if you opt for the GS model all this comfort takes a back seat to precision and sporty tendencies.
The steering was well weighted and offered up enough feed back for daily use.
The standard engine is a 2L Turbo direct injection 4 cylinder which has outputs of 259 H.P. and 295 lb-ft.
Fuel economy estimates are 11.4 L/km(25 mpg) city and 7.9 L/km(32 mpg) highway.
The engine is powerful enough for all situations but in this trim level prefers relaxed demands as opposed to a heavy foot.
The standard transmission is a 6 speed auto, with gear lever operated shift control. The lack of steering wheel gear control is welcome as this is not a sports cars and thus requires none.
If you want a manual you will have to opt for the top of the line GS model. This model has unique fascia, body kit, 19″ wheels, dual exhaust, sport seats & pedals, sports tuned suspension and Brembo front brakes.
On the topic of models, you can chose one of four; Base, Premium 1, Premium 2, or GS. Pricing starts at $34,895 and the GS starts at$43045( $29,115/$37,830 U.S).
Other notable options are AWD, E Assist( an integrated lithium ion battery and electric motor tied to a 2.4L engine)only available with FWD, Premium Audio from Bose and a Navigation system.
I enjoyed my time in the Buick Regal. The latest models have done a lot to try and grab the attention of those who understand how use a computer and even those who know what instagram and tweeting is all about.