No matching results

Recent Articles

Popular Makes

Body Types

2016 Buick Regal Road Test & Review

Lyndon Bell
by Lyndon Bell
December 10, 2015
5 min. Reading Time
2016 Buick Regal ・  Photo by General Motors

2016 Buick Regal ・ Photo by General Motors

Those familiar with the history of the marque know this is far from the first Buick to come to market with a performance orientation. In fact, back in the late 1980s, Buick had a formidable run of turbocharged V6-powered Buick Regals, culminating in a 1987 Buick Regal GNX capable of outrunning the 1987 Corvette to 60 miles per hour and in the quarter mile.

These days, while zero to 60 is still quite relevant, so are slalom times, braking distances, steering feel, and cornering attitudes. If you’re a manufacturer who needs your contemporary sport sedan product to be considered hot, you have to make sure handling and overall refinement measure up accordingly. It’s all about the overall execution of the entire package.

The good news is the 2016 Buick Regal is more than competent in this regard. The bad news is that for the 2016 model year, Buick’s product planners have inexplicably hamstrung the base model of the lovely sedan.

What’s New For 2016?

For the 2016 model year, Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system has been updated to provide more intuitive operation, as well as the incorporation of Apple Car Play, Android Auto, and text messaging. The trim levels have been tweaked a bit to improve overall value; a new Sport Touring appearance package has been added, and the base engine is now a 2.4-liter inline four, rather than the mild hybrid eAssist powertrain previously employed.


Models & Pricing

The base model—Regal 1SV—starts at $27,990 and comes equipped with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, remote keyless entry, leather, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Buick’s Intellilink infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, satellite radio, heated front seats, and heated exterior rearview mirrors.

To all of the above, the 2016 Buick Regal 1SL, which starts at $29,915, adds a more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Regal Premium II starts at $32,490 and adds xenon headlights, a heated steering wheel, Bose audio, navigation, keyless entry/push-button start, and remote start.

The 2016 Buick Regal GS starts at $34,885 and gets 19-inch wheels, a rear parking sensor array, Brembo front brakes, an adaptive sport tuned suspension system, adjustable drive modes, sport seats, a three-spoke steering wheel, and a reconfigurable instrument panel.

It should be noted all-wheel drive is offered within each trim level. However, adding it necessitates ordering the 2.0-liter turbo. The 2016 Buick Regal 1SV with all-wheel drive starts at $32,430, Regal Premium II AWD starts at $34,915, and GS AWD starts at $37,415.

 Photo by Buick

Photo by Buick

Exterior & Interior Styling

Back in 2014, the Regal was reworked to incorporate new headlamps and a revised version of the traditional Buick waterfall grille. Adding to the aggressiveness of its look, our test GS enjoyed a lowered ride height than the standard 2016 Buick Regal models. It also featured a spoiler integrated into the trunk lid.

Further, LED taillights added a distinctive appearance, while the chrome bar spanning the trunklid tied the taillamps into the overall design. Capping it off nicely, chrome exhaust outlets, exaggerated in size, emphasized the sporting aspirations of our Regal GS.

The interior has a rich ambiance with soft touch materials and pleasant shapes. You can see some thought and consideration was given to the way it would play and it does play, quite well.

Serving as the perfect stylistic punctuation was a flat-bottomed steering wheel with multifunction control buttons. The overall impression was one of a nice blend of luxurious touches with sporting overtones.


Comfort & Cargo Capacity

As a long distance tourer, our Regal GS test car offered firm sport seats with exceptional comfort and support. Further, they did a good job of holding occupants in place during vigorous cornering maneuvers. With that said, if you’re on the heftier side, you might find the sport seats a bit confining.

We were surprised to find the rear seats coming up sort of stingy on legroom, particularly given the overall size of the Regal. Don’t get it twisted, though; if front seat occupants are inclined toward mutually assured comfort the Regal will seat four adults in reasonable comfort over shorter drives.

Meanwhile, a full array of map pockets, door bins, and cupholders are all present and accounted for—along with a generous glove box and center console storage. At 14.2 cubic feet, the trunk of the 2016 Buick Regal is reasonably sized, if not exactly cavernous.


Safety & Crash Test Ratings

Standard safety features include a full complement of airbags, a rearview camera, StabiliTrak, traction control, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Intelligent Brake Assist.

Regal’s Driver Confidence Package #1 adds $1,040 to the base price and includes blind spot monitoring with lane change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and a following distance indicator. An additional $1195 adds Driver Confidence Package #2, which includes adaptive cruise control and automatic collision preparation with braking.

NHTSA rates Regal a five-star car overall, while the IIHS ranks the Buick as “Good” (its top ranking).


Engines & Fuel Economy

For 2016, the base model is powered by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 172 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission feeds the front wheels. Fuel economy is rated at 23 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving. That said, compared to the discontinued eAssist mild hybrid engine formerly occupying this spot, many pundits (ourselves included) feel this is a step backward.

All other versions of the 2016 Buick Regal get a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine producing 259 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque. This is offered with both front- and all-wheel drive.

Front-drive GS models can be had with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The six-speed automatic is the only transmission offering for all-wheel drive configured Regals.

In GS trim, the AWD system can be configured to optimize high performance operation when the GS drive mode button on the dash is pressed. This also alters the responsiveness of the shocks, steering, and transmission to optimize performance potential.

With front-wheel drive and either transmission, fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg overall. With all-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic, the EPA advises anticipating 22.



Around town and on the highway, our Buick Regal GS test car was remarkably quiet, exceptionally smooth, and impressively refined. The Buick absorbed pavement abnormalities with considerable deftness, while exhibiting outstanding directional stability.

Were we driving around in any of the competitive cars from established sport sedan manufacturers, after the first few miles, we’d likely have stopped paying attention to the car and just drove. But because we were piloting a Buick, we paid extra-close attention to every little nuance of the Regal’s behavior.

In other words, when we’re driving a car with a very strong reputation, we tend to let it disappear around us and just enjoy the drive, confident any flaws will reveal themselves as part of the natural order of things. In the case of the Buick Regal, however, because we were driving a car without an established reputation, we were somewhat hypersensitive to its ministrations.

In our defense, though, this was the first time we’d ever experienced a Buick this good.

Delving into the performance potential of the Buick, we noted the steering effort was just right (with the GS button activated). Turn-in to corners was nice and crisp, and body roll was all but non-existent. The brake pedal was firm and informed binders with determined retardation capabilities.

On the other hand, we did find a throttle response to be an issue with the automatic transmission. The first few inches of pedal travel were basically dead. We asked, and were told this had to do with the calibration of the transmission to ensure smooth operation. Felt like turbo lag to us, but we were assured this was not the case. This quirk aside, for what most people will ask of it, the 2016 Buick Regal is more than up to the task.


Final Thoughts

We’re going to go on record right here and state we feel the 2016 Buick Regal is absolutely comparable to an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, or Mercedes C-Class. Note, however, we said comparable. The Buick still has a ways to go before qualifying as their equivalent—but it really is quite close.

We were pleasantly surprised to realize we could absolutely live with—and enjoy— a Buick Regal GS. Given our proclivities toward responsiveness, sophistication, and pleasant esthetics, this speaks well to what GM has accomplished with the 2016 Buick Regal. The car handles nicely, and further is good-looking, well equipped, and remarkably comfortable.

If they could just fix that throttle issue, we’d be absolutely set.

 Photo by Buick

Photo by Buick

Pros & Cons

The 2016 Buick Regal offers standard features aplenty, along with reasonable pricing, a beautiful interior treatment, an all-wheel drive option, and an abundance of cutting-edge tech features. However, we feel it could use more rear seat legroom, better throttle response with the automatic transmission, and we recommend avoiding the 2.4-liter engine.

 Photo by Buick

Photo by Buick


Interested in Getting a New Car?

Used Cars Near You

No Data Available

Powered by Usedcars.com
©2024 AutoWeb, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Some content provided by and under copyright by Autodata, Inc. dba Chrome Data. © 1986-2024.