It has been six years since the Regal nameplate was put out to pasture by Buick. Now, the new 2011 Buick Regal returns to the stable to serve as the GM brand's sport sedan model. Along with a zesty engine and upscale appearance, Buick is also intent on put-performing in the category of fuel efficiency. To aid in this endeavor, Buick recently announced that the 2011 Buick Regal will be flex-fuel capable.
The new, eco-friendly move will be incorporated into all Buick Regal models starting this Fall. The E85 engines will allow drivers to fill up with either traditional gasoline or ethanol gasoline - a fuel mixture that makes use of corn to help reduce consumption of fossil fuels.
Buick has announced two different engine options for the 2011 Regal, both of which will get the E85 treatment. The base model is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that musters 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft. of torque. Later in the year, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder will also be made available. This upgrade engine earns 220 horsepower and comes with a manual six-speed transmission.
Even without flex-fuel capability, the Buick Regal earns solid fuel efficiency compared to its entry-level luxury competition. Estimated mileage for traditional gasoline comes in at 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway for the base engine. Turbocharged models deliver 18 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. In comparison, the base Acura TL earns 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Other models, such as the Honda Accord an Audi A4, have similar fuel ratings as the Regal.
While E85 fuel efficiency will be slightly lower than the traditional gas estimates, Buick promises that fuel losses will be minimal thanks to technologies such as direct injection and turbocharging.
Looking beyond fuel efficiency, the Buick Regal is shaping up to deliver a solid shot of vitality into the aging arm of the GM brand. The Regal has been for sale overseas since 2008 (as the Opel Insignia), and has received solid praise for its balance of bold styling, sharp handling and pampered interior. Base interior features include automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control, heated leather seats, power windows and locks, a 60/40 split rear seat, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system.
Overseas crash tests indicate the Buick Regal will return top safety scores when the model is tested here later in the year. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, traction control, antilock brakes, stability control and OnStar.
Starting at $26,245, the new 2011 Buick Regal seems to be a steal given the amount of high-class standard amenities. Serving as the new entry-level Buick model, similar models worth considering include the Lexus IS 250 and the Volkswagen CC.