Midsize car; Built in Canada
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,100 – $5,400*

1998 Buick Regal GS

1998 Buick Regal GS

1999 Buick Regal GS

1998 Buick Regal interior

1999 Buick Regal LS

  • Acceleration
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
  • Fuel economy (supercharged engine)

Regal fails to match the overall refinement or proven reliability record of a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, and prices are likely to be far higher than for a comparable Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable. Still, Regal’s solidity, performance, and ample quantity of equipment make it worth a close look in the midsize family sedan league.


Buick launched a redesigned version of its midlevel sedan during the 1997 model year, to replace the slightly smaller Regals that had debuted back in ’88. Though sharing its underskin structure and basic interior with the Century, Regal was marketed as a sportier sedan, with more-powerful engines. Structurally, the Regal also is related to the Oldsmobile Intrigue and Pontiac Grand Prix. Both the base LS and more-costly GS got a 3.8-liter V6 engine and automatic transmission. Under GS hoods, however, the V6 was supercharged, producing 240 horsepower, in contrast to the usual 195. The Regal GS also got a firmer suspension, a body-colored grille, and leather upholstery. Both models were equipped with front bucket seats and a console-mounted floor shifter. Standard fittings included separate climate controls for the driver and front passenger, magnetic variable-assist power steering, and antilock 4-wheel disc brakes.

Yearly Updates

1998 Regal
Apart from reduced-power airbags, like those on other Buick models, changes were few for 1998.
1999 Regal
Suspension modifications promised to improve ride and handling on the base LS model this year. A standard tire-inflation monitor also was installed. The normally aspirated V6 engine in the Regal LS gained 5 horsepower.
2000 Regal
A split folding rear seatback became standard. A side airbag for the driver (but not the front passenger) became standard on the Regal GS and was included with optional leather upholstery on the LS. The GS gained a body-color grille and new-look alloy wheels.
2001 Regal
General Motors’ OnStar assistance system became standard instead of optional on GS, and new Joseph Abboud fashion designer packages added special paint, trim, and Gran Touring suspension.
2002 Regal
Steering-wheel radio controls were newly standard on GS models this year.
2003 Regal
Regals gain new door-pillar and roof-rail trim backed with energy-absorbing foam for head-impact protection. Antilock brakes and side airbags were made optional on some models.
2004 Regal
OnStar assistance is now standard on the ’04 Regal GS.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Regal buyers got two distinct engine choices. The 3.8-liter overhead-valve V6 engine could be normally aspirated, with a 195-horsepower rating (200 in ’99). Or, a supercharged engine was available, installed in the GS, rated at 240 horsepower. Either engine drove a 4-speed automatic transmission.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 195-200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Supercharged ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 280
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

Well-known for smooth running, GM’s 3.8-liter V6 engine feels great when installed in a Regal, furnishing good acceleration at low speeds, as well as plenty of passing power. Performance is better yet with the supercharged edition. Unfortunately, the GS suffers marked torque steer, in which the steering wheel is tugged in one direction during rapid takeoffs. Transmission behavior is absolutely sparkling and mannerly with either engine–just the way all automatic transmissions should function. We averaged between 16.9 and 20.1 mpg with a Regal GS. Gas mileage with an LS is about the same, but that model does not require premium fuel.

Although Buick has promoted the Regal as a sports sedan, the car leans more toward comfort than true handling prowess. Steering response is a little slow in quick changes of direction, and the body floats slightly over high-speed dips that European sport sedans would take in stride. Body lean is moderate, however, and the Regal’s suspension soaks up large bumps with little intrusion toward occupants.

Pleasant inside, the Regal offers ample space in front and rear, though it’s better for four adults than five. Comfortable front seats support the occupants nicely even during spirited driving. On the downside, the fold-down center armrest is too low to be of much value, yet its presence restricts outboard passenger space. Climate controls could be simpler, however. Having a trunklid release inside the car would be handy, too, but there’s one only on the remote keyless entry fob. Not only does the lid to the big trunk open to 90 degrees, but its hinges do not intrude on luggage space.


Model Tested: 2002 Buick Regal LS

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 5


Value - 5

Total: 52


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.0 196.2 72.7 56.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.7 17.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.4 42.4 36.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Regal 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 3

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
Rear Passenger Injury - 3


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 65
Injury 54
Theft 24

Trouble Spots

Coolant leak
Description: The 3.8-liter V6 may leak coolant into the engine from the intake manifold. A new gasket kit, revised throttle body nuts, and sealing compound is available. Redesigned manifolds are also available in the aftermarket. (1997-2004)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant loss via plastic intake manifold is corrected by installing upgraded manifold and gaskets plus new PCV kit. (1997-04)
Engine misfire
Description: An engine miss causes rough running and a check engine light. It is due to the spark-plug boots, cracking and allowing the voltage to jump to ground. (1997-98)
Engine noise
Description: A ticking sound in the engine is caused by excessive clearance between the piston bores and wrist pins. GM will replace all pistons under normal warranty. (1997-98)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1999-2000)
Keyless entry
Description: The remote keyless entry may not have much range, requiring a new receiver (with foil antenna) to be installed. (1997)
Suspension noise
Description: A popping or groaning noise from the rear of the car is caused by the stabilizer shaft links. Redesigned links are available. (1997-98)
Vehicle shake
Description: In warm weather, the engine bounces in its mounts causing a shaking sensation throughout the whole car. A new transmission mount will be installed under normal warranty. (1997-98)
Description: The wipers may not stop in the correct position due to a problem with the wiper motor bracket. (2002)
Check-engine light
Description: Chafed wiring harness near the A/C accumulator can cause check-engine light, no-start, ABS warning light, stalling, or poor drivability. (2000-01)

Recall History

Description: Right front brake line can wear through; can result in fluid loss, and loss of half of braking system.
Description: Windshield wipers may stop working, due to separation between drive pin and crescent in crank-arm assembly.
1997-03 w/3.8L V6 engine
Description: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold during hard braking. If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame. Dealers will remove the spark plug wire retention channel at the front of engine and install two new spark plug wire retainers free of charge.
Description: Vertical headlamp-adjusting device may not be calibrated properly.
Description: Short in ABS motor can cause extreme heating of flexible brake pipe, where it can melt nearby plastic fuel hose.
Description: Lights on some cars may provide substandard illumination, reducing driver’s ability to read overhead signs at night.
2000 w/rear drum brakes
Description: Bolt heads on rear spindle rod can separate and affected wheel can shift, causing loss of control.
Description: Clamp that secures flexible fuel-fill hose to metal fill tube on a few cars may be loose and could separate, causing fuel leakage.
Description: Some seatbelt assemblies were not properly heat treated and do not pass the load-bearing requirement.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.