Premium midsize car; Built in Germany, Canada
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,000 – $28,200*

2011 Buick Regal Front

2011 Buick Regal Rear

2011 Buick Regal Interior

2011 Buick Regal Rear-2

2011 Buick Regal Front-2

2011 Buick Regal Front-3

  • Acceleration (Turbo, GS)
  • Engine quietness
  • Ride/handling
  • Acceleration (base engine)
  • Control layout

The revived Regal sports a much more Euro-centric flavor than any previous Buick. While its unexpected new persona might be unsettling to some shoppers, Regal earns our praise for its surprisingly nimble, athletic road manners, while maintaining the generally upscale aura expected of the Buick brand. Choosing the optional turbo engine tacks on a significant price premium, but brings welcome “go” in place of the base engine’s middling acceleration. We recommend pairing the turbo with the slick manual transmission, which adds a new dimension of sportiness you would not typically associate with Buick. Sportier still is the GS, which delivers excellent handling with little sacrifice in ride quality, quietness, or overall refinement.


Introduction of the 2011 Buick Regal marked the return of a midsize sedan and the Regal nameplate to this General Motors division’s lineup. Buick had last offered a Regal in the United States in 2004. The revived version shared its basic design with the European-market Opel Insignia. Initially, Regals were offered in a single CXL trim level. The standard engine was a 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. A 220-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was available, and versions so equipped were priced as separate models. The turbo engine could run on gasoline and/or E85 ethanol-blended fuel. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard with both engines at first; though a six-speed manual for turbocharged models arrived later in the model year.

Standard safety features include all-disc antilock braking, traction control, antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. Rear side airbags were available. All models had standard 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and an eight-way power driver’s seat. An “Interactive Drive Control System” adjustable suspension was available on models equipped with the turbocharged engine. A navigation system with a hard drive for storing digital-music files was optional. With its Regal, Buick competed against the Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Suzuki Kizashi. Midsize choices also included the Kia Optima and Chrysler 200.

Yearly Updates

2012 Regal
Changes were considerable for the 2012 Buick Regal, including new trim-level designations and a newly optional hybrid (gas/electric) drivetrain. Buick phased out CXL nomenclature and expanded the selection, so the 2012 lineup included six models: Base, Premium 1, Premium 2, Turbo Premium 1, Turbo Premium 2, Turbo Premium 3, and a new high-performance GS edition. GS models held a 270-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, driving a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The new “eAssist” option added a 15-horsepower electric motor to the base engine, allowing the car to idle without the gas engine running, then restart when the driver released the brake pedal. But an “eAssist” Regal could not run on electric power alone. Visually, “signature” Buick portholes were added to Regal hoods. Also, production shifted from Germany to Canada.
2013 Regal
The big news for 2013 was that the standard 4-cylinder engine was history. In its stead was the previously optional “eAssist” system, which paired a battery-powered electric motor to a gasoline engine, this provided a few extra horsepower and a substantial boost in projected fuel economy. From a feature standpoint, all versions gained Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system.
2014 Regal
For 2014 the two turbocharged 2.0-liter engines with horsepower ratings of 220 and 270 were replaced by one turbocharged 2.0-liter rated at 259 horsepower. All-wheel drive was newly available with the turbocharged engine.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Regular 2011 Regals contained a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that developed 182 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder was installed in the CXL Turbo, generating 220 horsepower. A six-speed manual gearbox has been available with the turbocharged engine. Otherwise, all Regals had a six-speed automatic transmission. For 2012, Buick added an eAssist mild-hybrid model with an electric motor and a 197-horsepower version of the 2.4-liter engine. In addition, a stronger (270-horsepower) version of the 2.0-liter turbo went into the new Regal GS, offered with either a manual or automatic transmission. For 2013 the base 2.4-liter engine without eAssist was dropped. For 2014 the two turbocharged 2.0-liters were replaced by one rated 259 horsepower. All-wheel drive became available with the turbocharged engine in 2014.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/145
Engine HP 182
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 172
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



dohc I4/electric
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/145
Engine HP 197
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 120
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual



Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 259
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual


Road Test

All engines have somewhat leisurely throttle response from a stop. The base engine requires ample throttle input for adequate passing power. With eAssist, the 2.4-liter engine feels a bit stronger, particularly when starting off. This combination is very refined, and the transitions when the gas engine shuts off at stops and automatically restarts when the brake pedal is released are reasonably smooth. The turbocharged version has noticeably stronger mid-range performance without pronounced turbo lag. Strongest of the lot is the 2012 GS. Buick estimated 0-60 mph acceleration in 6.7 seconds, which may be a bit conservative. Regal’s automatic transmission doesn’t always shift smoothly. We actually prefer the manual gearbox, despite somewhat long “throws.” Otherwise, the shifter is solid, and the clutch is effortless.

Fuel economy varies considerably, depending on engine. In Consumer Guide testing, a 2.4-liter CXL (equivalent to Premium 2 in 2012) averaged 22.7 mpg in city/highway driving. An automatic-transmission Turbo averaged 23.5 mpg with slightly more highway driving than city use. The EPA estimated eAssist mileage at 25/36 mpg, compared to 19/30 mpg for a 2.4-liter without eAssist. The base engine uses regular-grade gas; premium is recommended but not required for the turbo. Engines without eAssist and non-GS turbos can also run on E85 ethanol.

Regal’s ride favors taut composure over cushy isolation, but it’s never harsh. Some wheel patter is noticeable over rough surfaces. The available Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) came with 19-inch wheels in place of the standard 18s, with no significant penalty in ride quality. The IDCS’s Tour mode dials in softer suspension settings, but the difference is rather subtle. GS models got a variation of IDCS with selectable “Sport” and “GS” modes. The default Comfort setting delivers a ride that’s only slightly firmer, with little difference among the other settings.

Steering/handling is a plus. Regals are nimble and balanced in quick changes of direction. Steering is direct but smooth, with good feedback. Brakes provide good stopping control. The Interactive Drive Control System’s Sport mode delivers sharper, quicker moves. GS is one of the best-handling front-drive cars around, with razor-sharp steering and fine balance. When equipped with summer-only tires, grip is outstanding. Differences between Sport and GS modes are slight, with the latter offering the best performance. Even in default Comfort mode, a GS handles well.

Tire roar is the biggest source of noise, particularly on coarse surfaces. Engines are exceptionally smooth and refined. No one will mistake any Regal engine for a V6, but four-cylinder motors are still quite smooth and refined. There’s a trace of turbo whistle from that engine during full-throttle acceleration, but it’s not at all bothersome. The GS emits a sportier exhaust note, but still largely in accord with Buick’s message of quiet performance. Wind rush is well-muffled.

Gauges are unobstructed, but their markings are a bit on the small side and can be difficult to see in some light conditions. The center stack has plenty of buttons that require familiarization. The climate-control system is easy to use, but many included functions are not the most intuitive. A console-mounted dial in cars with navigation controls some audio, climate, and optional navigation functions. Considering the abundance of buttons and touchscreen functionality included with navigation, the dial adds an unneeded layer of complexity. Its redundancy can be helpful because the touchscreen requires a stretch to reach.

Cabin decor is generally upscale, but more sporty than plush. Satin-metal-look trim dresses things up, though some hard plastic is present. The available piano-black trim is uninspired, especially in the GS model. Nice-looking leather upholstery is an appreciated standard amenity. One test car suffered from a loud, persistent rattle from the rear-seat area.

Front-seat legroom is expansive and headroom is sufficient, even with the optional sunroof. Seats are comfortable and supportive–particularly the sport buckets in the GS edition. Visibility is good all-around, though a tall deck limits the rear view somewhat.

The optional sunroof’s housing partially intrudes on rear-seat headroom. Legroom out back gets cramped if the front seats are moved more than halfway back.

Sickle-shaped trunklid hinges intrude slightly on overall space, but they’re covered so they don’t crush cargo. Small-items storage is just average; included are two cupholders and a smallish covered console bin.


Model Tested: 2011 Buick Regal CXL

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 - 5
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 6

Total: 55


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.8 190.2 73.1 58.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.3 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 36.8 42.1 37.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2014 Buick Regal 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


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

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The antilock brake system warning may illuminate due to pinched wires or damaged insulation at the wiring harness connector. (2011-12)
Engine knock and oil leak
Description: 2.4-liter engine may have high oil consumption or oil leak because of frozen positive crankcase ventilation system. (2011-13)
Engine noise
Description: Damaged rod or main bearings might cause loud engine noise or cause engine to seize. (2014)
Oil leak
Description: Power steering fluid may leak from a fitting at the steering gear as the seal wears from factory misassembly. (2011-13)
Steering problems
Description: Power steering pump makes noises or leaks at extremely low temperatures. (2013-14)
Suspension problems
Description: Regal with AWD might experience shudder of vibration because of an improperly seated front axle shaft. (2014)
Transmission noise
Description: A click may come from the front axle when shifting between drive and reverse and/or under hard acceleration due to excessive clearance between the axle shaft and hub requiring installation of a thrust washer. (2010-11)
Description: Power windows may be misaligned and move slowly or not at all. (2008-14)

Recall History

2011-12 Regal w/power seats
Description: The bolt that secures the front seat height adjuster may fall out resulting the seat unexpectedly dropping.
2011-13 Regal
Description: Front turn signals contain two bulbs. If one bulb is burned out, there is no indication to the driver that the signal is not functioning properly. With only a single bulb functioning, the signal might not be visible to other drivers.
2012 Regal
Description: Parking lamps may not activate when either the parking lamps or headlamps are turned on.
2012 Regal
Description: Improperly installed steering-wheel fastener could cause the steering wheel to loosen or separate from the steering column.
2012 Regal
Description: Because of a software error, the parking lights might not activate when turned on.
2012-13 Regal w/eAssist engine
Description: Generator Control Module may function correctly, causing loss of battery charge. This could cause the engine to stall or not start. In addition, it could cause a fire in the trunk.
2014 Regal
Description: Improperly tightened fasteners in the steering and front suspension could result in loss of steering.
2014 Regal
Description: The transmission-shift-cable adjuster may disengage from the shift lever. A shift lever in Park may not engage Park for the transmission.

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.

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