2011 Buick Regal

2011 Buick Regal

Episode 3006 , Episode 3019
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While most buyers think of Buick as a posh, premium brand, their performance car history actually dates back to the legendary straight-8s of the 1930s. In more recent decades, the Regal nameplate carried the best of Buick’s performance intensions. So it makes sense that when Buick planned an all-new, mid-size sports sedan that the Regal name would once again appear. But this Regal is not like any Buick we’ve driven before.

After a six-year absence, the Buick Regal returns for 2011 as an all-new Euro-bred, front-drive sports sedan. Developed at Germany’s famed Nurburgring, the new Regal is a near doppelganger to the Opel Insignia – Europe’s 2009 Car of the Year, and the most promising entry from GM’s tri-shield division since the Grand Nationals of the 1980’s. To that end, the Regal will compete with premium-level sports sedan like the Audi A4, Acura TSX, Volkswagen CC, and Volvo’s new S60.

Initially imported in premium CXL trim only, the Regal touts the same sleek and upscale design language, but adds a healthy dose of frontal aggression from the LaCrosse and Enclave - an oversized Buick waterfall grille, flanked by prominent, swept-back, non-HID headlamps.

The Regal’s sculpted coupe-like profile features a fast, flowing roofline, sharp body creases, and flared fenders, exuding a performance-oriented spirit. The tapered rear wears an abbreviated deck and bold tail lamps, both hallmarks of the contemporary sports sedan. Standard alloy wheels are 18-inch, with 19s optional.

Power will be a surprise to some, four cylinder direct-injected powertrains only from GM’s Ecotec family.  The standard 2.4-liter, shared with the Lacrosse and Chevy Equinox, delivers 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque.

Optional is a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An even higher-performance turbo GS arrives next year. The 2.4 is mated to a self-shift six-speed automatic, while the 2.0 turbo offers a proper six-speed manual as standard and automatic as option. Unfortunately, for our test runs only a 2.4 automatic was available.

And while it felt pretty peppy off the line, it was only adequate overall; taking a longish 9.4 seconds to get to 60, and 17 seconds to complete the quarter mile at 84 miles per hour. We’d definitely opt for the 2.0 turbo. But, it is taking corners where this Regal shines brightest. The Epsilon II chassis, with its strut-type front, and four-link rear suspension, both with a hollow stabilizer bar, delivered an impressive level of agility and nimbleness.

Turbo models add a fine Interactive Drive Control System. Its three modes - Standard, Tour, or Sport - alter suspension settings, steering sensitivity, throttle response, and shift pattern. Stopping hardware is all disc ABS brakes. Our car met hard stops with a 60 to 0 average of 129 feet, all straight and smooth.

This Regal meets all the European sports sedan cliches.  It handles like it’s on rails.  It feels bolted to the road.  But you’ve got to remember, this is a Buick and it’s made in Germany, and that puts this Regal in a whole new light. The Regal’s spacious and well-appointed cabin combines classic Buick styling with modern sports sedan cues.

Fit and finish are on par with anything in the premium segment, although the dash is mostly hard plastics. On the other hand, gauges and controls exude a decidedly upscale quality.

Seats are well-positioned, firm, and nicely-bolstered.  Leather upholstery and seat heat come standard. Enhancing occupant comfort is standard auto climate with humidity sensor. For piping in your favorite driving music, there’s a seven-speaker stereo or an upgraded nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

But oh-so European is the absence of an available rear view camera. As is the console mounted, multi-function central controller for Stereo, Nav, Bluetooth, and even OnStar. The rear seat is comfortable for two adults, but tight for three.  And the 60/40 split-folding feature adds length to the already very usable 14.3 cubic foot trunk.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Regal 2.4 are 19 city/30 highway. We achieved a fine 27.1 on regular in real-world driving. The Energy Impact Score is 14.9 barrels of oil consumed per year.  The Carbon Footprint is a relatively modest 8.1 annual tons of CO2 emitted.

Pricewise, the new Regal is very competitive.  The 2.4 CXL has a base sticker of $26,995.  The CXL Turbo starts at $29,495. More models and a lower entry price will follow when Regal production moves to the U.S. next year. 

Despite its stodgy name, the 2011 Buick Regal made a great impression on us. Yes, it needs the 2.0 turbo manual to be truly competitive to its European rivals. But even the standard car we tested was a revelation. We just hope the Regal is not a one-off effort, and that Buick performance is back for real.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.4-Liter
  • Horsepower: 182
  • Torque: 172 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 9.4 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 17.0 Seconds @ 84 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 129 Feet
  • EPA: 19 MPG City/ 30 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 27.1 MPG
  • Energy Impact 14.9 Barrels Oil/Yr:
  • CO2 Emissions: 8.1 Tons/Yr
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles