2014 Buick Regal Turbo FWD First Test
More Power for the Mid-Level Model
In addition to refreshed styling, the 2014 Buick Regal Turbo gets a noticeable bump in power over the 2013 model, and now makes the same horsepower and torque as the sporty Regal GS. We’ve previously tested the all-wheel-drive 2014 Regal Turbo ($41,445) and the sportier all-wheel-drive 2014 Regal GS ($44,975), and now we have test numbers on the front-drive 2014 Regal Turbo to see how it compares.
All 2014 Regal models benefit from a new front end with a redesigned fascia and grille flanked by new headlights with available “wing-shaped” LED daytime running lights. Around back, the Regal sports standard LED taillights and a new fascia. The interior receives a welcome update featuring a revised, modern center stack with a more logical control layout and fewer buttons, though the touch screen remains a bit of a reach for most drivers.
Still mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 is now rated at 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, increases of 39 hp and 37 lb-ft, respectively. With the revised engine, the 2014 Regal Turbo now makes the same power as the sportier Regal GS model (down 11 hp from last year). A no-cost six-speed manual is available, but it wasn’t optioned on our tester. So how does the 2014 Regal Turbo perform compared to the outgoing model and the new GS?
In testing, our $34,685 Regal Turbo accelerated to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and cleared the quarter mile in 14.8 seconds at 95.7 mph. That’s an improvement of 1.5 seconds to 60 mph and 0.9 second and 2.9 mph in the quarter mile compared to the last 220-hp 2011 Regal CXL turbo model we tested. It’s also faster than the 270-hp 2012 Regal GS (0-60 mph, 6.3 seconds; quarter mile, 14.9 seconds at 96.1 mph) as well as the 2014 Regal Turbo AWD (6.4 seconds; 14.7 seconds at 93.2 mph), and 2014 Regal GS AWD (6.2 seconds; 14.6 seconds at 93.5 mph) to 60 mph, but gives up a few tenths in the quarter mile.
The front-drive Regal Turbo took just 112 feet to stop from 60 mph, or about the same distance as the 2012 Regal CXL (113 feet) and all-wheel-drive 2014 Regal Turbo (111 feet), but not as short as the front-drive 2012 Regal GS and 2014 Regal GS AWD (105 feet each).
Around the skidpad, the Regal Turbo pulled 0.84 g average and lapped the figure eight in 26.6 seconds with a 0.67 g average. While those times are a noticeable improvement over its predecessor, a 2011 Regal CXL (skidpad, 0.83 g average; figure-eight, 26.8 seconds at 0.64 g average), the front-drive Regal Turbo also edged out the Regal Turbo AWD (0.83 g; 26.7 seconds at 0.67 g). The Regal Turbo finished behind the previous front-drive 2012 Regal GS (0.92 g; 25.9 seconds at 0.69 g) and the current all-wheel-drive Regal GS (0.90 g; 26.0 seconds at 0.72 g). Those models were shod with 20-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, while the Regal Turbo wears 18-inch alloys wrapped in all-season tires.
Less impressive was its fuel economy. In observed driving and in our Real MPG testing, the Regal Turbo returned lower fuel economy than its EPA-rated figures (21/30 mpg city/highway). Our tester returned 16.5/28.3 mpg city/highway -- 4.5/1.7 mpg less than the EPA figures. Associate online editor Nate Martinez observed, “It returns lackluster mpgs if you're not careful with the throttle.”
On the street, the front-drive Regal Turbo surprised a few staffers with its impressive handling and ride quality balance: “Dynamically, a pleasant surprise compared with the pre-refresh Regal GS (I haven't tried out the 2014 model yet),” said associate online editor Benson Kong. “The GS had more grip all around because of its [Pirelli] P Zeros, but the tires also contributed to greater harshness. Most disturbing was its mid-corner behavior. Front-end feel progressively went away the quicker you tried to go, steering feel was isolated, and there was more front-axle bump sensitivity than was being relayed through the steering wheel. It needed more aggressive muscling at the steering wheel than I'd normally use to stay on top of it.
“The 2014 Regal, with all-seasons, won't have the cornering limits of the GS, but at least there was a finer sense of control,” Kong continued. “It understeers more readily, but you can lay the car into a turn with adequate front and rear sensations informing the driver. Just have to get used to the long, gradual up/down and side/side body motions and account for them ahead of time. Not an embarrassing car to drive on mountain roads.”
“I was expecting a supremely cushy, inarticulate ride and lackluster steering response, but instead I noticed a firm, taut ride and nicely weighted tug at my hands,” said Nate Martinez. “What is this? A Buick that can turn without falling over itself? Well, not exactly -- its body leans when driven spiritedly, but the entire event is entertaining. I saw plenty of flashing nanny lights on the dash, though… It's not quick but its throttle is easy to adjust to; power comes on smoothly, and, most significant, it's quiet inside. A seriously great ride on the highway.”
While handling was better than expected, the Regal Turbo’s seats came up short when the road began to twist. Although comfortable on long drives (with eight-way power front seats and four-way power lumbar on the driver’s seat), the Regal Turbo’s seats are typical GM: flat and wide like grandpa’s recliner, but without much side bolstering. Despite a 190.2-inch overall length, the 107.8-inch wheelbase makes rear seat ingress and egress awkward at best, a common trait among GM front-drive sedans. Once you’re settled in, rear seat knee and legroom is tight -- even with the driver’s seat adjusted for a 5’10” driver -- though not as tight as the smaller Verano. Part of the blame goes to the thick front seats.
Despite its flaws the Regal Turbo offers lots of value. In addition to its turbocharged, 259-hp 2.0-liter engine and impressive handling, our Regal Turbo Premium II came nicely equipped with features including HID headlights, rearview camera and rear park assist, power seats, dual climate control, genuine leather seats, heated front seats and steering wheel, push-button start, remote start, OnStar and Buick IntelliLink, nine-speaker Bose audio system with navigation and Bluetooth, and a 120-volt power outlet.
Although it remains a wallflower compared to German entry-level luxury sedans, the 2014 Buick Regal Turbo is more powerful, better equipped, and larger all around than the similarly priced Audi A3, BMW 320i, Mercedes-Benz CLA250, and Volkswagen CC. Those same features when optioned on the German sedans push the price above the Regal Turbo’s $34,685 tag. The 2014 Regal Turbo is a good choice for those looking for a reasonable amount of equipment, straight-line performance, ride comfort, and space, and don’t mind compromising a bit of handling and fuel economy.
|2014 Buick Regal Turbo FWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$34,685|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L/259-hp*/295-lb-ft* turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3674 lb (60/40%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||190.2 x 73.1 x 58.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.1 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.8 sec @ 95.7 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||112 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.84 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.6 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||21/30 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||160/112/139 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.80 lb/mile|