Surprising a room full of auto writers isn’t easy, but Buick did it: Under GM’s magnificent design dome in Warren, Michigan, they revealed two new 2018 Regals — and neither one of them is a sedan. The upcoming Regal will be available as a five-door hatchback called the Regal Sportback as well as a high-riding wagon called the Regal TourX.
The Regal hatch isn’t a mini-wagon like the Honda Civic; instead it has a long, sedan-like profile similar to the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. This body style is popular in Europe, and it’s a hot seller for the Regal’s European cousin, the Opel Insignia, so building them with Buick badges wasn’t much of a stretch. Buick decided that offering the Regal as a hatch instead of a sedan would be a great way to distinguish the car from its competitors.
The Insignia is also offered as a wagon, and the American version will be called the Regal TourX. This is a station wagon in everything but name: Buick is steadfastly avoiding the “W” word, liberally sprinkling the TourX’s press releases with words like “utility” and “crossover”. The TourX does indeed have more ground clearance than the SportBack, and its blacked-out fender flares and rocker panels are straight out of the Subaru Outback/Volvo Cross Country playbook, but it’s long, low stance (the TourX is 3.4” longer than the Sportback), steeply-raked backlight, and metal roof rails scream “wagon” to us (and if Buick doesn’t like the word, well, we do). All-seats-in-place cargo capacity is only slightly larger than the hatchback (32.7 cubic feet vs 31.5), though the wag—er, sorry, TourX — carries significantly more luggage with the seats folded (73.5 cubic feet vs. 60.7).
Both versions of the Regal will get Buick’s familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, tuned for 250 hp and driving a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Torque output is 260 lb-ft with front-wheel drive and 295 lb-ft with all-wheel drive, which is optional on the Sportback and standard on the TourX. Buick promises an electrifying driving experience, and given our experience with the now-defunct Regal GS, we fully expect to see plenty of evidence of the new Regal’s Germanic heritage.
Speaking of which, while the current Regal is built in Canada, the new Regals will be built in Germany — a surprise considering that GM just sold off the Opel division to French automaker Groupe PSA (a.k.a. Peugeot/Citroen). GM says that the terms of the sale include an agreement to proceed with Regal production in Russelsheim.
The Regal Sportback and TourX will make their pubic debuts at the 2017 New York International auto show, and will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2017.
2018 Buick Regal Sportback Specifications
|ON SALE||Fall 2017|
|PRICE||$28,000 (base, est)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/250 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 260 lb-ft @ 2,000-5,200 rpm (FWD); 250 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 3,000-4,000 (AWD)|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic (AWD), 9-speed automatic (FWD)|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD hatchback|
|EPA MILEAGE||18-19/26-27 mpg (city/hwy, est)|
|L x W x H||192.9 x 73.3 x 57.3 in|
2018 Buick Regal TourX Specifications
|ON SALE||Fall 2017|
|PRICE||$30,000 (base, est)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/250 hp @ 5,550 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 3,000-4,000 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD wagon|
|EPA MILEAGE||18/26 mpg (city/hwy, est)|
|L x W x H||196.3 x 73.3 x 58.4 in|