1991 Buick Regal

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    Expert Reviews 3 of 4
1991 Buick Regal 4.0 3
$ -
October 18, 1990

After browsing through the 1991 press materials, I'm convinced this will be a significant and pivotal year for General Motors.

For the first time in what seems like decades, the world's largest automaker has an impressive mix of nicely styled, fuel-efficient, dependable and reasonably priced cars in its lineup.

Two GM divisions, Buick and Cadillac, have surged ahead of the pack and have taken the lead in building world-class products. Even Chevy is coming on strong.

One of the best cars in GM's 1991 lineup may prove to be a major thorn in the side of competitors: Buick's Regal Limited Sedan.

Compared to most imports, the Regal offers more room and power. It can be ordered to suit most any taste and is affordable.


Back in themid-'60s, Buick became the first domestic automaker to develop a V-6. With the exception of a few years in the mid-'70s when the company stopped making the engine, the V-6 has been improved each year.

Now, nearly every automaker offers a V-6, but few, if any, can match the power, performance and smoothness of the 3800 TPI (tuned port injection) V-6 Buick introduced last year as a mid-1990 option.

Buick's new 170-horsepower engine runs as well or better than most V-8s used to, and it gets better fuel economy than a small eight-cylinder. The main reason: A sophisticated computer system monitors all engine, transmission and cruise-control functions.

From the moment you turn the ignition key, you know this is a refined engine and transmission. Power is delivered smoothly in all four forward gears. Shifts are nearly imperceptible. I especially liked the smoothness of the cruise control. During a trip to Melbourne and back, the Regal was quiet, comfortable and pleasant to drive. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Regal at 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway. I averaged about 26.5 mpg on the highway and 17 in the city.


The test Regal sported optional anti-lock brakes that worked fine but had a strange quirk: Kick the pedal violently - as you would to avoid an accident - and nothing happens. Press it with a little less vigor and the car stops quickly and without incident.

Even though the Regal Limited Sedan is conservatively styled, there are a few hints of sportiness: the alloy wheels, the center console, the instrument cluster and the gently sloping front.

The metallic midnight blue test car featured Buick's Gran Touring package, which included big 16-inch wheels. Though the Regal is not a sports sedan in the same manner of a BMW, it is very capable and can take a corner with the best midsize American cars. The power-assisted steering is tight and precise and gives the driver a good feel for the road.


For the past two years, J.D. Power and Associates, an automotive research firm in Californi a, has cited Buick for building the highest quality domestic car. The attention paid to the layout and construction of the Regal's interior must be at least one reason why.

The interior is reminiscent of those found on more expensive imports. The leather seats are firm, supportive and comfortable. The rear seats are excellent. There's plenty of foot-and headroom.

Such amenities as the tilt steering wheel and controls for power accessories are placed in areas that do not require the driver to divert attention from the road, and they are easy to find in the dark.

Radio controls, for instance, are located not just in their usual place on the dash, but also in the steering wheel so they are just a flick of the thumb away. The big glass area gives the driver an excellent view of the road from nearly every angle.

The test car featured a compact disc player, an air conditioner that allows both driver and passenger to choose the temperature they prefer, and six-way p wer seats.

In the past decade GM lost customers by building dumpy-looking, unreliable cars. This decade, GM can win those customers back by building cars like the Regal Limited Sedan.

    Expert Reviews 3 of 4

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