1998 Buick Regal

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1998 Buick Regal

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Available in 2 styles:  Regal 4dr Sedan LS shown
Asking Price Range
$702–$5,918
Estimated MPG

18–19 city / 26.9–30.1 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 6

By 

KansasCity.com
The GS is a Regal with an attitude, thanks to 240 supercharged horsepower and a suspension tuned for athletic handling.

This five-passenger sedan, which starts at $23,890, is a sports sedan for the mature adult who wants above-average performance at a reasonable price. The list of standard equipment includes items such as traction control, anti-lock brakes and leather seats. The test car was black with dark-gray lower-body cladding, set off by chrome 16-inch wheels. The look is subtle, the effect understated.

The Regal shares its basic platform with other GM products such as the Oldsmobile Intrigue and Pontiac Grand Prix, although it has its own personality. The wheelbase has been stretched to 109 inches, which creates more room inside.

Buick says the new body has a built-in safety cage for occupant protection. The ride is not as firm as the Grand Prix or as supple as the Intrigue. The benefits of a tight, strong body structure show up in a compliant ride and a lack of squeaks because engineers can tune the suspension to soak up bumps without having to compensate for the body flexing. Consequently, the Regal GS has responsive handling without a rough ride.

The supercharged, 3.8-liter V6 has the throttle response of a small V8. The only penalty for the extra power is extra sound and a few tingles that can be felt through the steering wheel full throttle. By mounting the engine on a separate cradle isolated from the body with rubber mounts, engineers were able to keep noise and vibration from making its way into the cabin. The Buick's level of noise and vibration, however, seems to be less than in its sister car, the Pontiac Grand Prix.

Getting this kind of power to the ground through the front wheels can be tricky, and occasionally they wiggle and fight for traction when you floor it. Traction control is a blessing, especially in bad weather.

Safety equipment includes dual airbags and side-impact protection.

Once inside, the light-gray leather seats have vertical seams for comfort, and side bolsters large enough to give lateral support but not big enough to make it hard to get in. Buick's seats are a source of pride to the company, and these continue that tradition. Longer seat tracks increase the amount of fore and aft travel.

Instruments are legible dial gauges. The trip computer consists of a digital readout in the lower section of the tachometer. The radio is located up high in the center of the dash where it is easy to reach. This is a new unit, but some of its switches are still quite tiny. Soft-touch, remote radio controls are nicely integrated into the wheel where they can be used without the driver ever having to take her hands from the wheel.

The optional dual-zone heating/cooling system has push buttons instead of rotary-type dials.

The additional length of the wheelbase, along with sculpted backs of the front seats, improves rear-seat knee room. A lockable pass-thro ugh to the trunk is good for skis or other long things. An integrated child seat is available. Some back-seat passengers might find that the seat tips back too far, making it uncomfortable on long trips.

While the GS is not for everyone, its strong acceleration, comfortable leather seats and long list of standard equipment makes it quite competitive with the other cars in its segment.

Price

The base price of our test car was $23,890. Options included 6-way power passenger seat, dual-zone air conditioning, steering wheel radio controls, compact disc player and chrome wheels.

The sticker price was $25,805.

Warranty

The basic warranty is for three years or 36,000 miles.

Vehicles for The Star's week-long test drives are supplied by the auto manufacturers.

Point: The Regal GS is a mature sports sedan that has a lot of standard equipment, a reasonable price and lots of power under your foot. In addition, it feels tight a is bigger inside.

Counterpoint: The interior design has been improved over the old model, but there is room for further refinement in terms of how easy secondary controls are to use.

SPECIFICATIONS:

ENGINE: 3.8-liter, V6

TRANSMISSION: automatic

WHEELBASE: 109 inches

CURB WEIGHT: 3,520 lbs.

BASE PRICE: $23,890

PRICE AS DRIVEN: $25,805

MPG RATING: 17 city, 27 hwy.




    Expert Reviews 1 of 6

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