CARS.COM — What’s America coming to? Reports this week indicate that Buick will drop the sedan version of its best-selling car, the Regal mid-size, for (gulp) hatchback and all-wheel-drive wagon versions of the model.
How European! Next thing we’ll all be wearing funny shoes, paying in Euros and voting socialist.
Buick already has stopped making the Verano compact sedan. Dropping the Regal sedan would leave the brand of the Roadmaster with just one traditional car, the recently redone LaCrosse full-sizer.
According to Automotive News, the redesigned 2018 Buick Regal, a Buick-badged version of the Opel Insignia from GM’s soon-to-be sold European unit, will lose the sedan body style in favor of Buick versions of two Insignia variants: the Grand Sport five-door hatchback and the Sports Tourer wagon (which is offered in Europe, at least, with torque-vectoring AWD). Both were displayed at the recent Geneva International Motor Show.
The wagon news was given added support from a report by Motor1 that Buick has obtained 2018 emissions certification from the California Air Resource Board for an AWD wagon called Tour X, with a 2.0-liter engine and eight- and nine-speed transmissions.
Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle told Cars.com that Buick would have no comment ahead of the planned reveal of the redesigned Regal on April 4, when Buick hosts an event in Michigan a week ahead of the 2017 New York International Auto Show.
The virtues of hatches and wagons are easy to list. They offer SUV-like practicality in a sportier package than a sedan, but they retain more carlike driving manners and efficiency than a traditional SUV. But neither style has been popular in recent years with U.S. buyers and automakers dropped them as they rushed to churn out more SUVs.
That’s already changing. Compacts such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra GT and Chevrolet Cruze have added hatchbacks, for example, and hatches and wagons never went away entirely for upscale European brands. (As a fan, I could never understand why you’d buy an Audi A6 when the sleek and practical A7 is sitting there next to it.)