One of the better family- oriented offering's from Buick Motor Division these days is the 1995 Buick Regal. As a premier mid-sized sedan or coupe, the Regal's availability runs from Custom to Gran Sport models, with an eye to providing something for everybody.

For those with a taste for a bit of upstream motoring without bankrupting the family treasury, there is the Regal Limited sedan. This automobile can almost go head-to-head with most of the accouterments found in General Motors' more expensive cars.

For '95, Buick put its designers to work to develop a new interior for all models. The exterior lines have been freshened a bit. And there are numerous comfort, convenience and safety updates.

It has resulted in a better-class mid-sized motor car that is a blend of performance and utilitarian service in a medium price range. The Regal is not as luxurious as the Cadillac or as fast as the Corvette, but it fits in between those two models quite well as an all-purpose sedan.

In driving the '95 Regal Limited that GM's Terri Phillips provided for a test car, I was struck not by what a difference a day makes but by what a difference an all-new interior makes.

Buick apparently put itself in the driver's seat on this one, as the division has made a quantum leap forward in improving its previously archaic instrumentation and controls layout.

Now easy-to-read analog gauges are directly in front of the driver, instead of being crammed into a narrow confine. And the power window switches are mounted on the forward section of the door's armrest rather than being positioned at a rather awkward angle on the door itself.

Most all controls lie virtually within fingertip distance of the steering wheel, and were easily accessible while driving. If we had a gripe about anything, it would be that the ignition switch sort of disappears at night after the delayed interior lighting goes out. Of course, you can always turn on the interior lights to find the thing.

As a fail-safe piece of family transportation, there wasn't much more to do than to put it in gear and steer. The transmission of choice -- the only one offered -- was a smooth- shifting, electronically controlled four-speed automatic.

It now uses a new Dexron III transmission fluid that Buick says doesn't require a fluid change for 100,000 miles under normal operating conditions. The fluid also offers a more stable shift feel under extreme conditions.

Buick doesn't offer a five-speed manual gearbox, which make me wonder why bother with a tachometer in the instrument panel. But then it sure does look impressive.

One feature about the Regal Limited that is well worth considering is that the standard engine is Buick's 3800 V-6 instead of its smaller 3.1-liter V-6. This 231-cubic inch motor puts out 170-horsepower, and more importantly for acceleration purposes 225 foot-pounds of torque.

The V-6 is pretty much state-of-the-art, two valves per cylinder rocker arm technology that has been ref ined to where it will run forever, given proper maintenance. And the torque made itself felt when you gave it full throttle for a quick pass.

Unless you looked under the hood, you would never know there wasn't a V-8 lurking there. Down the interstate, the sedan just sailed along without effort.

Buick sedans are not noted for being designed as road-racing vehicles, but this doesn't mean they have to fall all over themselves going through fast turns.

The test car certainly didn't, courtesy of a Gran Touring suspension system that seemed to hit a very happy compromise between ride and control. The Touring system firmed up the ride just enough to give a little extra feel for the road, but without making the ride stiff. It gave a certain enhancement of control to the car's front-wheel drive.

This is, however, a $745 option. That puts it in the category of which need comes first, highspeed control or cost of the product.

The Limited is rated as a five-passenger auto mobile based on a 2/3 front/rear carrying capacity. Interior room in front is excellent and quite ample in the back seat.

The way the rear seat cushions are contoured, I'd say two people are going to be more comfortable riding any distance than three. But in the Limited, there was a minimum of 36.2 inches of rear leg room, and that is quite sufficient for passengers to sit comfortably.

In the driver's compartment, there were a lot of standard touches, that while not entirely new, certainly added to the convenience of driving.

An example of this is the radio controls on the steering wheel.

Then I think the ladies will like the fact that all the doors automatically lock when the car is put into gear. And unlike some systems where they unlock when the shift lever is moved to park, with this car they stayed locked until the ignition switch was turned off.

While the Limited is a couple of thousand dollars upstream in price from the Buick Custom sedan, considering that there are a number of equipment items that are standard in the Limited it makes it a model well worth considering in the mid-sized range.

1995 Buick Regal Limited Base price: $21,235As tested: $24,415Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger, mid-sized sedanEngine: 3.8-liters, OHV V-6, 12 valves, fuel-injected, 170-horsepower, 225 foot-pounds of torqueTransmission: Four-speed automaticMileage: 19 mpg city/29 mpg highwayAcceleration: 0-60 mph in 8.0 secondsWheelbase: 107.5 inchesLength: 193.7 inchesWidth: 72.5 inchesHeight: 54.5 inchesCurb weight: 3,463 poundsOptions: Prestige option package, premium stereo/w compact disc, Gran Touring suspension, leather/vinyl bucket seats