Great concept, but lackluster execution
May 17, 2018
I waited six months for the Regal Sportback to come to life, putting my car search on hold, as I thought it would be the perfect combination of style, comfort, performance and practicality. The sportback concept is great, and the exterior styling is sleek and European, as promised. The engine is probably the most powerful one I test drove, with loads of power for highway driving and maneuvering. Steering felt nice and tight, and the ride was smooth. For a $40,000 msrp vehicle (Essence trim with tech and safety packages), however, there were a lot of disappoinments. The driver's seat felt very comfortable, but the rest of the interior was lackluster. As reviewers pointed out, there is a cheap, audible click when engaging the signal stalk. The dash is plain and, well, looks old school. More like my stripped down 1970 Chevy Monte Carlo than a 2018 vehicle. The rear view camera was fuzzy, the fuel door doesn't lock, and the only way to open the rear hatch is by pressing the Buick emblem on the back of the vehicle. No remote latch in the car and nothing on the key fob! Not only inconvenient, but carjacking hazard if you exit the car to open the hatch without turning off the ignition. (Airport pick up or drop off, picking up elderly passengers with packages who couldn't push emblem hard enough to open hatch, for example. )
Although the engine was quite powerful, the car was not fun to drive. It's a smooth, but floaty, dull ride. Again, felt a bit retro, like driving my Dad's old Ford LTDs in the 70s.
Vehicle also uses premium gas, which adds to the running cost, and the mileage ratings aren't stellar. I found the stop/start engine a bit annoying at times, and I don't believe it can be disengaged. While I like the styling from the outside, I found the low profile almost too low, as I hit my head on the top of the door frame exiting the driver's seat.
Overall, I was disappointed that the Regal Sportback didn't fulfill my need for a sedan with SUV practicality. It's a great concept, but seems Buick got a bit cheap in the execution. They lost the fun driving aspect reported on previous Regals, to boot. While I surely could have bought the car under the MSRP, I would rather pay more for the vehicle to have accoutrements truly consistent with a $40,000 sticker price.