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Buick Regal: A last look

Consumer Reports News: December 05, 2011 01:53 PM

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The Regal is a competent, solid, and enjoyable to drive type of Buick. Some of us will be sorry to see it go, now that testing is complete and it’s off to be sold.

At first blush, the Regal could be dismissed as General Motors’ latest halfhearted attempt to get Americans comfortable with shelling out more cash for an upscale ride that doesn’t occupy as much real estate than traditional Buicks. But the Regal is much better than that.

For openers, it is essentially an Opel Insignia, a product of GM’s German subsidiary Opel. And that’s not a bad thing. Opel has been cranking out vehicles with many of the qualities that have sent Americans trooping out to Audi and BMW dealerships in search of cars that deliver a taut ride, agile handling and quality interiors. Both of those German carmakers have enjoyed healthy sales increases over the past few years.

For readers old enough to remember some of GM’s crappier efforts to get yanks comfortable with spending more cash for smaller rides, the Regal is a far cry from your grandma’s Cadillac Cimarron, a warmed over Chevy Cavalier circa 1980.

GM brought over a bunch of Opels starting in the 1950s, and continued to do so right on through the mid ‘70s, and they were true German engineered cars.

A bunch of my friends and I owned Opel Mantas and various 1900 sedans and wagons back in the day, largely because they gave us a reasonable facsimile of the performance and handling of BMWs and Audis of the time for a fraction of the price.

I’m happy to see the return of Opel even if it wears a Buick grille and badges. And, thank you GM for not drilling the traditional Buick portholes into the sleek body work.

Jim Travers

   

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