At a glance, buyers may miss that the stylish new 2018 Buick Regal Sportback is a hatchback, not a sedan. Under that exterior, drivers will find a competent and versatile car.

This Regal has a suspension that impressively soaks up road imperfections. Its handling is responsive and capable, although this generation has become less engaging to drive than its predecessor. The old version chewed up twisty roads; the new model is happier on straightaways.

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The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine provides immediate response, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is mostly smooth. We got 23 mpg overall on premium fuel, low for an all-wheel-drive car in this class.

The inside of the car is impressively quiet; wind, road, and engine noise are unobtrusive. The cabin is well-assembled but plain and austere, lacking the design details you’d expect from a nearly $40,000 car.

Up front, the controls, including the touch-screen infotainment system, are easy to use. The seats there provide excellent support, with plenty of adjustments to let the driver and passenger fine-tune their ideal seating position.

The rear seat provides generous legroom, but tall passengers will probably scrape their noggin on the headliner.

Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are optional. We’d prefer that they come as standard equipment.

Read the complete Buick Regal road test.

2018 Buick Regal rear hatch

HIGHS: Ride, acceleration, braking, controls, front-seat comfort, hatchback versatility
LOWS: Less agile than the previous Regal
POWERTRAIN: 250-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 23 mpg on premium fuel
PRICE AS TESTED: $39,715

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the May 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.