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Review: 2018 Buick Regal TourX sport wagon delivers room, style value

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

The Outback and E400 both have bigger cargo capacities, at 35.5 and 35 cubic feet, respectively. The E400 is at best a marginal competitor, though. While it's about the same size as the TourX, E400 prices start at $63,050, and it has a 329-hp twin-turbo V6. The Subaru is an outlier in the other direction, a mass-market vehicle competing with luxury brands.

The TourX's passenger compartment is comfortable and accommodating. At 99.9 cubic feet, it's considerably larger than the Audi, and a hair bigger than the BMW, Mercedes and Volvo.

Subaru wins the space race in both cases.

The TourX offers all the usual comfort, convenience features and driver aids. Check virtually every box on the order form and a loaded TourX costs thousands less than a comparably equipped A4 Allroad, 330i xDrive wagon, E400 and V90.

The downside

The TourX was surprisingly noisy on the road. It was supposed to use an innovative new Continental tire with an inner layer of foam to reduce road noise, but the tire – called ContiSilent – was in short supply when production began. Front-wheel drive Regal Sportbacks, which are expected to outsell the TourX, got ContiSilents from the beginning of production.

All Regals built, including the TourX and upcoming performance GS, should soon come with ContiSilents, which reduce interior noise by a full 2dB compared to the Continental ProContact tires fitted to the first few hundred cars shipped to the U.S.

I'd recommend waiting to buy a TourX 'til the right tires are available, or at least taking a long test drive in a Sportback with ContiSilents so you know the louder interior won't bother you.

The wireless phone charger in the center console is another case of unfortunate timing. It's a first-generation charger that doesn't work with the wireless charging Apple finally added to the iPhone 8 and X. If you're like me and usually plug your iPhone in to use Apple CarPlay, that won't bother you, but the second-gen charger should be available in Regals built sometime this year. Ask your dealer, and verify the answer during your test drive.

Specifications as tested

Engine: 2.0L turbocharged 16-valve 4-cyl.

Power: 250 @ 5,500 hp rpm; 295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-4,000 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 111.4 inches

Length: 196.3 inches

Width: 73.3 inches

Height: 58.4 inches

Curb Weight: 3,708 lbs.

Where assembled: Russelsheim, Germany

Facts and figures

The 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine's 250 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque compare well to the Allroad, 330i and Outback. The pricier V90 and E400 both have more power, but the TourX's acceleration and highway cruising are more than satisfying.

The Buick is the lightest vehicle in the group, which pays off in acceleration and handling. The TourX's steering is responsive and its suspension absorbs bumps and holds fast curves comfortably.

The TourX's EPA fuel economy rating is OK: 21 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway and 24 combined. The key combined figure is 2 mpg less than the 330i xDrive, 1 mpg less than the Allroad and V90, 3 mpg better than the E400. The Outback alone in the group recommends regular gasoline. According to EPA projections, that will make it the least expensive to run, despite a combined rating of 22 mpg.

Competitive EPA fuel economy ratings

(Automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive models)

Buick Regal Essence AWD: 21 mpg city/29 highway/24 combined. Premium gasoline

Audi A4 Allroad 2.0T Premium Plus: 22/30/25. Premium gasoline

BMW 330i xDrive Sport Wagon: 23/33/26. Premium gasoline

Mercedes E400 4Matic wagon: 19/25/21. Premium gasoline

Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring: 20/27/22. Regular gasoline

Volvo V90 T6 AWD R-Design: 22/31/25. Premium gasoline


The verdict

You just know somebody at GM headquarters was humming Kris Kristofferson's lyric, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose," when Buick responded to sport sedans' slide toward oblivion with the TourX wagon. It's a good car and a welcome departure from the SUVs flooding the market.

It deserves a look from anybody who wants a sporty and practical vehicle that looks great in the driveway and stands out from the crowd.

Key features on vehicle tested

Standard equipment: Front- and rear-seat side air bags; front knee air bags; curtain air bags; fog lights; LED daytime running lights; automatic headlights; rear vision camera; tire sealant and inflator kit; power front seats; heated steering wheel; heated front seats; memory for driver settings; power windows, locks and side mirrors; push-button start; 40/20/40 split folding rear seat; dual zone climate control; auto dimming rearview mirror; leather seats; leather wrapped steering wheel; manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel; noise control system; 18-inch aluminum wheels; power tailgate; LED taillights; remote start; USB port; two charging USB ports; XM satellite radio trial period; OnStar; Apple CarPlay; Android Auto; 8.0-inch touch screen; voice recognition; Bluetooth phone and audio compatible; 4G LTE Wi-Fi.

Options: Navigation, Bose audio; HD radio; wireless charging; LED headlights; cornering lights; rear park assist; cross traffic and blind spot alert; memory for driver settings; white frost metallic tricoat paint.

(c)2018 Detroit Free Press

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