Driving the AWD, 2014 Buick Regal T-Type

2014 Buick Regal GS AWD

You won’t find the old T-Type badge anywhere on the 2014 Buick Regal. That’s a shame, too, because this new, 259 HP, Ecotec-powered Regal would be more than up to the task of carrying that hefty badge.

Regardless of what they should have called this latest Regal, GM was kind enough to let me drive the new Regal (in GS AWD trim, no less), and I’m here to tell you what it I think of Buick’s new-age T. Read on …

 

2014 Buick Regal | First Impressions


It’s been a long and icy winter here in Oak Park- which is stressful enough. The Buick was delivered on a particularly stressful day, however, since I’d just spent several tense hours in the ER with the (very nearly 8 months pregnant) wifey. My head wasn’t quite in the game when the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD arrived, then, so I didn’t notice the deep, Copper Red metallic paint or the 20″ V spoke wheels. Both of which, it should be noted, are quite nice- but what I did notice, immediately, was that the Buick’s seat was excellent.

Like, really excellent. Within a few seconds, the Buick’s lumbar support worked miracles on my tense back muscles. I’ve been in seats that had a similar effect in the past, but they had “Recaro” and “Bride” stitched into their backrests.

A few days later, driving it a fair distance for the first time, the Buick’s interior impressed again. The seats were still excellent- even in back!- but so too was the soft leather on the doors and the sporty, flat-bottom steering wheel.

GM’s now-familiar OnStar worked exactly as expected, and the sound quality from the Bose Premium 9-speaker surround-sound system was pretty impressive, as well. The Regal’s system is easily better than the ones I found in the Lexus CT200h and Toyota Avalon hybrids I drove a few months back, and nearly-as-makes-no-difference as good as the Rockford Fosgate setup in the Outlander Sport Chris and I drove to Detroit.

So, that was good.

 

2014 Buick Regal | Driving Impressions


If you ever drove an old T-Type Buick (“Especially when they were pretty new,” he said, dating himself terribly.) you probably thought they were pretty quick. The 2014 Buick Regal, however, is quicker still.

In sport mode, the 2.0 liter Ecotec engine rockets the Regal to 60 in about 6 seconds. If you stay in it, it’ll reportedly cross the 1/4 mile mark just 8 seconds later. That’s nearly 2 seconds quicker to 60 than the old T-Type, and means that the 2014 Buick Regal GS is just half a second off the pace of the legendary 1987 Buick Regal GNX.

“Good God!” I said to myself, reading the stats. “If GM put the 305 HP corporate V6 in this car, they could put a GNX badge on it and no one would bat an eyelash,” I thought. “If they put the twin-turbo 3.6 from the Cadillac XTS in it, it would be bigger than Jesus.”

On the road, the Regal was composed enough. It wasn’t quite as sharp as the Mazda 6 SkyActiv GT I drove a while back, but it wasn’t too far off- and probably a fair sight better than you’d have thought it’d be if your last Buick Experience was from the “Old GM” days.

A lot of that composure is down to the Buick’s Haldex all-wheel drive and limited-slip differentials, which help to keep the turbo 4’s 259 horses productive. A new H-arm rear suspension, standard on AWD models, also does a share of the work. That suspension, though, does bring me to my one complaint about the 2014 Regal …

2014 Buick Regal GS Trunk

… the trunk has a weird cutout to make way for the suspension. It’s a strange visual effect that tricks the eye into thinking the trunk is much smaller than it is, and is such a weirdly out-dated flaw in 2014 (I thought about what cars I’d driven that didn’t have flat trunks, and only Ford’s electric Focus came to mind) that I thought it bore mentioning.

At 14.2 cubic space of feet, the Regal actually has slightly more trunk space than the average midsize luxury sedan, but the narrow opening could make fitting bulkier items difficult. Those cutouts won’t help much either.

 

2014 Buick Regal | Final Thoughts


Buick-Regal-GS_25

At a touch over $42,000 as-tested, the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD I drove seemed a touch over-priced- especially so, because “GS” is meaningless. With Buick’s rich history, there is no excuse to glue as generic an alphanumeric as that onto this car. That said, Buick is still a Premium brand in many people’s eyes- especially those who remember the logic behind the Old GM’s “from the cradle to the grave” brand marketing. Those that do might still be convinced that, while Buick may not be an “aspirational brand” on its own, it was a brand that implied its buyers aspired to something.

So, yeah- I liked the 2014 Buick Regal GS. With the right mix of GM rebates and discounts, it would cost about the same as the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and it’s a much sportier experience. And, while the Avalon may have the Regal beat at 39 MPG, the Regal does give back about 30 highway miles per gallon- which is about 50% more MPG than the slower, less agile, more polluting T-Types of yore.

What do you guys think? Is the 2014 Buick Regal worthy of the T-Type badge? Should they just crank up the boost to around 295 HP and call it a new GNX? Or does any of that even matter when you’re wearing a badge that almost no one under 40 holds in any kind of high regard? Let us know what you think in the comments section, below. Enjoy!

 

Original content from Gas 2.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.