The 2014 Regal GS is a turning point of our opinion in Buick. The brand has been doing all they can, new styling, a focused marketing campaign, and different leasing programs to convince buyers that Buicks are just for pensioners anymore. We’ve noticed the change in Buick’s design, but we really weren’t completely convinced. That was, we hadn’t been convinced until we got behind the wheel. The 2014 Regal GS is a vehicle that the younger generation will love, if it gets enough exposure. But there’s also a lot to overcome. Even without the “old” perception of Buick, the Regal is an aged nameplate. Reborn in 2010 and refreshed for 2014, the new Regal GS makes quick work of dispatching any prejudices. A sport sedan fitted with Brembo brakes, with optional manual transmission or all-wheel drive? This is the Buick we could learn to love.
In person, especially in White Diamond Tricoat, the new Regal GS is elegant and sporty in appearance. In our opinion, it’s the best color option, as it best accentuates the details that make the GS unique. The front and rear fascia differentiate themselves from the rest of the Regal line. The front “fangs” are flanked by even more slots to aid airflow. Around back, there’s a trunk lid spoiler and a rear diffuser hiding between the exhaust finishers. There are more subtle details as well, like the front DRL and rear brake lights sharing the same shape, that make the GS unique. It may not be something you notice at first, but it’s not always about the obvious visual features. The 2014 redesign also included new HID headlamps, updating the look of the Regal further as aiding visibility at night. It has an aggressive posture for a sedan.
On the inside, you’ll find the interior just as appealing as the exterior. The console has been freed of buttons in exchange for touch sensitive controls. Although it does make for a sleeker design, in most cases it took multiple taps to activate the heated seats or change the cabin temperature. The creature comforts were all accounted for on the inside. From the heated steering wheel, heated front seats, to the soft touch surfaces, you know you’ll get to your destination in luxury. With the GS, you get sport bucket front seats with contrast stitching, a sport steering wheel, and metal pedals. They finish off the look of the sport sedan. Oddly enough, there wasn’t a convenient place to put your cell phone like there was in the Buick Verano we tested earlier this year. The good news is that regardless of which trim level you choose, it’s equipped with a sizable portion of standard features.
When it comes to technology, the Regal GS is far from lacking. Buick IntelliLink, you can use voice commands to access contacts, make calls on your smartphone, or play a specific song on your iPod. With the Bose premium 9-speaker system, you’ll be sure to enjoy what ever you might listen to. For those who like the reassurance of park assist, the Regal GS comes with both front and rear parking assist as well as a standard rear vision camera. Exclusive to the Regal GS is the Driver Information Display. It allows the driver to scroll through vehicle information and arrange the data you use most. The driver really gets the chance to tailor the vehicle to their own needs. It does a good job blending analog gauges with a digital screen. There’s even something called a “friction bubble” to display the g-force under acceleration, braking, or cornering.
Getting behind the wheel of the Regal GS is what sealed the deal on our new opinion of Buick. It’s a performance oriented experience that doesn’t let comfort suffer. With the sport bucket seats, you feel well-planted while driving, especially cornering. The selectable drive modes, Sport and GS mode make it even better. Each mode changes the suspension settings and steering sensitivity. GS mode makes for an exceptionally stiff ride and the steering weights up slightly too much, but the car handles beautifully. While in either performance mode, you’ll feel confident knowing you have Brembo front brakes to bring the car safely to a stop. We found ourselves most frequently in Sport during our cold (but thankfully dry) week. The turbocharged 2.0 liter 4-cylinder puts out 259 horsepower and 296 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the nature of turbocharged engines means that peak torque is available from 2500-4000rpm. The optional all-wheel-drive system provides year-round practicality but it also provides a huge amount of grip in the corners. The torquey engine and AWD system are a great combination. On AWD models, the Regal GS is only available with a 6-speed automatic transmission. FWD models have an optional 6-speed manual. You read that correctly. Buick sells a turbocharged sedan with a manual transmission.
Nothing has to be given up in order to drive the Regal GS. Buick has tuned a chassis that takes on three very different driving personas. In normal mode it is comfortable and quiet. The luxury and safety features aren’t something you’d expect in a car this size. In Sport, the GS is a fun addition to your morning commute or afternoon coffee run without being uncomfortable. It might be as good all-around as the Cadillac ATS 2.0T we drove. Finally, GS mode is 100% performance-focused, even it it still remains a little too quiet. This is a car capable of changing the minds of Buick skeptics; it’s a game changer. A younger, more high-tech Buick is here. 2014 holds great promise for Buick and the new Regal GS.
|2014 Buick Regal GS AWD
|Driver Confidence Package 1||$890|
|Driver Confidence Package 2||$1,695|
|White Diamond Tricoat||$995|
|As Tested MSRP||$44,775|
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