A brand new station wagon from Buick…what year is it?! The answer is 2018 and Buick is offering a long-roof variant for the first time in more than two decades. The 2018 Regal TourX is one of three Regal models vying to prevent the obsolescence of the sedan. The sporty Regal GS is the only true sedan in the lineup. The TourX and Sportback change up the formula with a hatchback and liftback, respectively. Will it be enough to pique the interest of buyers? We booked the TourX for the week leading up to the NYIAS.
That’s a Buick? Not only is it the OnStar 4G LTE wifi password on our tester, it was a question we got asked more than a few times. The TourX was delivered to us with the factory optional Thule crossrails and ski rack installed to enhance to it’s active appeal. But the bulky racks added wind noise and distracted from the looks of this big Buick. We took them off and stowed them in the cargo area after one day. The Regal TourX is a truly beautiful design. It turned countless heads, drew questions, and was even mistaken for an Alfa Romeo. It just doesn’t have a bad angle. The sharp character lines and roofline accent trim are an exercise in simple, elegant design. Even the signature ride height increase and unpainted lower fascia and fender moldings all fit well with the overall design.
Inside, Buick focuses on utility over luxury. It’s simple and straightforward with a touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto over the climate controls. The touchpoints, like the leather seats and steering wheel, are solid. But the rest of the cabin is dark. The predominate black plastic swallows any attempts at accents that the gloss black trim and dark wood provide. As “active” and youthful the exterior feels, the interior just doesn’t live up. Regardless of the design, the spacious cabin is comfortable for four adults and visibility is tremendous. The only thing bigger than the view is the cargo capacity. With the seats up, there’s a commodious 32.7 cubic feet of storage. Folding the second row down yields a cavernous 32.7 cubic feet. The entire Limited Slip Blog crew and our NYIAS luggage fit with room to spare.
The TourX is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Power routes through an eight-speed automatic transmission that seems programmed for maximum fuel economy. It takes most of the fun out of the 250hp and 295 lb-ft torque produced by the engine unless the driver prods deep into the gas pedal. Buick’s all-wheel-drive system is a twin-clutch design. One clutch is used to send power to the front wheels while the second splits power to the rear wheels. This setup lets the car disengage the front wheels for more efficient highway driving, leverage the rear differential’s torque vectoring for improved handling, or split power 50:50 in slippery conditions.
From behind the wheel, the TourX doesn’t feel all-wheel-drive the same way a Subaru Outback might. It feels more car-like, which could be a good thing. But the “That’s a Buick?” tagline is a double-edged sword. While it doesn’t look the part, the suspension tuning is suitably Buick. The soft ride brings comfort to the occupants, but allows for a lot of body roll. The TourX is also very quiet. With the roof racks removed, as long as you don’t prod the engine into the high RPMs, there’s very little noise. A combination of sleek profile, sound proofing, and active noise cancellation keep the decibels at bay. It made an ideal car for our drive to New York City.
Buick has done all they can to disguise this wagon as a trendy crossover. It’s the Audi Allroad approach; body cladding and extra ground clearance. Buick’s marketing team even put an “X” in the name to associate with the active lifestyle crowd. But they have wrapped it in a very good looking package. If you’re not sold on the crossover, Buick manages to deliver a very attractive alternative. We’d be thrilled if this ignited a wagon renaissance, but we’ll settle for one more choice in the market.
|2018 Buick Regal TourX
|Driver Confidence Package I||$1,725|
|Driver Confidence Package II||$1,190|
|Signs and Sounds Package||$1,095|
|As Tested MSRP||$40,005|