Buick Introduces the 2011 Regal

13 Dec 2009 | 1,908 views | No Comment
2011-buick-regal 2011-buick-regal-int Regal. H’mm. I remember that model name. It once belonged to Buick’s best intermediate, and during its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. Regals, with those half vinyl roofs, velour interiors and gleaming chrome road wheels, were really cool cars that upwardly mobile folk drove before that other car maker with a name beginning with the letter “B” became a factor. And in the African American community of St. Louis where I grew up—baby---you better not be driving anything else but a Regal or a Cutlass Supreme from Oldsmobile. Olds in those days was all about youth, upward mobility and performance. My, how things change. But Buick’s decided to bring back the Regal, and it’s now a svelte intermediate sedan, aimed straight at the affluent crowd. My, how some things remain the same! The new Regal is based on an Opel  Insignia sedan platform, and those of us who follow cars know that Opel makes some pretty strong road-going machines. I think Buick’s smart to use it for Regal. In terms of marketing, Regal will be placed just under the LaCrosse in the  Buick pecking order.  Lucerne, Buick’s full-sized luxury sedan, is likely to go away unless the Buick team reverses course and decides to introduce a replacement at the same time that Cadillac gets s replacement for the DTS and the STS. Offered in China for a while, the Regal, which goes on sale in the U.S. in the second quarter of next year,  is quite popular there, as are just about anything with the Buick insignia in that country. Power will come from a 2.4 liter Ecotec four cylinder engine producing 182 horsepower and backed by a six speed transmission. In this set up, Buick says, the Regal will get 30 miles per gallon. Later next summer, you can look for a turbocharged 220 horsepower model that will even have a standard six speed manual transmission. That summer will also see the introduction of a driver-selectable “Interactive Drive Control System,” which allows the driver to choose several different suspension settings. The standard equipment list is quite full, with front and side curtain air bags,  satellite radio, six speed automatic transmission, and standard 18-inch wheels. StabiliTrak traction and stability control will be standard as well. Other standard features include   OnStar, XM Satellite radio, Bluetooth, and heated leather front seats. Options included rear seat thorax air bags, navigation system, internal flash drive, Harmon Kardon sound system, and other items. To hear Buick talk, the new Regal will take some getting used to for some people who think that Buicks are all modestly styled, quiet, low keyed cars. “The Regal’s sleek design blends the sweeping silhouette and proportions of a coupe in a progressive package that suggests motion from all angles. Great attention to detail complements that aggressive styling, with tailored applications of Buick’s signature design cues, such as the waterfall grille, select use of chrome trim and superior fit and finish of the exterior panels,” a press release said. “Regal is all about great proportions,” said John Cafaro, design director, passenger car. “For example, with the fenders flared to wrap around the tires. It’s an aggressive stance that people aren’t used to seeing in recent Buicks.” Inside, the press release says, “the sweeping design motif carries over to the interior, where the side panels flow uninterrupted into the instrument panel. The instruments have the look of expensive sport timepieces and are lit with ice-blue LED lights. The center stack, housing the climate and “infotainment” controls, was designed to allow for a lower, driver-centric instrument panel profile. Features such as a thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel and firm, highly bolstered and leather-covered seats also support the sport-oriented driving experience.” Buick knows it has its work cut out for it in this end of othe market, and as a result, the brand benchmarked some of the best cars o0ut there, including the Acura TSX and the Volvo S60.   As a result, the press release says, “Regal’s firm, highly bolstered seats were benchmarked against the top import competitors for comfort and support, while a standard flow-through center console offers plenty of storage for passengers in the front and back.” The press release also says, “Smart applications of technology are also hallmarks of the Regal, including details such as a multi-function controller on the center console for operation of the audio system, navigation system and the Bluetooth phone. The faceplate for the “infotainment” screen is set at a 30-degree angle to contribute to the car’s flowing interior design.” It adds, “A new era in Buick design is also seen in the satin metallic, piano black and new, Kibo-patterned interior trim materials. Kibo is a rich, dark, progressively grained wood that lends an international flair to the Regal.” We’ll have more on the new Regal and 2010 progresses.

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