Buick?s last foray into the station wagon market ended in 1996 with the demise of the Buick Roadmaster Estate wagon. After more than two decades, the GM ?Tri-shield? brand made the decision to buck the SUV trend and return to the wagon field. The result ? the 2018 Buick Regal TourX AWD wagon ? a low, sleek and spacious example of a family adventure vehicle. Its purpose is to revive and fill a niche that has pretty much neglected or underserved.
The Regal TourX comes in three levels of trim: the base TourX, the Preferred model, and the flagship Essence trim. All are AWD with an active twin-clutch for enhanced control on virtually any surface, and all are based on the European-market Opel Insignia architecture, which is also the basis for the Regal GS sedan and Chevy?s Malibu. Pricing starts at just under $30,000 and can climb to just beneath the $40,000 mark.
Powering the Buick Regal TourX is a longitudinally front mounted 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve Turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine with Direct injection and auto Stop/Start that delivers 250 horsepower at 5,400 rpm while also developing 295 pound feet of torque in a range from 3,000-5,400 rpm. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic with manual shift capability.
CRISP AERO STYLING
The TourX is a visually alluring crossover vehicle, ranking as perhaps one of the most attractive wagons offered in today?s marketplace. It leads off with Buick?s winged grille, which is flanked by standard LED daytime running lights and available thinner LED headlights that enhance the front end?s low, wide stance.
When compared to the 2018 Regal Sportback, the TourX gains an extra 3.4 inches in length, displaying an aerodynamic side profile with a roofline accent trim element that arches along the roof?s entire length of the roof and D-pillar, terminating at the LED-accented taillights. A protective black polymer cladding wraps the entire lower edge of the vehicle, arching over the wheelwells, contributing to the Regal TourX?s off-road persona.
Despite it?s sophisticated AWD configuration and off-road look, the TourX is not really an off-roader. Its ground clearance only measures a mere 5.8-inches ? definitely not suited to rock-crawling. It provides the drive dynamics of an upscale sedan, while also delivering the versatility and functionality of an SUV. It has more overall cargo capacity than many competitors in its class with up to 73.5 cubic feet behind the front seats.
Other highlights include: a hands-free power liftgate that has a Buick tri-shield logo lamp illuminating the ground beneath the sensor (standard on upper trim levels), available customer-minded accessories including a variable roof rack, portable Bluetooth speaker and keyless keypad entry and such safety innovations as a Buick-first active hood pedestrian safety system, Front Pedestrian Braking and Lane Keep Assist.
The TourX?s interior is, roomy and quiet and mostly comfortable in all but the middle rear seat which can be on the cramped side, dependent of course on the seatmate ?s sizes. The dash is topped with either a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen, featuring a leather-like wrap, and trimmed with fuax wood and bright elements.
The folding seats are split 60/40 in the base TourX and Preferred trims but 40/20/40 in the Essence model, lay almost perfectly flat, for ease in loading large items. The low roof-mounted rack height makes for ease in top-loading items. TourX?s available hands-free power liftgate is another nice touch.
STAYING IN TOUCH
Connectivity and infotainment serves up Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an 8-inch screen with Nav and a Bose Premium Sound System with a spare-tire well-mounted subwoofer and active noise cancellation. There was also a free trial period for the OnStar 4G LTE Wi0Fi hotspot.
My test 2018 Buick Regal TourX was an Essence trim model wearing a White Frost Tricoat exterior with an Ebony leather interior. It?s base sticker read $35,020., while the final count and amount came to $39,760 after factoring in the optional fare, which included: the Sights and Sounds Package; Driver Confidence Package #1, the White Frost Tricoat paint and the Destination Charge.
Driving the 2018 Buick Regal TourX Essence AWD Is essentially like piloting a sports sedan with a rear extension and a coupe-like visual treatment, but with the versatility of five doors.
The ride quality is quite comfortable and the handling attributes are nimble and sporty-like. The suspension componentry consists of MacPherson struts forward and a five-link set-up aft.
In the final evaluation, Buick?s new wagon entry should fare extremely well in its competitive market segment, which shows promise of growing in popularity. In any case it?s a far cry above the Buick wagons of yesteryear.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Buick Regal TourX Essence AWD
Base Price: $35,020.
Price as Tested: $39,760.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve Turbocharged inline 4 cylinder with Direct injection and Stop/Start.
Horsepower (bhp): 250 @ 5,400 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 295 @ 3,000-5,400 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / AWD with active twin clutch.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Rear ? Five-link independent.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS and ESC.
Tires: Continental ProContact 235/50 R18 mounted on 5-stylized ?V?-spoke Combo machine face and Paint alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 114.4 inches
Length Overall: 196.3 inches
Width: 73.3 inches
Height: 58.4 inches
Curb Weight: 4,239 lbs.
Turning Circle: 28 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 16.3 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: 6.3 seconds
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.