By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
Buick has a long history of wagons. The Buick Estate wagon, which wore a long low look often dressed in wood (or some facsimile of wood), goes back to the 1940s and was built until the extinction of the Buick Roadmaster Estate in 1996. Buick also made mid-size sport wagons from 1964 to 1980 along with an Oldsmobile version called the Vista Cruiser.
Following the Crossover Trend
Crossovers, SUVs and wagon-style vehicles are the hottest things in the current automotive market and all the manufacturers seem to be adding new versions at a record pace. Buick has been having record sales and has recently launched four new vehicles including the latest new model, the 2018 Buick Regal TourX AWD.
?Regal TourX is a crossover in the truest sense of the word, with the drive dynamics of a car and the versatility of an SUV,? said Duncan Aldred, vice president, global Buick and GMC. ?Additionally, it continues a trend set by the Cascada and Encore of bringing Buick?s contemporary design and attainable luxury credentials to new segments where customers are looking for more. TourX enters a vibrant segment with passion and youthful energy where drivers are able to experience the new Buick.?
Classic Sport Wagon Styling
We loved the looks of the new Regal TourX, it?s a classic sport wagon with clean flowing lines and has the expanded capabilities of a wagon and a slightly rugged look. It?s basically like the wagon version of the new Buick Sportback. The expanded cargo area gives it an upscale utilitarian demeanor. Buick describes it, appropriately, as a ?sports sedan with sleek, coupe-like design with five-door versatility.?
The TourX has more cargo space than the Volvo V60 Cross Country, Audi A4 Allroad, BMW 3-series Sport Wagon and Subaru Outback. It includes 33 cubic feet in the rear, with the rear seats in place, and expands to 73.5 cubic feet behind the front seats when the rear seat backs are folded. The cargo area floor has a rail system to help tie down cargo. The liftgate has hands-free power function with a cool tri-shield logo lamp that illuminates the ground beneath the sensor (on upper trim levels) in the dark. Faux wood trim is now relegated to the console, rather than the out sides.
Powerful Turbo Four
Under the hood is a smooth, quiet, powerful 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder with an equally smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. Buff magazines are listing a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.3 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. We averaged 24.7 mpg in mixed driving for a week. The engine also has a stop/start system to save fuel at stoplights.
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive
The TourX comes with standard intelligent all-wheel drive with active twin-clutch. Buick?s innovative new system uses two clutches at the rear wheels for seamless, smart torque distribution. Beneficial not just in snowy weather but also during spirited driving, the system relies less on braking to maintain maximum performance and efficiency.
The suspension is MacPherson struts up front and a sophisticated five-link system in the back and the brakes are four-wheel discs.
How it drives
Being developed in Europe initially and built in Germany contributes to the better than average handling characteristics of the Real TourX and the smooth Buick-like ride. It?s a whole different kind of Buick wagon than its predecessors, which had the reputation for ?float and wallow? ride management. This one is more like a sport sedan.
Driver Confidence Package
Our Regal TourX Essence test wagon had the optional ($1,725) Driver Confidence Package which added important safety features including rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with blind spot, LED headlights, cornering lamps, rear park assist and several others. This is a ?must have? option.
Our top-of-the-line Essence test vehicle had a standard infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with an 8-inch screen along with the optional navigation system. A Bose premium audio with subwoofer mounted in the spare tire well was standard, as was the active noise cancellation.
All TourX models are equipped with OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (AT&T data plan purchase required after limited data trial period) and five years of the basic OnStar program, with several available OnStar services as options.
Buick engineers built in the latest crash prevention and protection with a standard active hood pedestrian safety system. It senses an oncoming impact with a pedestrian (at speeds of 16-30 mph) and uses a pyrotechnic actuator (like the system which activates a vehicle airbag) to lift the back of the hood about 4 inches to lessen the impact of a pedestrian?s body on the vehicle to reduce injury.
Three available trim levels & base prices
The 2018 Buick Regal TourX is available in three trim levels: 1SV, Preferred and Essence with base prices of $29,995; $33,595 and $35,995 respectively, including the destination charge. The Essence with all the available options is priced at about $43,000.
The Buick Regal TourX AWD is in a tough category, but it?s a strong competitor. We think it?s one of the best looking of the group, and it offers a nice level of comfort and performance.