2019 Buick Regal TourX Essence AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis



Tonight, the as I drive the streets of Gotham, the city is safe. I glide silently by, constantly aware, constantly on the watch.

I am Batman

Ok, maybe I’m not the Caped Crusader, but when I first saw my Buick Regal TourX, dressed in its Ebony Twilight Metallic, I thought “Batmobile”. Which brought up a great discussion – while we all have our favorite actor, from Adam West to Ben Affleck, there seems to be a mutual agreement – the Batmobile has always been cool. Purists, I apologize, we’re talking only TV and movies here.

It’s the Buick that makes the Batman

In our case, at least. This model is the TourX, which is the “crossover” version of the family.

While this is more of a slightly raised wagon than our interpretation of a crossover, we’re excited to have a go at it.

We tested the Regal sedan recently, and found it to be the best premium European luxury sedan for the buck.  Like the sedan, there’s lederhosen in the TourX genes, (Sorry.) this is marketed as the Opel Insignia elsewhere, and that Euro-feel works all sorts of nice things.

Whether you call it a wagon or crossover, it is a very handsome beast. Its long sleek proportions remind us of the Volvo V90 we tested and loved. That Volvo was big – yet the Buick is two inches longer.

Those expecting a contemporary Roadmaster with long panels of plasticized wood will be disappointed. But to those of us who like a crisp modern design, this is the real deal. A sliver of chrome trim, scalloped doors, a dollop of black wheel cladding that is thankfully restrained, all make the TourX an eye catcher.

 

Sitting on handsome 18″ machine-faced aluminum wheels with painted pockets, our Ebony Twilight Metallic would look perfect in any Bat Cave. If you like a little more contrast, we think the Summit White is also stunning, while Sport Red would be perfect for the extrovert.

The Bat Cave

Inside, the first impression is the huge amount of space.  While we would have loved the Recaro-like sports seats you get in the Regal GS, the 8-way power front seats are notably comfortable and supportive, even for taller drivers – thank you long-legged Europeans!

For those in front the rest of the experience feels Euro-functional.  It’s a clean, simple design, with materials that feel nice. Not Audi-nice, but price-wise, the TourX sits somewhere between regular and luxury brands.

The equipment level feels plush – every Regal TourX features push-button start and entry, OnStar 4G LTE W-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Our upscale Essence model included an 8-inch infotainment system with navigation, Bose audio with subwoofer mounted in the spare tire well and Active Noise Cancellation.

The only let-down for us was the instrumentation. The gauges look a little small and plain – not very Batmobile. The Regal GS we tested had an attractive gauge package we’d love to see here. While the gauges don’t have the flash, the rest of the controls are well thought out and are easy to operate – the TourX is a very comfortable place to sit for hours.

Those in back will find the rear seats are also spacious, and we really liked that you could have the front seats slid well back and still be able to fold the rear seats forward to create a flat loading floor. In many cars, we have to give up front legroom or the seatbacks interfere with the folded rear seat. Not here.

Flipping those rear seats is easy, too – there’s a nice remote switch that’s accessible from the rear of the cargo area. And with the seats down, there’s a massive 73.5 cubic feet of cargo space – more than the Volvo V60 Cross Country, Audi A4 Allroad or Subaru Outback. Sliding tie-down hooks add to the utility.

Access to the cargo area is easy with a power liftgate that works off the remote. The remote will also power close the gate. A nice touch. And a final party trick – the Buick logo is projected on the ground below the rear bumper at night. Kind of like the Bat signal in the evening sky!

Like a Bat out of heck…

Well, if you’re expecting afterburners like the old Adam West ‘mobile – or all the cool artillery of the later models, you’re going to be a little disappointed. If you’re expecting a nice Euro-style ride – with a definite Buick vibe, you’ll be pleased.

Under the hood is GM’s familiar 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo, pumping out a very respectable 250 hp and impressive 295 lb-ft of torque. This is a nice-sounding powerplant – a little growl on start up, and a refined but tasteful snarl when you really get on it. The 8-speed automatic is smooth and quick.

 

Buick put a lot of effort in making the TourX quiet and it shows, for a wagon which has a large open area to make noise, it’s whisper quiet.

While this is a big vehicle, it handles well thanks to intelligent all-wheel-drive, plus Buick’s rear torque delivery system that helps the wagon cut into turns. The suspension is raised slightly over other Regals – but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a serious off roader – more of a good all-weather transportation. That slight raise in ride height does help provide a lovely, smooth ride.

And while this is not touted as a sport vehicle, it is very easy to drive very quickly. Maybe a good thing ours was in a stealthy black!

Do I need Bruce Wayne’s wealth to afford one?

Another nice thing. It’s a Buick. Premium, but not nose-bleed premium like Audi or BMW Wags. The TourX AWD starts at $29,995, and gives you all the same mechanical goodies of our top of the line Essence, without some of the luxury and info-tainment touches. We might go for one of these, and start hunting down Regal GS parts and make a real bahn-stormer!

Next up is the Preferred trim level at $33,595, which adds 8-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped wheel, auto-dimming rear mirror and other goods.

A tester like our top-of-the-line Essence starts at $35,995, and gets you nice stuff like leather heated seats, a leather heated steering wheel, hands-free liftgate. It also opens the door (and wallet) to options not available on the others.

In our case, that included the Sights and Sounds Package ($1,095) which gets the larger 8-inch screen and premium audio, the Driver Confidence Package 1 ($1,725), with goodies like LED headlights, memory seats, and important safety tech like blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change alert. We also had Driver Confidence Package 2 ($1,1905), with adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, and lane keep assist.

Our Batmobile Ebony Twilight Metallic paint added $395, wheel locks for $75, plus $925 for destination which meant all totaled we were at $40,475. The only option we would add would be a panoramic sunroof which would have an additional $1,200.

The Regal TourX is priced dead-on against the class leaders like the Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring, which comes in at $39,970.  Its European road manners make it a bargain for those looking at the premium brands – a Volvo S60 can easily get up to $50,000. Audi and BMW as well.

We also liked the extra surprise when people saw our hot wagon was a Buick. These are models that are completely changing the image of the brand in a great way.

The Regal TourX is a great wagon; stylish, comfy and capable.

European feel, American value.

If you’re looking for a wagon – or a Batmobile – it’s at your Buick dealer.

 

 

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