Tag Archives: Buick
Review – 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Does A Turbo Fix It?

Review – 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Does A Turbo Fix It?

 

 

2011 Regal CXL TurboIf you’ve read my review of the 2011 Buick Regal CXL, you’ll note that there were two things I was not terribly happy with. The first was mainly the user interface for the infotainment system. The second was the powertrain. I really harped on that point, as Buick is marketing the Regal as a sport injected vehicle.

So when I was handed the keys to a 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo, the main question going through my head was simple: did a turbo really fix my qualms with the powertrain? Is the Buick Regal CXL Turbo the sport injected Buick that we are being promised in the new marketing? After a week with the car, I have found my answer. Read More…

Review – 2011 Buick Regal CXL: Is It Really Sport Injected?

In my short time on this earth, the Buick Regal has never been a car that seemed like it was sport injected. Yet for some years that was the marketing that went along with the nameplate. Sure, from 1997 to 2004 you could get a supercharged V-6 in a Regal. But did that really make it sporty?

Now we have a new Regal, and yes, it is sport injected. At least that is what the marketing tells us. I recently spent a week with the new Regal to see if the marketing really translates to the pavement. Read More…

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 36: “Bad Beak”

Episode 36 starts with introducing this weeks guest Nick Saporito from GM Inside News and Ford Inside News. This week we find the garage quite full. Both Nick and I  have had Cadillac Escalade Platinum’s along with Chevrolet Cruze’s. Also in the garage I have a Mitsubishi Evolution MR and Nick has a Buick Regal Turbo.

We then move along to the major news of the week segment. This week included:

  • Top 10 ugliest car grilles [Link]
  • Dealers are creating monster Camaros [Link]
  • Great YouTube find: CHP video from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake [Link]
  • How to install and iPad in your Mustang [Link]

Next came our main topic which was discussing what’s coming in 2011. We take a look at Ford’s financial goals along with some Detroit Auto Show talk.

Last we plug our respective sites: Ford Inside News, GM Inside News, AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

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Buick Dropped The Ball And Created #GSFail

I wanted to write this editorial on Thursday night, but decided it was better to wait a few days and see how the dust settled. How would the fans react? Would my emotions on the topic change once I calmed down? The answer is no.

Buick announced the production version of the Regal GS in Miami, Florida last Thursday. It wasn’t without a few surprises. The biggest surprise of which was a lack of all-wheel drive. Most people assumed the 2.8 liter turbo V-6 from the Opel Insignia OPC would not make the trek across the Atlantic. As for the all-wheel drive, that is a different story.

Lets not forget about power output. The 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder will put out 255 horsepower and 295 pound feet to the front wheels (no, that was not a typo). This engine has also done duty in the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, HHR SS,  Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Redline. For all of these models you could purchase a $650 factory upgrade at the dealership that would kick things up a notch, pushing out 290 hp and 340 lb-ft, all while keeping your factory warranty. The engine has the potential.

The Regal GS will feature GM’s terrific HiPerStrut front suspension system, which in theory, should curve most of the torque steer which this beast is sure to feature.

So where are the two main problems? Well, it’s a combination of power and drivetrain. The engineers said they did not need all-wheel drive for the Regal GS. Their reasoning was the added weight wasn’t necessary and the power output did not require it. Wait, the power output did not need it? Hey, we stumbled onto the second problem!

It was initially thought that Buick wanted the Regal GS to take on the likes of the BMW 335i and the Audi S4, like the Opel Insignia OPC does in Europe. These power numbers do not put it even close to competing with those vehicles. Zero to sixty is quoted as “under seven seconds.” Are you joking? That’s slower then the Acura TSX V-6. Did I mention the new Hyundai Sonata Turbo has more horsepower and posts better fuel economy? That isn’t even a “sports car.” Don’t even think about getting close to a BMW 335i or Audi S4 in race away from that stop light.

Also high on the disappointment list is the removal of the terrific Recaro seats. The Opel Insignia OPC features them, as did the Regal GS Concept. I sat in them at the Detroit Auto Show last year – those were comfy seats.

Fans on Buick’s Facebook fan page were outraged. Many have claimed how this car just got knocked off their list. I was told by someone that three people in Detroit that were waiting for this car called the dealership and are no longer interested. My own cousin who has a 2002 Audi A6 2.7t was waiting for this car – I had convinced him this might be the replacement. Now? Not so much.

The Twitter community was just as outraged. The hashtag #GSFail was created quite quickly and really spread fast. Enthusiasts across the nation shared their disappointment.

I still remember standing three feet away from Bob Lutz at the Detroit Auto Show last year. I overheard him talking about the Regal GS to a reporter – he was smiling ear to ear, proud of what Buick was transforming into. What I wouldn’t give to hear Bob Lutz’s candid thoughts on how this car turned out.

My garage has a poster in it of the Regal GS concept car from last years auto show season. The car is something I was looking forward to.

The fact that I have not driven the car is not lost on me. Without a question, the car looks the part. In fact, it probably is still fun to drive, but that isn’t the point. The point is the car is not what was expected from the GS. It has been slightly watered down in all the wrong places, and the enthusiasts know it. The GS model is meant to be niche, meaning it is meant for enthusiasts.

Buick had the opportunity to really make a move here. This car could have stood for something, having the potential to truly ignite enthusiasts and maybe even convert a few past Pontiac owners. Now, it is another watered down product we are getting from Europe. In a discussion this weekend with Nick Saporito, I think he said it best: “the car is “good enough” with excuses.”

Sound off in the comments and we are also running a poll over at Motor Authority about whether the Regal GS meets your expectations. Check it out and vote here.

Highway Road Test – 2010 Buick LaCrosse

I acknowledge the fact that I have already posted a review of the Buick LaCrosse.  Recently, I found myself with another LaCrosse in my driveway – only this time I was about to drive a ton of miles and have a quite a bit of seat time in the car.  The vehicle was painted in a red jewel tintcoat with a cocoa/light cashmere leather interior.  This was a CXS model with the optional navigation system and upgraded audio system.  Riding on the optional 19″ 9-spoke painted alloy wheels the car is a looker. Without question, people told me the car was good looking.

Getting to that road trip I mentioned earlier –  I drove the car from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Kenosha, Wisconsin and then onto Elkhart Lake, WI for the spring MAMA rally.  Then, I went back to Minneapolis, only to turn around and head up north to my cabin.  Needless to say, this all equated to over 1,200 miles in a short period of time.  That is quite a bit of seat time in a car, and one gets to know things about that car spending that much time in it.

The first thing I noted was how quiet the LaCrosse was at speed.  With the cruise set  to over 70 mph, the interior was library quiet.  The ventilated seats were very easy to adjust and find a comfortable seating position.  I did find them to be a little flat after an entire day on the road, but regardless they were comfortable.  The two cup holders in the center console are the right size.  The second cup holder gets covered by the sliding arm rest, which is quite annoying because I had the arm rest slid out covering it.  The side mirrors are rather large and this makes it easy to see cars in your blind spot (when the mirrors are adjusted accordingly).  The A-pillars are literally ginormous.  You could (and I did) lose a biker at an intersection in those pillars, and it is a real safety hazard.  This is a huge oversight and I am not quite sure how someone in development did not say something.  I found that even though the belt line is rather high (the new trend) I was able to rest my arm on the window sill – but if I set it wrong it was quickly uncomfortable.  The short hood is very noticeable when driving on the highway and it did not bother me, but I took note of it.  I would also like to comment that I think that at least on the CXL (mid trim level) and CXS (highest trim level) model, projector headlights should be standard equipment.

The infotainment system worked terrifically, but I noted a few things.  The navigation system will not let you enter a destination while moving.  This is annoying – because what if you have a passenger that can do it safely while you are driving?  I hate this little safety feature.  Also, the navigation system would not let me enter certain addresses, so I had to resort to using my Google Maps on my iPhone.  I loved the Harman Kardon branded sound system – it sounded absolutely fantastic.  This is the upgraded system and it’s really worth it.  The touchscreen worked well and there are a ton of buttons if you would rather operate the system using them.

On the way up north to the cabin, both my mother and girlfriend noted that the LaCrosse rode nicer than another family members 2006 Lexus LS430.  After questioning them to find out more details, they noted the seats (specifically the rear seats) were more comfortable.

This LaCrosse was equipped with the 3.6 liter V-6, pushing the power to the front wheels.  The transmission was a six-speed automatic with manual shift capabilities and a sport mode.  While the car is rated at 17/27 mpg, I was able to average 28.9 mpg on the highway with the cruise set to 65 mph in Wisconsin.  Once pushed to 77 mph back in Minnesota, the mileage dropped down to a 27.2 mpg average.

After all the miles and discussion about the car with people, my conclusion is quite similar to my original review.  The car is a winner.  With a sticker price of $36,135 out the door, this is a real value for the money.  That said, it is not perfect and has a few flaws that need addressing.  However, no one can say the car is not competitive.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

What if Buick Made a LaCrosse Wagon?

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if General Motors made a Buick LaCrosse wagon?  Until now neither had I.  With that said, Nick Wilcox over at Automotive Renderings did wonder just that and decided to draw one out.  Taking inspiration from the LaCrosse and the Enclave, he put together this sketch.  Not too shabby.  Suddenly I would like to see a Buick LaCrosse wagon, that is, if GM could make it look this good.

Source- Automotive Renderings

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 28: “Boondoggle Episode”

Episode 28 starts with introducing this weeks guest William Maley also known as realmudmonster on Twitter.  Moving into the garage we talk about the Buick LaCrosse I was in for the past week along  We then discuss the MAMA spring rally that I attended this past week.  We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

This week we bring back the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured Mercedes-Benz: Sorry. (Link)

Next came our main topics which we have a discussion about the going to go over some government boondoggles we’ve been seeing cropping up in the news. We actually got the idea from jalopnik which did a recent post about the world’s safest cars that were built here in America

Last we plug our respective blogs,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

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Officially Official – Buick Regal GS Confirmed For Production

It was confirmed exclusively to the Detroit News by Toms Stephens, General Motors vice chairman of global design, that the Regal GS concept has been green lighted for production.  It will most likely come with a 2.0 liter turbo charged 4 cylinder putting out 255 hp and 295 lb-ft to all four wheels through the torque vectoring all wheel drive system by Haldex.  Thankfully we will probably get to manage that power with a proper six speed manual.  Sadly there is the possibility that the concept’s awesome Recaro seats will not make it to production.  Timing and volume were not given, though I would be bet we will see the GS sometime mid to late next year.

“Buick kind of lost its way.  We built big, floaty, quiet cars — what our customers wanted at the time.  The GS would be the next step, more performance-based,” Buick spokeswoman Dayna Hart said.

Source- The Detroit News

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 26: “New World vs. Old World”

Episode 26 starts with introducing this weeks guests Mirko Reinhardt and Nick Fay.  Moving into the garage we talk about both the EVOMS Porsche 997.2 TT and 2010 Dodge Charger SRT8 I was in for the past weeks along with the Porsche Boxster Nick drove.  Last but not least we discuss the Tesla Roadster Sport I drove.  We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

Next came our main topic which we have a discussion about the differences between American driving and European driving and the overall differences in car culture.

Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

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*UPDATED* Dear Lord! Is Vuick Back?

Hold on to your hats folks.  When I was at the GM Product and Technology event put on last August I saw things.  Some things were awesome such as the future Buick Regal, upcoming Chevrolet Camaro convertible and the list goes on.  Some were not so awesome, such as the Buick that was quickly dubbed Vuick.  See it was essentially a re-badged (and I mean literally a new grille inserted) Saturn Vue.

The Vuick thing caught on quick and GM supposedly decided to kill it a mere few weeks later.  In fact they were so proudly announcing how fast they acted based on the negative feedback they were receiving (shocking).  Anyways, next to that Vuick on the floor was a upcoming small crossover for Buick.  This could possibly be dubbed the Encore.  It essentially looked literally like a shrunken down Enclave.  This my friends looked good.  It was most likely based on the new Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain platform.

Yesterday Chris Baccus was driving in Detroit and spotted this test vehicle.  He noted it looked like a Buick grille behind the cladding.  This my friends is one of two things.  The Vuick being resurrected (dear god no) or the baby Enclave (Encore?) that has been severely changed since I saw it and not for the better.  Either way you are looking at something that is not production ready.  I am sincerely hoping this is not the Vuick coming back from the dead rather just a test mule.  I hope they keep the baby Enclaves styling that I saw last fall.

UPDATE-

Some have mentioned this looks an awful lot like the Chevrolet Captiva not sold in America.  I have also just received word from GMInsidenews that GM plans to still sell and produce the Vuick but only for China.  It will be a youth oriented crossover.

Source- Chris Baccus