2020 Buick Regal TourX Review

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Aug 06, 2020

Introduction - Find the best Buick deals!

Slowly but surely, Buick has been killing off its car models, and the Regal is the last of them. Once dealership stocks of this midsize car are gone, the 2020 Buick Regal ends an era for the automaker, which becomes a sole purveyor of SUVs for 2021.

If the Regal nameplate conjures up memories of various and largely mediocre sedans and coupes from the last half of the 20th century, you’re not alone. But the 2020 Buick Regal is something else entirely. Designed, engineered, and built by General Motors’ European brand, Opel, before GM sold it shortly after the latest Regal debuted for the 2018 model year, this car rolls off of a German assembly line. Or, it did, before production prematurely ended due to the CV-19 pandemic.

Available in 5-door Regal Sportback and Regal TourX wagon body styles, you can choose from standard, Preferred, and Essence trim levels. Additionally, the Sportback comes in luxurious Avenir and performance-tuned GS trims. All-wheel drive is available for the Sportback and standard for the TourX wagon.

2020 Buick Regal TourX White Front View

For this review, J.D. Power evaluated a Regal TourX Essence equipped with the Driver Confidence Package 1, the Sights and Sounds Package, and a panoramic sunroof. The price came to $40,015, including the $925 destination charge.

What Owners Say… - Find the best Buick deals!

Before we discuss the results of our evaluation of the 2020 Regal TourX, it is helpful to understand who buys this midsize car, and what they like most and least about their vehicles.

According to J.D. Power data, 82% of Buick Regal owners are male (vs. 60% for the segment), and the median age of a Regal owner is 69 years (vs. 55).

Owners say their favorite things about the Regal are (in descending order) the driving feel, exterior styling, powertrain, feeling of safety, and setting up and starting. Specifically, these five things about the vehicle rank highest in comparison to the midsize car segment:

  • Power of engine/motor
  • Smoothness of engine/motor
  • Operating vehicle remotely
  • Quietness of cabin while driving
  • Audio system sound quality

Owners indicate their least favorite things about the Regal are (in descending order) the driving comfort, interior design, getting in and out, infotainment system, and fuel economy. Specifically, these five things about the vehicle rank lowest in comparison to the midsize car segment:

  • Fuel economy/driving range
  • Exterior styling
  • Driver’s seat comfort
  • Ability to hold personal items
  • Vehicle protection

In the J.D Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, the Regal did not rank due to small sample size.

What Our Expert Says… - Find the best Buick deals!

In the sections that follow, our expert provides his own perceptions about how the 2020 Buick Regal TourX measures up in each of the 10 categories that comprise the APEAL Study.

Exterior

With the Regal TourX, Buick aimed to take on the Subaru Outback. It got the design formula mostly right but forgot to lift the TourX several more inches off of the ground for genuinely useful clearance and a proper stance. 

2020 Buick Regal TourX White Rear View

No doubt, the Buick is all kinds of better looking than the Subaru, even if the weirdly blistered fender cladding is overdone. But without the suspension lift, it’s a Buick station wagon with 5.8 inches of ground clearance and not a Subaru crossover SUV with 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Interior

There is an elegant simplicity and European sensibility to the Regal TourX’s interior. Proper controls laid out in a logical way, paired with consistent tones and texturing as well as polished chrome accents, help to support Buick’s premium brand positioning. Even the simulated wood on the center console looks nice, if not entirely convincing.

2020 Buick Regal TourX Black Interior and Dashboard

Where the TourX stumbles is with regard to materials quality. The plastics have a low-rent appearance and finish, making it especially hard for the tested Essence trim level to pull off a price tag north of $40,000. 

Storage space is adequate. The two bins on either side of the transmission shifter help to make up for the small container beneath the center armrest. Buick also supplies good sized door panel bins and a roomy glovebox.

Getting In and Out

A Regal TourX sits a little higher off the ground than does a Regal Sportback. And with Preferred and Essence trim levels, both front seats include height adjustment, which helps to improve entry and exit. The rear doors also open wide, and the roomy rear seat makes it easier to get into and get out of the back seat.

Around back, the TourX Essence includes a hands-free power liftgate. It opens wide to reveal 32.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and because the Regal sits lower than a typical crossover SUV (or even the Subaru Outback), the liftover height is reduced making it easier to load heavy items.

Essence trim also includes a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, which offers greater versatility than the 60/40-split design in other TourX models. With the rear seat folded down, the TourX accommodates 73.5 cubic feet of cargo.

Setting Up and Starting

Attractive exterior styling and appealing interior design make a Regal TourX’s driver eager to get set up and out onto the road to adventure. And with Essence trim, thanks to the 8-way power adjustable and heated front seats, finding a proper driving position is easy.

Buick’s infotainment system uses a 7-inch or an 8-inch display mounted under flush glass, and is underlined by a row of simple physical controls. Going through the different menus and settings is intuitive, and a separate driver information display also offers customization by using the steering wheel controls.

Infotainment System

Every 2020 Buick Regal TourX includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Teen Driver safety technology, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot service with a 1-month/3GB free trial period, and Buick Connected Services. Navigation, an 8-speaker Bose premium sound system, and wireless device charging are available as options. 

This technology, broadly used across the General Motors brand ecosystem, is generally easy and pleasing to use. Depending on the make and model, the physical controls might vary, and the best setup is the one on the Regal TourX. You get a power/volume knob flanked by tuning buttons, a Back button, and a Home button. That sounds overly simplistic, but in day-to-day use it is a perfect solution that balances simplicity with utility.

Buick Connected Services includes a free Connected Access plan for 10 years. Highlights include vehicle diagnostics and Buick Smart Driver technology that allows your insurance company to monitor driving habits and provide discounts when applicable. Remote Access (remote engine starting, vehicle location service, and more) and Unlimited Access (unlimited Wi-Fi, turn-by-turn navigation) cost extra. An OnStar Safety & Security plan is also available, adding automatic collision notification, SOS emergency calling, and crisis assist, among other features. 

Add every Connected Service to the TourX, and you’re looking at $60 per month in subscription fees.

Keeping You Safe

If Buick gets the Regal TourX’s infotainment technology right, the approach to advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) is wrong.

Standard safety equipment includes 10 airbags, a reversing camera, and an unusual active hood pedestrian safety system that detects when the car is about to strike a pedestrian and raises the hood by up to 4 inches to lessen impact force and potentially reduce injury. No doubt, that’s a thing in Germany, because U.S.-spec vehicles certainly don’t require it.

If you want ADAS, you need to pay extra. And not only must you pay extra, you need Preferred trim at a minimum and Essence trim if you want all of the driving assistance goodies.

The Regal TourX Preferred is available with a blind-spot warning system, rear cross-traffic warning, lane-change assistance, and rear parking sensors. Essence trim can be enhanced with those features plus adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance. The test car did not include any of these Essence-only upgrades.

Crash-testing data for the Regal TourX is incomplete. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t conducted any tests at all, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the wagon a Good rating for both small-overlap and moderate-overlap frontal impact protection for the driver, and for side-impact protection.

Powertrain

Every Regal TourX is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque from 3,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission powers all four wheels through a standard active twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system.

With a minimum of 3,708 pounds to motivate (3,849 lbs. for Essence trim), the turbocharged 4-cylinder is more than adequate for the task at hand. And while peak torque doesn’t arrive until 3,000 rpm, the TourX doesn’t demonstrate any expected turbo lag, feeling robust right off of the line.

The 8-speed automatic also impresses with crisp, well-timed shifts and generally imperceptible behavior. 

Fuel Economy

The EPA says that a 2020 Buick Regal TourX should get 24 mpg in combined driving. The test vehicle returned 21.9 mpg, though due to summer heat the air conditioning was blasting pretty much the entire time.

Based on this testing experience, the 16.5-gallon fuel tank should return 361 miles of range. But that’s if you run the tank dry. Most likely, you’ll stop at the gas station every 320 miles or so.

Driving Comfort

Thanks to the standard 8-way power adjustable and heated front seats, the TourX Essence supplies good thigh support and added comfort in cold temperatures. A heated steering wheel is also nice to have during winter weather. However, for summer temperatures and humidity, it would be nice if Buick offered ventilated seats. 

Adults will find happiness in the Regal TourX’s back seat, but because this is a wagon and not an SUV, dark tinted rear privacy glass is not on the menu. This is a problem for babies and toddlers riding in child safety seats, and younger children are likely to complain, too. You’ll need some of those window shades with the classy-looking suction cups.

The lack of tinted rear glass combined with the lack of ventilated front seats and the presence of the optional panoramic glass roof meant the test car’s black leather interior trapped the intense summer heat of testing week. The air conditioning system, equipped with a humidity sensor and a cabin air ionizer, worked overtime to cool this Buick’s cabin down. Eventually, it succeeded.

On the road, this Regal is fairly quiet due to extensive efforts to reduce interior noise. Buick employs its Quiet Tuning approach here, including acoustic glass for the windshield and front door windows, triple door seals, and active noise cancellation technology. Even the tires are claimed to use ContiSilent technology.

Driving Feel

Because it was designed, engineered, and built in Germany, the Regal TourX has a decidedly European driving character. 

That means it is smooth and compliant in urban and suburban environments, soaking up road imperfections like a champ. At the same time, if you take it for a rousing run down a curvy road, it eagerly tackles the twisties with a minimum of excess body movement, a flat cornering attitude, and an engaging driving dynamic. 

Though it rides on 18-inch wheels with P235/50R18 all-season tires, the TourX is fairly athletic and, in spite of the heat, the brakes resisted fade during mountain driving. Also, unlike a typical crossover SUV, which has a higher center of gravity than this relatively low-slung wagon, the TourX avoids the tippy feeling common in so many SUVs.

If there’s any complaint with this Buick’s ride and handling traits, it’s with a somewhat slow variable-effort steering system that doesn’t quite match up with the otherwise deftly tuned mechanicals.

Final Impressions - Find the best Buick deals!

If you want a 2020 Buick Regal, you’d better act fast. As this review is published, fewer than 85 of them remain in stock within 2,000 miles of Los Angeles. Naturally, big discounts are available, Buick offering a $4,250 cash rebate on top of employee pricing that already reduces the price of the car by thousands of dollars.

Should you buy one the last Buick Regals remaining in stock? And perhaps one of the last cars to wear a Buick nameplate? 

If you value engaging driving dynamics, exceptional utility, and owning a rare car that few other people own, then grab a Regal while you can. And if the TourX wagon isn’t to your liking, the Regal Sportback offers nearly as much utility in what many people might think is a more appealing package.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals. This review is based on impressions of a 2018 Regal TourX model. Buick has made no significant changes to the vehicle since that time.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2020 J.D. Power

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