There’s a freedom inherent in modest expectations. When not much
is expected, nobody cares, or even notices, if you flout convention.
That allowed Buick to take a flyer with the 2018 Buick Regal TourX
sport wagon, a handsome and practical vehicle that deserves to
divert a few buyers from the auto industry’s headlong rush to all
shapes and sizes of SUVs.
the TourX a crossover, but that’s the marketing department
talking: It’s really a sporty Euro-style station wagon that
delivers as much passenger and cargo space as many small SUVs in an
elegant package that’s easier to park.
If you didn’t
bring your decoder ring to class today, "crossover" is a
term automakers invented for vehicles that look like SUVs, but
without much towing or offroad ability. They get better fuel economy
and frequently have a smoother ride, because they aren’t loaded
down with extra gear for fording streams and hauling horses.
midsize crossovers are the hottest part of the car market, while you
can’t give a station wagon away unless it’s from a European
brand or pumped up for SUV-ish looks.
Regal TourX Essence AWD
five-passenger sport wagon
tested: $38,835 (excluding destination charge)
out of four stars
buy: Looks, room, value, practicality
Road noise, low-rpm engine vibration, wireless charging not
compatible with iPhones
American as forgetting where your voting precinct is, but the TourX
is built in Germany, at a plant General Motors owned before selling
its European operations to France’s Peugeot-Citroen last year. It
shares its architecture with GM cars like the Buick LaCrosse and
Chevrolet Malibu. All its parts come from the GM bin, so service won’t
be an issue, and it offers the same features as GM’s other brands.
have a 250-hp 2.0L four-cylinder turbo engine, all-wheel drive and
an eight-speed automatic transmission.
competes with AWD wagons and lowered SUVs like the Audi A4 Allroad,
BMW 330i xDrive wagon, Subaru Outback, Mercedes E400 wagon and Volvo
at $29,070. All prices exclude destination charges. I tested a
nicely equipped TourX Essence, the highest trim level. It had Bose
audio, heated steering wheel and front seats, a spacious cargo area,
blind spot and cross-traffic alerts, remote start, navigation, voice
recognition, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, white frost tricoat metallic paint, big
sunroof and more.
My test car
stickered at $38,835. Its value, features and performance compare
well, and it offers more room than most competitors.
transmission, all-wheel-drive models)
Essence AWD: $35,020
Allroad 2.0T Premium Plus: $44,500
xDrive Sport Wagon: $44,650
4Matic wagon: $63,050
3.6R Touring: $38,690
Volvo V90 T6
AWD R-Design: $55,950
sales are circling the drain, and Buick’s SUV lineup is strong and
growing. Nobody expected it to sell many Regals, so the brand rolled
the dice on a couple of unusual body styles, the TourX wagon and its
stablemate the fastback Regal Sportback.
about an inch to the TourX’s ride height and put cladding around
the wheel wells, but the wagon remains a convenient height that
should be easy for anybody from little kids to the elderly to enter
and exit. The liftover into the cargo area is similarly convenient.
At 32.7 cubic feet, there’s more space behind the rear seat than
in the Audi A4 Allroad, 330i wagon and Volvo V90.
and E400 both have bigger cargo capacities, at 35.5 and 35 cubic
feet, respectively. The E400 is at best a marginal competitor,
though. While it’s about the same size as the TourX, E400 prices
start at $63,050, and it has a 329-hp twin-turbo V6. The Subaru is
an outlier in the other direction, a mass-market vehicle competing
with luxury brands.
passenger compartment is comfortable and accommodating. At 99.9
cubic feet, it’s considerably larger than the Audi, and a hair
bigger than the BMW, Mercedes and Volvo.
the space race in both cases.
offers all the usual comfort, convenience features and driver aids.
Check virtually every box on the order form and a loaded TourX costs
thousands less than a comparably equipped A4 Allroad, 330i xDrive
wagon, E400 and V90.
The TourX was
surprisingly noisy on the road. It was supposed to use an innovative
new Continental tire with an inner layer of foam to reduce road
noise, but the tire – called ContiSilent – was in short supply
when production began. Front-wheel drive Regal Sportbacks, which are
expected to outsell the TourX, got ContiSilents from the beginning
built, including the TourX and upcoming performance GS, should soon
come with ContiSilents, which reduce interior noise by a full 2dB
compared to the Continental ProContact tires fitted to the first few
hundred cars shipped to the U.S.
recommend waiting to buy a TourX ‘til the right tires are
available, or at least taking a long test drive in a Sportback with
ContiSilents so you know the louder interior won’t bother you.
phone charger in the center console is another case of unfortunate
timing. It’s a first-generation charger that doesn’t work with
the wireless charging Apple finally added to the iPhone 8 and X. If
you’re like me and usually plug your iPhone in to use Apple
CarPlay, that won’t bother you, but the second-gen charger should
be available in Regals built sometime this year. Ask your dealer,
and verify the answer during your test drive.
turbocharged 16-valve 4-cyl.
Power: 250 @
5,500 hp rpm; 295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-4,000 rpm
assembled: Rüsselsheim, Germany
turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s 250 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque
compare well to the Allroad, 330i and Outback. The pricier V90 and
E400 both have more power, but the TourX’s acceleration and
highway cruising are more than satisfying.
The Buick is
the lightest vehicle in the group, which pays off in acceleration
and handling. The TourX’s steering is responsive and its
suspension absorbs bumps and holds fast curves comfortably.
EPA fuel economy rating is OK: 21 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway
and 24 combined. The key combined figure is 2 mpg less than the 330i
xDrive, 1 mpg less than the Allroad and V90, 3 mpg better than the
E400. The Outback alone in the group recommends regular gasoline.
According to EPA projections, that will make it the least expensive
to run, despite a combined rating of 22 mpg.
EPA fuel economy ratings
transmission, all-wheel-drive models)
Essence AWD: 21 mpg city/29 highway/24 combined. Premium gasoline
Allroad 2.0T Premium Plus: 22/30/25. Premium gasoline
xDrive Sport Wagon: 23/33/26. Premium gasoline
4Matic wagon: 19/25/21. Premium gasoline
3.6R Touring: 20/27/22. Regular gasoline
Volvo V90 T6
AWD R-Design: 22/31/25. Premium gasoline
You just know
somebody at GM headquarters was humming Kris Kristofferson’s
lyric, "Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to
lose," when Buick responded to sport sedans’ slide toward
oblivion with the TourX wagon. It’s a good car and a welcome
departure from the SUVs flooding the market.
It deserves a
look from anybody who wants a sporty and practical vehicle that
looks great in the driveway and stands out from the crowd.
on vehicle tested
equipment: Front- and rear-seat side air bags; front knee air bags;
curtain air bags; fog lights; LED daytime running lights; automatic
headlights; rear vision camera; tire sealant and inflator kit; power
front seats; heated steering wheel; heated front seats; memory for
driver settings; power windows, locks and side mirrors; push-button
start; 40/20/40 split folding rear seat; dual zone climate control;
auto dimming rearview mirror; leather seats; leather wrapped
steering wheel; manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel; noise
control system; 18-inch aluminum wheels; power tailgate; LED
taillights; remote start; USB port; two charging USB ports; XM
satellite radio trial period; OnStar; Apple CarPlay; Android Auto;
8.0-inch touch screen; voice recognition; Bluetooth phone and audio
compatible; 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
Navigation, Bose audio; HD radio; wireless charging; LED headlights;
cornering lights; rear park assist; cross traffic and blind spot
alert; memory for driver settings; white frost metallic tricoat