2012 Buick Regal GS Gets Great Reviews

General Motors now has a truly global product development organization. The Buick Regal GS is the latest vehicle.  Ballas Buick GMC is proud to offer the 2112 Buick Regal and we are excited about this product.  Stop by to see us.   

2012 Buick Regal GS Buttons2012 Buick Regal GS Driving2012 Buick Regal GS Rear Seating

The GS treatment polishes over our complaints about the Regal 2.0T. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder seems to breathe more freely in this high-output configuration and suffers less from turbo lag, though the moment’s hesitation off the line and a faint whistling keep it from quite matching the Audi A4’s excellent four-cylinder. The GS has some of the sharpest steering I’ve experienced in a front-wheel-drive car, and despite the extra power, doesn’t suffer from much torque steer. It dives into corners with almost unsettling quickness and exhibits very little body roll, especially when the dampers are in “GS” mode. The firm ride, progressive brake pedal, and slick manual shifter all further the impression that the Regal is a well thought out European sedan. And unlike the imported Holdens and Opels of yore, the Regal doesn’t have a bland exterior or a confounding interior. The latter does suffer from having too many center-console buttons but this, again, reflects the car’s age more than its origin. Some will continue to question the decision to forgo the Insignia OPC’s turbo V-6 and all-wheel drive. I actually drove that car and find this setup much lighter and more responsive feeling.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor


Most of my life I’ve associated Buick with my grandmother. It’s all she has ever owned. Then my brother bought one, but it did not change my mind; he always buys old-lady cars. Then Buick showed up at the magazine’s offices with the Regal GS, and I went outside with the staff for the walkaround of the car with the chief engineer and the PR guy. My first impression was, wow, this is a Buick? It looked so nice, with its carbon metallic paint glistening in the sun. When I drove it, it seemed like a menagerie of features from competitors. Some of the interior controls reminded me of Audi. The information toggle mouse is like the ones Mercedes uses, and the powertrain, right down to the whistle in the turbo, is pure Saab. Interior styling reflects Hyundai. All in all, the car is far better to drive than any other Buick I’ve ever been in. I’d probably buy it before its Asian competitors, but it’s a hard sell against the European lineup.

Kelly Murphy, Creative Director


The Regal GS is without question the best Buick I’ve ever driven. The clutch and gearshifter on the manual transmission are perfectly matched, the steering is quick and accurate, the chassis is well-balanced, and the 270-hp turbocharged four-cylinder manages to add some dynamism that’s missing from the other Regal models. Not surprisingly, since the Regal is based on the Opel Insignia, it drives much more like a European car than a traditional American car — or at least a traditional American Buick. I’m also a fan of the styling of the Regal. Every time I see one in traffic it catches my eye — it’s not beautiful, but it has very pleasing lines that give it a unique character.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor


I second the positive comments made by my colleagues regarding the dynamic goodness of the Regal GS. Light, direct steering and a supple, responsive chassis combine to make the Regal an effortless yet enjoyable driver. To me, this Buick’s only disappointing characteristic is its manual shifter. It’s light and easy to use but has a somewhat spongy quality that isn’t on par with the rest of this otherwise excellent car.

Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms


My mother, who drives a Buick LeSabre, certainly would not even recognize this car as a Buick. It’s a legitimate, front-wheel-drive sport sedan with very athletic reflexes yet a supple ride and little torque steer. It has a great six-speed manual, with satisfying clutch pedal action and good heel-and-toe placement. The lid for the center console projects up to the left, and gets in the way of your right arm when you’re shifting. There’s a cutout in the lid, but it’s on the right to expose the cup holders; it should be on the left, the way BMW does it. That quibble aside, overall, this is an impressive effort from Buick.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor


An ad for the 1967 Skylark GS400 proclaimed “Your father never told you there’d be Buicks like this.” How very true: my father once told me there were Buicks like that, but as the brand set its sights on aging, semi-affluent buyers, I — like many others my age — assumed the age of the performance Buick had permanently passed.

I’m glad I was wrong. The 2012 Regal GS might not be the hairy, rear-wheel-drive muscle car baby boomers remember, but it isn’t utter heresy, either. It is, after all, one of the first Buicks in eons designed first and foremost to entertain the driver.

Though GM’s turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine is getting on in years, it still manages to deliver a sweltering 270 hp, which is more than enough to move the speedometer into speeding-ticket territory. The chassis tuning, however, is even more impressive — the so-called HiPerStrut does a commendable job of ironing out most torque steer from the car, although torque steer still peeks out from the shadows when you do something stupid — say, mat the throttle midway through a corner. The adaptive dampers make traditional Buick body roll a thing of the past, especially when set in GS mode, and Brembo brakes also offer great stopping power and little fade, although purists may prefer a little additional feedback. I wish the shifter were a little smoother and less rubbery, but these are nitpicks, issues GM could easily resolve down the road.

GM’s true test isn’t if it can build a high-performance Buick — it’s if it can sell it. Judging by the online response to this car over the past several months, it seems many buyers — especially in the younger, affluent bracket Buick’s targeting — aren’t quite ready to open their minds to such an idea. That’s too bad, because the Regal GS costs about the same as both the Volkswagen CC and Acura TL yet is undoubtedly the most fun of the three.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor


The GS transforms the capable but slightly bland Regal into something special.

The clutch is heavy but precise. The gears are well-spaced and the shifter is quite accurate, and the act of driving this car, slow or fast, is easy. It’s a pleasant place to sit, because the seats are extremely well bolstered; the car is comfortable (this is, after all, a Buick), and highway cruising is calming.

This Regal has another trick up its sleeve: push the GS button (I call it “hyperspace control”), and the car turns everything up a notch. Now, it’s eminently capable, efficient and quick, a true sleeper car. I’m sure the line of cars I passed on the freeway this morning weren’t expecting to get carved up by a Buick. And letting the driver hear plenty of turbo whistle instead of tuning it out? Bravo, GM.

GMC Sierra Used To Address Exotic Animals Loose In Ohio

Did you see this? 

Exotic animals were running loose in Ohio this morning.  Crazy, right?  Interesting to us here at Ballas was that they used a GMC Sierra in the culling of the animals by county Emergency Management personnel.  You might not need an Acadia to round up your cheetah, but you definately need it to round up your kids, gear and dogs.   Give us a call (419.535.1000) or send us a message to test drive the popular GMC Sierra.  Or you can watch a demo of the vehicle here.

 

GMC Sierra used by Emergency Management used in the culling of loose exotic animals in Ohio.

 

 

 

(CNN) — Officials in Muskingham County closed schools as sheriff’s deputies equipped with night vision attempted to hunt down dozens of exotic animals, including bears, lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes and camels, who are on the prowl in eastern Ohio following the death of the man at the farm where they lived.

“Deputies are currently patrolling the area in pickup trucks, armed with shotguns,” Sheriff Matt Lutz said in a statement. “There are still thought to be several dangerous animals on the loose, creating a public safety threat.”

Bears and wolves were spotted along I-70.

Area residents are being advised to stay inside until the dangerous animals are rounded up or killed.

Terry Thompson, the owner of the land and animals, was found dead on the scene outside the home, according to Lutz, who didn’t elaborate, Thompson was recently released from prison for an unknown crime.

In 2005, Thompson was sentenced to six months of house arrest and fined him $2,870 for a conviction on abuse of animals.

Some 48 animals had been freed, authorities said, with about two dozen shot dead by deputies.

The Columbus Zoo, The Wilds, a safari-themed park, and Ohio State Police have responded to the incident, according to state police.

 

Good Review for Ballas Sales

Below is a review of Ballas Buick GMC on Yelp.com.  Ballas Buick GMC; located in Toledo, OH; is pleased to serve our customers.  If you are in the market for a new or “new to you” vehicle you can browse our inventory 24-7.   
 
From  RobGin B.  in Tecumseh, MI

10/12/2011

“Wow, what an amazing experience!  My wife and I were greeted immediately upon browsing the parking lot by a salesman (as could be expected), but little did we know how well we would be treated.  Harvey listened carefully and patiently and took into consideration every concern we had, devoting all of his attention to us.  We never once felt we were being taken advantage of, in fact on the contrary, it was like buying a car from a good friend.  We felt we were paying a fair price for a good car, one we had our hearts set on, and we love it!  With Harvey in the sales position and Andy behind the scenes working the papers (and even staying a bit late!), we were able to negotiate the exchange of our two cars (both not yet paid for, and one with serious mechanical problems), with one very exquisite vehicle – which was exactly the goal we set out to accomplish. This was absolutely no small feat, but this exemplary team of two made sure it happened.  We highly recommend stopping in to see Harvey and Andy for your next vehicle purchase.”

Note from Ballas: 
Say hello to our sales staff by calling 419.535.1000.  You can view our inventory online.  Or you can calculate your payments here.   Our staff is ready to deal!  Contact us here. 

Want to review Ballas Buick GMC?  You can do so here:
Yelp.com   |   Dealerrater.com   |   Google.com

Verano pricing announced at $23,470

 Verano pricing announced at $23,470

 

DETROIT – The all-new 2012 Buick Verano luxury sedan, which goes on sale later this year, will have a starting price of $23,470 including $885 in destination charges.

The Verano offers more passenger and cargo volume than the Acura TSX sedan or Lexus IS 250.

“Verano is a great new addition to Buick because it expands the brand’s reach,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing. “With Verano, we’re inviting new customers into the Buick family, giving us the opportunity and privilege of building longtime Buick loyalty.”  Jeff Robinson, Ballas New Sales Manager, said “We are seeing quite a bit of excitement from our customers about the Verano’s style.  We are seeing even more excitement about the affordable price.”  You can inquire more about the Verano by clicking here.  

Verano is Buick’s third all-new model in the past three years and the first in the compact segment, delivering the premium features and luxury characteristics that have helped make Buick one of the fastest-growing automotive brands in North America.

The car will be offered in three models, with the top model carrying a suggested retail price of $26,850, including destination charge. All models are powered by a fuel-efficient 2.4L four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers 180 hp at 6,700 rpm with 171 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,900 rpm.

The Verano’s exterior is distinguished by sleek lines, blue translucent projector beam headlamps and standard fog lamps and 18-inch multi-spoke, forged alloy, silver-finish wheels, with a premium 18-inch split spoke wheel design available on certain models.  You can also customize the look of your car with personal touches from the Ballas Pro-Shop

The Verano interior is designed for exceptional seat comfort and support, and contains Buick’s signature acoustic refinement and premium soft-touch materials inspired by the award-winning Buick LaCrosse. A dozen noise-reducing and noise-cancelling technologies are used in more than 50 areas of Verano’s body structure for increased cabin isolation and quietness.

“Rich leather appointments, warm wood tones, metallic accents, soft ambient lighting and intelligent technologies make the cabin an inviting environment,” said David Lyon, executive director of Verano’s design.

Verano standard features include leatherette seating, high-resolution 7-inch diagonal LED backlit color-touch radio display with IntelliLink technology and 10 standard air bags.    Automatic climate control, remote start, power windows and steering wheel radio controls are also standard.  “Quality is always at the top of the list for GM products.  The Verano is no expectation”, says Dave Shields the Ballas Service Manager.  He continued, “we are here to keep your vehicle operating at peak performance.  Our maintenance menus and convenience will show how Ballas truly is an exceptional dealership.”   

The up-level model features the same leather materials used in the LaCrosse.  The Verano’s seat heaters automatically activate in temperatures below 45 F (7 C) when using the remote start function, along with rear defogger on all models and heated outside mirrors.  Verano also features an available heated steering wheel – an option not found vehicles like the Lexus IS250 or Infiniti G25. Push-button engine start is available on lower-level models, and is standard on the up-level model.

The standard all-new Buick IntelliLink system uses Bluetooth or USB to connect a driver’s smartphone to the touch-screen display radio. IntelliLink expands on Buick’s current Bluetooth and USB capabilities to allow smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA® Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®. Full functionality requires a compatible Smartphone and data plan rates apply. 

In addition to Buick IntelliLink, a nine-speaker Bose sound system specifically engineered for the Verano’s interior is available on all trim levels.

About Buick
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan and highly anticipated all-new 2012 Buick Verano sedan. Buick is one of the fastest growing majors in the U.S. and remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth.

Ballas Buick-GMC has been a fixture in the Toledo business community since 1970.  Ballas earned the coveted General Motor’s “Mark of Excellence” award in 2009 and 2010 (for business excellence).  Mrs. Ballas represents a very small minority of female dealership owners which is less than 1% nationally.  She also serves on the National Dealer Council for the Buick GMC Division of General Motors with 21 other dealers from across the nation representing all five regions of the U.S.

 

# # #

What Happens After The Accident

Many of us wonder what were to happen if we were involved in an auto accident.  Sometimes knowing ahead of time what to expect makes a stressful situation easier to handle.  This will walk you through some of the steps you and your car will go through when it requires body work. 

Usually when you have been in an accident you are rattled and not thinking clearly.  That’s why it’s a good idea to print the Ballas Accident Assistance Guide and keep it in your car.  If you should get into an accident, you will have this informational guide at your fingertips.  It helps you thorough the initial shock, what to say, not say and how to interact with others involved in the accident, including the police.

Your first decision is if you wish to call your insurance company to report the accident and damage.  Some decide to fix damage done to their vehicle and pay for it out of pocket.  This will depend on your coverage, deductible or previous claims. 

Should you decide to call your insurance company, they may send their own inspector to assess damage done to your vehicle or they may direct you to a Collision Center to have an estimate done through the Collision Center.  You have the right to select where to have work done to your vehicle.   Whether your insurance company or a Collision Center writes the estimate, your car will be looked at for damage.  This is a good time to point out areas of concern you may have so you can be assured all damaged has been viewed and documented. 

If your vehicle is drivable, you may stop in at anytime during business hours to obtain an estimate.  Ballas will take the time to thoroughly go over your vehicle.  If your vehicle is not drivable, Ballas will assess the damage and call you after our evaluation is completed. Once Ballas has your approval to begin work, we order parts and schedule the repairs.

Ordering the parts to repair your vehicle can sometimes be a tricky process. Rest assured, Ballas handles all those details.  It’s not often, but it sometimes happens; a part is on back order and will require a longer than usual wait time for the part to be shipped to Ballas.  Our Collision Center staff will keep you up to date on the status of your parts, should there be a back order.  We understand it can be frustrating to feel left in the dark. 

Once all the parts are available, your car will be assigned to a body technician.  This Ballas employee has been factory trained and has years of experience.  The same technician will see your vehicle’s repair through from beginning to end.  Your vehicle is also logged in our system with its “Promised Delivery Date”.  Our Collision Center Manager and the Production Manager are tracking the progress of your vehicle, at every part of the process.  This is to ensure your vehicle will be ready when we said it would.  Should your vehicle require additional repairs or the estimated time will take longer than originally thought, you will be made aware.  It is unusual for this to happen.

Your body technician will disassemble your vehicle and inspect for further damage.  The technician will then begin the needed repairs to get you back on the road. Ballas has a state-of-the-art collision center with highly complex equipment specific to repairing body damage. For example, any vehicles with a damaged frame or uni-body is placed in a computerized, laser guided machine that brings the vehicle back into factory tolerances.

After repair, if needed, your vehicle is sent to our paint shop.  From there, it is given back to your assigned body technician for re-assembly and final touches.  Vehicles requiring service repairs are sent to service to be repaired by a certified service technician.  Much like the body technicians, the service technicians are trained by the factory and have many years of experience.  At this time your vehicle is  test driven.  When your repair is complete, the vehicle is vacuumed and the windows are cleaned. Now is the best part of the process-  Ballas calls you to tell you your vehicle is ready to go home. 

Ballas offers attention to detail, courtesy, prompt service, advanced equipment, trained technicians, tracking systems and works with most insurance companies.  Ballas is doing business with integrity.  We are eager to prove it to you.  Discover for yourself, how Ballas is unparalleled in the extraordinary services we offer.  

Be safe out there!

Ballas Buick-GMC Expands

Ballas Buick GMC expands

Written by Duane Ramsey | | news@toledofreepress.com

Ballas Buick GMC is expanding and remodeling its facility to create a better experience for customers and to comply with General Motors’ new image for its dealerships.

“We are excited about making it a more premium experience for the customer,” said Marianne Ballas, owner of Ballas Buick GMC. “The expansion is a refinement to improve the customer experience to what they want and deserve.”

Construction has begun on the expansion and remodeling project at Ballas, which is scheduled for completion in late December. Ballas said the dealership plans to hold an open house in early 2012 depending upon its completion.

The first phase of construction will add two new-car bays to the east side of the dealership for new-car delivery. It will give the front façade a complete facelift to comply with GM’s standards for Buick GMC dealerships in the U.S.

The second phase will involve enclosing the service lane and adding a quick lube center. Customers will drive inside for all service and not have to deal with poor weather conditions.

Marianne Ballas and Todd Hehl

Construction is being done by union workers under the management of Rudolph|Libbe Inc.

“Choosing to do business with a local company and using union contractors was an important component to our construction plans,” said Todd Hehl, general manager of Ballas Buick-GMC.

During construction, it will be business as usual with little change to the customer experience, said Hehl, who has served as general manager for seven of his 23 years at the dealership.

“Construction means that business is good and we are in a growth mode,” Ballas said.

She reported the dealership has experienced 20 consecutive months of increases in sales compared to the previous year.

“People are moving back to American-made premium products and Buick is the fastest growing brand in America,” Ballas said.

Ballas said she is excited about new models and technology being developed by Buick and GMC.

The new E-assist hybrid technology works off a six-speed transmission being built at the GM Powertrain plant in Toledo. When the car slows down, it is powered by an ion battery, she said.

“I call it a hybrid of a hybrid that will be available in Regal and LaCrosse models. It increases fuel economy by 25 percent,” Ballas said.

Buick’s new models include the Baby Enclave mini-crossover, Verano luxury compact car and the Regal Grand Sport performance car.

“The car business is an exciting and wonderful business but it comes with a lot of risk,” Ballas said.

The Ballas dealership has been a fixture in the Toledo community since it was established in 1970 by George Ballas. Marianne has worked at the dealership since 1971 and celebrated her 40th anniversary there Aug. 19.

“George was my mentor long before we were married. I learned everything about life, details in business and philanthropy from George,” she said.

She has served as owner of the dealership since George passed away in 2002, although her transition to owner wasn’t automatic. She attended GM’s dealer candidate school before he died.

Following his death, she operated the business for 18 months and earned GM’s approval to own it. She obtained financing to buy the dealer franchise and the property it occupies from his estate. Her two sons, Tim and Jeff Robinson who grew up in the business, serve as sales managers at the dealership. They have given her five beautiful grandchildren as well, Ballas said.

Ballas will serve as chairperson of the 2012 Auto Show Gala in January which is expected to surpass $1 million in contributions to local charities since it began nine years ago.

“I believe that we have an obligation to give back to the community,” Ballas said.

Her dealership is participating in Autos for Athletics, an initiative by Sylvania area auto dealers to raise funds to build and improve athletic facilities in the Sylvania School District. For every customer who purchases or leases a vehicle or has service performed before Nov. 25, it will make a contribution to the Sylvania Athletic Foundation’s “Champions Campaign.”

Buick Mini-Enclave

Looks like GM will be offering a mini Buick Enclave instead of the Chevrolet Orlando crossover in the U.S. During a CBS interview with GM’s main designer, Ed Welburn, we caught a glimpse footage of a mini SUV in the making. We are pretty sure that is not the the Orlando because GM is having it only available in Canada. So, we’re thinking a possibility of a mini Buick Enclave instead.

From the facial structure of the molding, its look like that this mini SUV crossover will be based on an Aveo platform. Earlier news from the Associated Press pointed out that Buick will produce an Aveo-based crossover in Orion Township, Michigan, and this may be it.

Again, from the model clay and the Associated Press’ report, we are about 80% sure that this will be the next mini Buick Enclave. But whatever it soon to be, it does look very compact and aerodynamic in its form.

If you are one of those who dislike the Buick Enclave because of its bulkiness, then this new mini Buick Enclave may just be the right size for you. Like the Aveo-based vehicles, you can expect this new mini Buick Enclave will be a lot more fuel efficient as well. We expect fuel economy would be around a combined 32 miles per gallon.

This is very exciting news for those who would like to own a mini SUV. We can expect to see this mini Buick Enclave by 2012. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you updated.

Update on mini Buick Enclave as of August 6, 2011:

Here are some new rendering photos of what the new 2012 mini Buick Enclave would look like. The pictures below came from a Chinese website auto163.com. According to the website, we will get to see the mini Buick Enclave concept by the end of this year and it is likely to hit the market in mid 2012.

The mini Buick Enclave will be built on the same platform as the Opel Astra, which is already produced in China for the Buick Excell and the Chevrolet Cruze. Whether it will be elsewhere in the world is another question. Currently, Buick would like to get its foot in the Chinese market, and it has been building vehicles for this market first as we have seen in the Buick LaCrosse and Regal.

Anyhow, these photos are rendered from the first image that we caught in the NBC video of what we think will be the new mini Buick crossover. Stay tuned…

 

Buick Regal: #1 for 2011

Buick Regal Review – What the Auto Press Says

The 2011 Buick Regal ranks 1 out of 21 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 27 published reviews and test drives of the Buick Regal, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The 2011 Buick Regal offers midsize sedan buyers a sporty option that can compete with some upscale models.

Buick has been undergoing a renaissance lately, with the redesigned LaCrosse bowing to almost-unequivocal reviewer praise last year. Now, the 2011 Buick Regal is hitting the market, and while it competes for near-luxury buyers with the LaCrosse, reviewers say it’s aiming for a very different segment of that market: drivers who like a little sport in their sedans.

While the LaCrosse appeals to buyers who want a quiet touring car, Autoblog says, “For the first time in its history, the Regal is truly worthy of being called a sports sedan.”  Not only that, Autoblog, like other reviewers, argues that the Regal can compete with upscale midsize sport sedans like the Acura TSX and Audi A4.

While most critics assert that the Regal lives up to its sporting pretensions, others question if the Buick brand, which is historically known for sedans that handle like yachts and are popular with the early-bird special crowd, is strong enough to pull buyers over from imports. Still, reviewers say that even though the Buick brand may not be strong enough to pull buyers in, overlooking the Regal would be a mistake.

Among midsize cars, the Regal shines with performance that balances fuel economy and power, handling and ride comfort.  Reviewers are impressed with the handsome exterior and comfortable interior. All in all, if you’re shopping midsize sedans, reviewers say that the Regal should be on your short list.

For a more in-depth look at the Regal, check out our Regal video.

Details: Buick Regal

The Buick Regal is an all-new model for 2011.  For its initial rollout, the Regal is available only in its top-of-the-line CXL trim; next year the base CX and middle CXS trims will be available. The Regal enters the market with a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine, but a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder will be available in late summer 2010. A performance tuned GS model will be available next year. The Regal is based on the Opel Insignia (which is available only in Europe) and shares some components with the well-liked Buick LaCrosse.  However, the Regal is smaller and sportier than the LaCrosse.

  • “What it is, it turns out, is a very well tuned, near-luxury sport sedan that, in terms of sheer driving pleasure, surpasses anything else in its class made in Detroit these days, not to mention imports like the Acura TSX and the Lexus ES350.”–Automobile Magazine
  • “Put another way: If you like your old Buick, this ain’t it. But if you like the kind of work Acura has done with the TSX, the all-new Regal will be a pleasant surprise.”–AutoWeek
  • “Like the Buick LaCrosse, the Regal is far removed from the floaty-boat reputation that has cursed the brand, along with an aging demographic that Buick is desperate to change. The Regal now looks and performs in a class-competitive manner. “–Car and Driver
  • “The $26,995 Regal CSX is sleek, stylish and comprehensively equipped, with suavely European road manners. The $29,495 Regal Turbo is a wonderfully subversive sport sedan whose punchy, 220-hp blown Ecotec four and supple, yet buttoned-down, chassis puts Acura’s homely TSX on notice, and seriously makes you wonder whether an Audi A4 is really worth the money.”–Motor Trend
  • “Buick hopes customers looking at an Acura TSX, Lexus IS or an Infiniti G37 will consider the Regal. I think that’s optimistic but not out of the question, though it will take a while.”–Chicago Tribune
  • “The Regal is a good-looking, excellent-handling midsize sedan that packs a lot of content for its price, with just a few drawbacks.”–Cars.com
  • “So let’s see what we have here; A gorgeous, fun-to-drive, quick, comfortable, well-equipped American sedan built with the quality of its German competitors… and it’s a Buick. Who knew?”–Jalopnik
  • “On paper, the Regal Turbo’s just-under $30k price point puts it in competition with the base, four-cylinder TSX while offering power closer to the $35k TSX V6. “–The Truth About Cars

Regal Performance – 9.0 (Excellent)

Car reviewers are impressed with how the 2011 Buick Regal performance. “General Motors engineers put their sport sedan right in the sweet spot,” says AutoWeek “With plenty of nimble handling and good turbo power (220 hp, 258 lb-ft, 7.5-second 0-60 mph), combined with a reasonably quiet and relatively smooth ride.” Read More

Regal Exterior – 9.2 (Excellent)

Most reviewers think that the Buick Regal is a stylish sedan that easily keeps pace with the competition in the looks department. Motor Trend calls the Regal “a terrific-looking car: modern, characterful, sporty, with great stance and artfully sculpted sheetmetal.” Read More

Regal Interior – 9.0 (Excellent)

Reviewers don’t have trouble finding nice things to say about the 2011 Buick Regal’s interior. Autoblog says, “Like its exterior, the Regal’s cabin is also engaging.” That engaging cabin features comfortable seats, high-quality materials, zen-like quietness and a long list of available features. Read More

Regal Safety – 10.0 (Excellent)

Though the federal government hasn’t crash-tested the 2011 Buick Regal yet, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a “Top Safety Pick.” Read More

Regal Reliability – 9.0 (Excellent)

The 2011 Buick Regal reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power’s automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2011 Buick Regal is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/100,000 powertrain warranty. Read More

Review Last Updated: 9/22/11

2012 Buick Verano Official Photos and Info

2012 Buick Verano Official Photos and Info – Auto Shows

A Buick that’s not as big as a Buick.

BY JUSTIN BERKOWITZ, PHOTOGRAPHY BY PATRICK M. HOEY AND THE MANUFACTURER
January 2011

2012 Buick Verano Official Photos and Info

Buick executives have to be pretty happy with 2010. The brand had its highest sales since 2007, even outselling Cadillac. Now, executives think the brand is ready for a small car, and dealers who no longer have Pontiacs to peddle seemingly are clamoring for such a vehicle. Enter the 2012 Verano, which is debuting at the 2011 Detroit auto show and will slot below the Regal in the Buick lineup.

Cruzin’ for a Reusin’

Based on the Chevy Cruze, the Verano is longer (by 2.9 inches), slightly taller (0.3), and a bit wider (0.8) than that car. The styling differences between the two are more dramatic. The Verano’s look borrows from other Buicks, with a front end very much like the Regal’s. On the side, a crease follows the rocker panel before sweeping up ahead of the rear wheel arch—it’s essentially a reverse of a similar line on the Regal—and is a very sophisticated and eye-catching complement to the profile. The rear of the Verano, where taillights are topped with chrome “eyebrows,” is its least-attractive angle. It is reminiscent of many small sedans sold in China, and that’s not an accident. This car was designed largely with that market in mind, and has already been on sale there for nearly a year, badged as the Excelle GT.

More differentiation between the Buick and the Chevy come from what GM says it has done to make the Verano a luxury car, including increased sound-deadening measures and a total interior makeover. Buick is hot to trot for the fit and finish in this little car—rightfully so from what we experienced at a brief preview. The optional leather seats are wrapped in high-quality hides similar to those in the LaCrosse, the wood trim is real and looks it, and the interior panels fit together nicely. We’ll make a more definitive judgment when the car actually goes on sale here and we can slide behind the wheel.

The materials needed for these refinements, as well as the extra kit that the Verano will carry—more on that in a moment—add up to a curb weight that Buick estimates will be 100 to 200 pounds more than the 3206 of the Cruze LTZ we recently tested.

To motivate that added mass, the Verano gets GM’s direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which also serves in the base versions of the Regal and LaCrosse. Although it makes 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque in the bigger cars, GM estimates the four will make 177 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque in the Verano. The engine isn’t available in the Cruze, which instead offers 1.8-liter naturally aspirated and 1.4-liter turbocharged fours; both make 138 hp. Routing its power through a six-speed automatic and to the front wheels, Buick says the Verano’s four needs about eight seconds to accelerate the car to 60 mph, and will return an EPA-estimated 31 mpg on the highway. Those figures are a bit disappointing, as the much bigger and slightly heavier four-cylinder Chevy Malibu delivers a similar 8.6-second 0-to-60-mph run and an EPA-rated 33 mpg on the highway.

In case you want a Verano but don’t fancy being dusted by a Mazda 3 in a straight line, Buick promises a hotter GS version will launch in late 2011, with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine—evolved from the 220-hp 2.0-liter turbo in the Regal Turbo—and an available six-speed manual transmission. Such a powertrain seems like a natural fit for the on-again, off-again Cruze SS, but GM’s lips are sealed on that matter.

A Slate of Luxe Features

Buick says the Verano is aimed at cars like the Audi A3, Volvo S40, and Lexus IS250—the latter being the only one of the three with even slightly impressive sales numbers. In accordance with this mission, a full slate of luxury features will be available. Buyers will be able to opt for heated seats in the front and rear, a heated steering wheel, a touch-screen navigation system, dual-zone climate control, and keyless ignition.

The new baby Buick is set to reach dealers in the fall of 2011. Although pricing hasn’t been announced, we’re expecting a base-price range of roughly $22,000 to $27,000. (The Cruze starts at just under $17K for a base model and ranges up to $27K fully loaded.) With those prices, it’s going to face tremendous competition on all sides: Although the Verano’s sticker should undercut the IS250’s by thousands, the Lexus touts a prestigious badge and generously subsidized leases. Expect Verano buyers also to be tempted by the showroom-sharing Regal, as well as bigger, more-powerful, and decently equipped mainstream models like the Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord. But if 2010 showed us anything about Buick, it’s that the brand is no longer afraid of asserting itself.