Several clues reveal that the 2018 Buick Regal TourX has its roots out of U.S. The biggest is that the TourX is a station wagon.
Wait. A Buick station wagon? That’s something we’ve not seen since the big Roadmaster of two decades ago.
American buyers, who embraced big station wagons for 50 years after World War II as family haulers, all but abandoned them after the inventions of the minivan, sport utility vehicle, and crossover SUV. Still, a few manufacturers — none of them American — persisted in building wagons, mainly because they are popular in other parts of the world. In Europe, many buyers regard a station wagon as a step up from a traditional sedan, though they too are starting to buy into the allure of crossovers.
Despite the fact that foreign manufacturers — Honda, Mazda, Hyundai and Subaru — tested the U.S. market with wagons, all of them fizzled. Subaru finessed the situation by converting its Legacy wagon into the Outback by jacking it up for better ground clearance and calling it a crossover SUV. Currently, the only automakers that still persist here with wagons are Sweden’s Volvo and Audi’s allroad.
So the Buick Regal TourX comes as something of a surprise, especially following in the tire tracks of the Regal Sportback, a four-door hatchback with fastback styling that resembles the Audi A5 and A7, as well as the new Kia Stinger.
As with many automobiles in an industry that has become globalized, the Regal TourX is a global build. Based on the Opel Insignia, it’s built in Germany with a U.S. engine and a Japanese transmission. Only about a quarter of its components come from the U.S. and Canada.
Nearly 16.5 feet long with streamlined styling, the 2018 Buick TourX displays the modern attributes that could herald a station wagon comeback. It has 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks, which expands to 74 cubic feet if you fold the seatbacks down. With its low profile comes a low lift-over height, which facilitates loading.
It also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which will come in handy in slippery conditions. But don’t think of the TourX as an off-road vehicle. It only offers 5.8 inches of ground clearance, where the Subaru Outback has 8.7 inches.
The Outback is one of only a couple of competitors. It has comparable interior space to the TourX, though it’s a foot shorter. It is also less expensive. The only other competitor is the Volvo V60, which has a new model arriving this year.
Motivating the new TourX is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. In this application, it makes 250 horsepower with 295 lb.-ft. of torque, delivered to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode.
In daily driving, the TourX proves itself to be a responsive companion in traffic, though there’s hesitation off the line because of the stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at stoplights to enhance fuel economy. The city/highway/combined fuel consumption, as rated by the EPA, is 21/29/24 miles to the gallon.
Handling is nearly up to midsize sports sedan standards, with a solid steering feel around corners and good straight-line tracking. The brakes are excellent with a strong pedal feel. One minor drawback: the TourX’s length does require generously sized parking spaces.
The tested TourX Essence was well equipped with a base price of $36,015. With options that included adaptive cruise control, forward pedestrian alert, automatic braking and collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert and park assist, blind-spot warning, premium audio, HD radio, and navigation and infotainment systems, the bottom-line sticker came to $40,950.
2018 BUICK REGAL TOURX ESSENCE
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger AWD station wagon
BASE PRICE___________________ $36,015 (as tested: $40,950)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ DOHC turbocharged 4-cyl. w/DI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 250 at 5500 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 295 at 3000 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 8-speed automatic
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 196.3 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 40 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,745 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 16.9 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway