If the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD were an item on a restaurant menu, it would be the fettuccine alfredo.
Despite ingredients that should deliver a spicy meatball, the experience is flavorful but bland compared to some of its competitors like the Acura TSX, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Buick Regal GS AWD||$40,195||$44,480||259 / 295|
|EPA MPG||As Tested MPG||Curb Weight LBS|
|19 / 27 / 22||N/A||3,981|
Billed as a sport sedan, it nevertheless embraces the Buick heritage of delivering comfortable near-luxury cars for older buyers who either cannot afford, or don’t want to seem ostentatious in, a Cadillac or other luxury car. It does everything it’s supposed to and does much of it quite well. But it does so in an unexciting, mostly unobtrusive manner, more like a Lexus than a BMW or Audi. You’d buy the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD more for its tidy package, quiet competence and features than road running sizzle.
The GS is classified as a mid-size, though just barely. At 15 feet 10 inches long with 111 cubic feet of interior volume, it’s just a couple of cubic feet into the classification, so it feels like a compact. That’s verified by outboard back seats that are tight on head and knee room, a departure from some other Buick models, which have generous back seat space. In the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD, the center rear seat is impossibly cramped, with a hard cushion and no place to plant the feet because of a big floor hump.
The well finished trunk, at 14 cubic feet, is about average for a mid-size car. Big C-hinges are protected to avoid damaging luggage and to save weight and space and there’s no spare wheel. A pump with sealant substitutes, but if you have a blowout you’ll have to punch the button on the OnStar communications system, which will get you roadside service.
Up front, the seats are middling hard for good support and well bolstered to hold the torso in corners, as you might expect in a sports sedan. The flat bottom steering wheel tilts and telescopes and, with the eight-way power seat, offers enough adjustments to accommodate almost anybody.
The sporting ingredients are extensive. Motivation is provided by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that uses a turbocharger to deliver a healthy 259 horsepower, enough to get the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD to 60 miles an hour in less than seven seconds. That acceleration is not outstanding but enough so that you won’t feel deprived in stoplight sprints. The power gets to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Buick doesn’t emphasize it, but the transmission can be shifted manually, though there are no shift paddles on the steering wheel. A six-speed manual gearbox also is available but not likely to find favor with many traditional Buick buyers.
Different driving modes can be selected by the driver, ranging from standard to sport to the high-performance GS mode, which increases steering effort and feedback along with stiffening shock absorber settings for reduced body roll. It also changes the shift points for the six speed automatic.
In addition to all that, the tested 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD came equipped with optional 20-inch wheels, navigation, adaptive cruise control, forward collision preparation and alert, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure and blind spot warning.
Other equipment included an eight-inch color touch screen with Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system. It includes OnStar communications, Sirius XM satellite radio, AM-FM with high definition (HD) radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a CD player.
Interior ambiance is enhanced by quality materials, good workmanship and decent ergonomics. Power windows roll right down and the seats are genuine leather. Leather also covers the steering wheel and the owner/driver can start the car from elsewhere with the remote control.
Instruments and controls are handy and easy to use. The parking brake is conveniently electric and the sun visors slide on their support rods to block sunlight from the sides.
On the road, the 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD exhibits good manners, tracking true in a straight line and holding good lines around curves without anxiety at higher than posted speeds. Although the electric power steering is a bit short on feel and feedback, handling is enhanced by the GS sport setting along with Buick’s Stabilitrak electronic stability and traction control. With antilock braking and brake assist, stopping is confident.
The EPA’s city/highway/combined fuel economy rating, given the performance level, is a respectable 19/27/22 mpg. The price starts at $40,195 and with a full load of so-called driver confidence options, the test car had a bottom line suggested delivered price of $44,480.