Review: 2018 Buick Regal TourX
  • Car Review

Review: 2018 Buick Regal TourX

By David Undercoffler | July 6, 2018

Autolist rating: 2/5
But would we buy it? Yes*
Price range: $29,995 - $35,995, including destination but before options

Key takeaways

  • Aimed at pricey European wagons, but Subaru Outback and VW Golf Alltrack are more realistic competitors.
  • Lacks the off-road chops (and ground clearance) of its peers, but it’s a great drive where buyers will actually use it: on the road.
  • Great all-around alternative to crossovers.
  • Not a great value.

What is it?

The Regal is Buick’s long-standing midsize sedan; in 2018, it will get its first-ever variant: the TourX. This Europe-sourced station wagon is similar to its direct competitors, the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

Rugged, all-wheel drive and spacious, wagons like the TourX are for people who want the cargo space and foul-weather prowess of a crossover in a package that has less bulk, more refinement and better handling.

(Buick spins the TourX as also competing with the Audi A4 allroad and Volvo V60, but that’s a stretch and those models cost more anyway.)

The Regal TourX is one of several Regal models in the Buick lineup, (the others are the Sportback and the GS), but the TourX is the only Regal wagon in the U.S. The car is smaller than the land-yacht style Buick LaCrosse sedan.

The TourX has a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

All models of the TourX come standard with permanent all-wheel drive.

What’s good:

TLDR: Looks good, fits lots, drives smooth

Style. Let’s face it: the Europeans know how to design a sexy station wagon. The roads over there are filled with head-turning models from brands like Jaguar, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and others -- many of which sadly never make it to the U.S. market. But this one has arrived and we’re glad to have the TourX classing up the place.

Deep space. Buick was able to eek out barely anymore cargo space (73.5 cubic ft. when the rear seats are folded) than the Subaru Outback. As anyone who’s seen the back of an Outback will tell you, that’s impressive, especially when the outside of the Buick looks so good.

Smooth operator. The TourX is a great car to drive, and its European roots shine through. The engine is smooth and powerful, the ride is comfortable without being too firm or too soft, and the interior refinement keeps the cabin library-quiet on the highway.

What’s bad:

TLDR: Expensive, not great off-road, tight backseat for three

Pricey. When compared to the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and Subaru Outback -- its two more realistic competitors -- the Buick is no bargain. Its base price is $30,000 -- which gets you a mid-level VW or Subaru. And a loaded Regal TourX like the one we tested tops $41,000 without offering anything that its cheaper peers don’t.

-- A backseat for two. Technically, the TourX can hold three in the backseat but with a high transmission tunnel running through the floor, so there’s very little legroom for a middle passenger.

-- Stick to pavement. Buick is billing the TourX as a crossover alternative, one just as open to adventures on-road as off-road. But with middling ground clearance that’s no better than most family sedans, this Regal would be left behind by a Subaru Outback that boasts three extra inches of ground clearance.

5 stars of execution:

Safety Features? NO

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have yet to crash test the Buick Regal TourX.
  • Despite this, we’re disappointed that this Buick lacks active safety features that are quickly becoming standard -- or at least optional -- across the industry, including all of its rival wagons.
  • Features like pre-collision alert and braking, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control are only available on the top-level Essence trim -- and even then, they cost extra.

Value? NO

  • The TourX base price is several thousands of dollars higher than the starting point of either the VW Alltrack or the Subaru Outback.
  • When loaded with all possible options, a Buick Regal TourX can hit $40,000 -- a high sum for a wagon in this segment.
  • Also frustrating were the aforementioned active safety features that Buick charges extra for -- and which are only available on their priciest trim. These bits are standard on comparable trim levels of the TourX’s rivals.

Efficiency? NO

  • The Regal TourX is rated by the EPA at 21/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined.
  • That’s one tick lower for each rating of the VW Alltrack and significantly lower than the Subaru Outback’s 25/32/28 mpg rating.

Driving experience? YES

  • Driving the TourX reminds you why you skipped a crossover in the first place: it has European sedan handling and refinement that crossovers of its ilk can’t match.
  • The suspension ably soaks up the chatter from rough roads, and the 250-horsepower turbo engine is well-tuned and has plenty of power whenever you need it -- no signs of the dreaded ‘turbo lag’ that can plague other powertrains.
  • Just note its relatively low ground clearance when compared to the VW and particularly the Subaru.

Execution? YES

  • Buick has done a great job with the TourX in that it carves out a nice niche for itself: it’s one half-step above the aforementioned Subaru and VW rivals yet a step below pricier German wagons.
  • It promises a savvy mix of style, functionality and handling that anyone tired of a cumbersome crossover will appreciate.

Total Rating: 2/5 stars

What’s it gonna cost me?

The base Regal TourX (called the 1SV) starts at $29,995, including destination.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system (without navigation) that comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity and noise cancellation, WiFi hotspot, keyless entry, fog lamps, 60/40 split rear seat and heated side mirrors.

The Preferred option package starts at $33,595 and adds to that very little -- things like an eight-way power driver’s seat, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and minor trim pieces. However, this Preferred model does offer a wide range of options that aren’t available on the lesser 1SV.

The top-level Essence trim starts at $35,995, including destination.

It adds leather seats that are heated up front, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, power passenger seat, power liftgate, a 40/20/40 split rear seat, heated steering wheel, remote start, digital instrument panel display, dual-zone climate control and XM Satellite Radio.

Our pick of the TourX litter would be the Essence without any options, since they add up quickly.

The Essence is also the only trim level that lets you add key safety options like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision alert and braking and lane-keep assist. These features are part of the $1,190 Driver Confidence Package II, which also requires the $1,725 Driver Confidence I package (for a total of $2,915).

These are great features to have, but as we mentioned, we wish Buick would make them available on all trims of the TourX. They also hurt this wagon’s value quotient; both the VW Alltrack and Subaru Outback rivals offer the same active safety tech as standard equipment at lower price points.

Also consider

Again, Buick bills the TourX as a competitor to the Audi A4 allroad, BMW’s 3 Series wagon and Volvo’s V60 XC wagon, but a more realistic set of competitors would be Subaru’s Outback and VW’s Golf Alltrack.

We’re big fans of both the Alltrack and the Outback, so if you’re interested in either of those, definitely check out this Buick and vice versa. This Buick can’t match the value of the VW or the Outback, but they can’t match the TourX’s style.

Despite being sold by an American brand, the TourX is all European in terms of execution and heritage. The Buick nameplate may not lure in buyers from the pricier German marques, but like the VW Alltrack, it offers a healthy dose of refinement mixed with plenty of functionality and style.

*Final thoughts:

Despite its two out of five star rating, we walked away from the Regal TourX liking it, and we would recommend it for buyers looking for a more refined, less rugged version of Subaru’s Outback. It’s definitely more expensive than its rivals, but it also offers a more sophisticated and well-rounded package.