It’s taken 40 years, but the Buick Regal gets its first production all-wheel drive system.
The 2014 model year marks a significant refresh for the current generation European Opel Insignia-based vehicle that was introduced in 2011. There are numerous updates and upgrades, such as the new Haldex AWD system (available on the turbo and GS models) featuring an electronic limited-slip rear differential that allows it to compete with rivals like the outgoing Acura TL with SH-AWD and the Audi A4 Quattro.
Most of the time, the system will operate in front-wheel drive mode until a host of sensors — monitoring wheel speed, steering angle, etc. — detects slippage causing the eLSD to kick in and split torque between the wheels for optimal stability.
To go with the new transmission is another available engine offering — a tuned version of the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine also found on GM’s Cadillac ATS. The mill makes 259 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm, an improvement of 39 horsepower and 35 lb-ft of torque over the previous naturally aspirated 2.0 L motor.
The safety department gets a bump, too, with the addition of two “Driver Confidence” packages, utilizing radar and camera technology that provide visual and audible alerts to help reduce the likelihood of an accident and mitigate collision damage. The first package ($1,565) includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Following Distance indicator, which allows the driver to set a certain gap to maintain from the vehicle ahead. The Second package ($1,835) adds a few more options like Collision Preparation that allows the car to pre-load the brakes and automatically stop for you if it senses an imminent crash.
It’s not all performance and safety changes for the 2014 Regal, because its looks get a makeover as well. There are new signature wing-shaped LED daytime running lights embedded within the front lamp housing, LED taillights, and a bigger and bolder front grille. On the inside, the centre stack has been revised now housing a high-resolution 4.2-inch colour touchscreen display. It works in conjunction with Buick’s IntelliLink Infotainment system that controls vehicle information, navigation, audio system functions, phone features and more. Users can swipe, drag and flick through menus much like on a smartphone.
The 2014 Buick Regal with all the new bells and whistles is available at dealerships now. MSRP for the Turbo model with AWD starts at $36,975, visit buick.ca for detailed option specs and pricing.