When the opportunity to go to Sedona, AZ to drive the all-new 201 Buick Regal TourX ($29,995, base) arose, there was no hesitation on my part. Of course, I did: I’m a wagon guy. The first car I rode in after entering this world was an ‘84 Subaru GL; I later stashed toys in the rear-facing third-row seat of a ‘92 Ford Taurus. I’ve personally owned four different long roofs, including one with a V8 shoehorned under its hood and one with a hole in the floor pan. If I was to be given any new car free of charge in perpetuity, it would be the mighty Audi RS6 Avant…or would it be the Mercedes E63 S AMG? Either way, it’d be a wagon — nothing beats the combination of style and function, at least when it’s done right. The new TourX is done right.
Now 115 years old, Buick is reinventing themselves as a low-key luxury brand geared towards active urbanites. The brand has come full circle: after offering the iconic Roadmaster wagon decades ago, it has added this new take on the classic all-wheel-drive wagon to their lineup. That Buick is billing the TourX as a crossover is of no consequence. This is the new American station wagon and a damn fine one at that.
It certainly rides better than any of the crossover competition in its class that I’ve driven, like the Infiniti Q60 or Acura MDX. It also offers a particularly good low seating position that better connects you to the car — you sit in it instead of on it. The Subaru Outback, now far more a crossover than a low wagon, hasn’t offered that quality since it bulked up considerably in 2010, and I find the TourX easier on the eyes than the ubiquitous Subaru. I even found myself glancing back at it multiple times after parking while thinking, “Damn, that is a pretty good looking car.”
Interior and Exterior
The TourX is available in three trim levels, though none drastically affects its looks; you’ll have to look to paint colors to make a visual statement. While I prefer the optional “White Frost Tricoat” pearlescent effect, standard “Summit White” looked great too, especially covered with red dust from some of Sedona’s picturesque dirt roads. The other standout colors in the lineup are Darkmoon Blue Metallic and my personal favorite Smoked Pearl Metallic. The former is among the finest indigo hues on the market today and the latter is a greenish grey that changes character depending on the light — while the car looks great in any, it appears downright premium in either of those two.
2018 Buick Regal TourX
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Torque: 295 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
EPA Fuel Economy: 24 city/21 highway/29 combined mpg
Price: $29,995 – $35,995
As is the case with the Subaru Outback, Audi A4 allroad and Volvo V60 Cross Country, black body cladding over the wheel arches, along the bottom of the doors and on both front and rear bumpers is meant to give the TourX a slightly more rugged appearance. It also has slightly more ground clearance than the Regal Sportback, 0.75 inches of an inch to be exact, courtesy of taller springs and thicker sidewall tires. During my time with the car, I wasn’t able to truly take it off-road, but light unpaved travel is likely within the TourX’s wheelhouse — this is not a rock crawler. For instance, its 5.8 inches of ground clearance stand no chance against competition like Subaru’s off-road biased Outback, which boasts 8.7 inches.
Still, some aftermarket love might help in that regard — would this thing not at least look the business with another inch of ground clearance and some knobby tires? Maybe a Thule roof basket and tasteful LED light bar to complete the adventure-mobile look? Loading it down with gear would certainly be easy, as the TourX has a lower roofline than you’d find on any SUV or crossover and a cavernous 73.5 cubic feet of space behind the front seats, which is “more cargo room than the Audi A4 allroad, BMW 3 Series Wagon, Subaru Outback, and Volvo V60/Cross Country,” according to Buick. If you do end up off-road, that’s more than enough to catch some shut-eye in when needed, though a kitted-out roof rack would obstruct the view out of the optional panoramic sunroof (absolutely worth the $1,200).
That the TourX so easily captured my imagination is a testament to the clarity with which Buick has executed their vision. Wagon preference aside, it’s the kind of road trip-ready car that I crave. The tech — AirPlay, wifi hotspot, wireless charging — is there and then some. Merging and passing power is more than adequate, thanks to the 250 horsepower 2.0-liter, and once at speed, it cruises damn near silently.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that the TourX is affordable; starting prices for each of the three trim levels are $29,995, $33,595 and $35,995 respectively. Fully kitted with all the good stuff like adaptive cruise control and a heated steering wheel, a TourX will run you $40,605. That right there is a bargain — an Audi Allroad, which could be considered the king of this segment, carries a base price of $44,500.
Having spent a good deal of time driving the current generation allroad, I don’t think forking over the extra dough is worth the moderate improvement in driving dynamics or interior fit and finish. The same is true of the Volvo V60 CC, a model that’s nearly ready for retirement and is also a step down in size from the TourX — besides, the TourX offers more for the money given that it’s larger and better equipped at the same price point. Buick may not have the inherent “cool” factor of the other brands — yet — but I’d say there’s nothing cooler than having money left over to go on the kinds of adventures the TourX is advertised and suited for.
“Buick reps point to the Audi [A4 allroad] as a competitor, except that the compact A4 is almost 10 inches shorter and a whole class smaller than the mid-size, 196.3-inch Regal wagon.” – Car and Driver
“Pop the champagne, it’s another wagon!”– Autoblog
“In the end, the Regal TourX surprises us with its comfortable ride and strong engine, but it comes up short in enough ways that the Outback remains our adventure wagon of choice.” – The Truth About Cars