Title:2018 Buick Verano GS Hatchback Full Review
Published:14 January 2018
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You might call it a heroic task, an essential duty handed down from generation to generation. Or, if you're being uncharitable, it's more like a mission impossible for these changing times. Either way, it's hard to deny that the folks at Buick have been given something of a monumental challenge in reinvigorating the once-staid brand and getting people excited about a sedan as buyers continue to reject the form out of hand. You'd need a highly specialized tool to walk that razor-thin line—enter the 2018 Buick Regal GS, a 310-horsepower, naturally-aspirated liftback with a lot to prove.

For many, the Regal nameplate conjures up images of rounded, front-wheel-drive boats with a bench seat up front and ashtrays in the back. That was especially true in the early aughts, when the Buick Park Avenue, LeSabre, Century, and Regal were all shades of the same color. After Buick's popularity in China spared it from the executioner's sword during the recession, the bosses at GM raided their Opel division across the Atlantic to bring a little European style to the brand back home, resulting in four co-developed products: the Buick Verano (Opel Astra), Buick Encore (Opel Mokka), Buick Cascada (Opel, uh, Cascada), and of course, the re-launched Buick Regal (Opel Insignia).
It's easy to scoff at the "better living through corporate synergy" ethos on display here, especially since badge engineering is partly what sunk the old GM in the first place, but there's no question the Opel-Buick partnership has drastically improved their lineup. The Buick Regal is no exception, as the car's refreshed styling at the start of the decade helped draw the praise of critics and propel it to over 40,000 sales in 2011. In an effort to highlight the brand's performance heritage, the Gran Sport (GS) trim was added, offering a more powerful four-cylinder engine, a sportier suspension, and a six-speed manual transmission.
Fast forward six years, and my, how times have changed. Buick sold just under 20,000 Regals last year, all while their total sales have steadily increased on the strength of its crossovers. We all know why that is; what's less obvious is what to do about it for the next generation. And I have to admit, a 310-horsepower, all-wheel-drive luxury liftback with sporting pretensions is an intriguing answer. I spent the better part of a scorching July morning at General Motors' proving grounds in Milford, Michigan flinging a pre-production 2018 Buick Regal GS around their "Ride and Handling" road course to see if they're right.

Visually, they're off to a very promising start. The Buick Regal GS is undeniably a good-looking car, with a redesigned front end that manages to be both sleeker and more angular than the outgoing model. The low hood keeps the car from looking too tall, while the sloping roofline and almost imperceptible notch of a traditional trunk lid recall the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 3 Series GT. Yet the liftback integration looks a bit more cohesive here compared to ze Germans, helped in part by the raked rear bumper. I wouldn't call it stunning, but I wouldn't kick it out of my garage either, which is generally the sweet spot for mass market appeal.

Music Credit :
PACIFIC SUN by Nicolai Heidlas Music
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0
Music provided by Audio Library


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