The official reasoning behind GM failing to bring the Opel Insignia OPC, according to Buick PR staff, is that the all-wheel drive, twin-turbo V6 powered sedan with 321 horsepower “didn’t fit with the brand image”. Right. The real reason is likely that a Buick Regal GS outfitted like this would cost far more than the already expensive $35,310 that GM wants for a car. And if the market for a $35,000 manual transmission Buick is limited, well – imagine who would buy a $45,000-$50,000 AWD Regal.
Judging from the emails I receive, some of you badly want to love the new 2012 Regal GS. In my review of the Buick Regal 2.0T, I noted that its strengths are “subtle,” and therefore unlikely to inspire love at first sight. The GS adds more aggressive styling, 50 horsepower, Brembo front brakes, an upgraded suspension, and better-bolstered seats. Should you prepare to be smitten? Read More >
In a luxury market that’s always looking for the next big thing, “Compact Luxury” has become something of a hot trend. And with GM’s Buick brand saved from the bailout-era brand cull, a compact Buick is a key test of whether The General has moved past its bad habits of cynical badge engineering. Thus the 2012 Buick Verano is a hugely important car to The General, not only serving as a bellweather for the health of the Buick brand, but also proving whether or not GM “gets” the tough-to-crack entry-luxury market. So, does the Verano measure up?
Sometimes love strikes at first sight. Other times it emerges more gradually over months or even years. When I first drove the new Buick Regal nearly a year ago, I found a fair amount to like, but love didn’t instantly happen. The Regal just isn’t that kind of car. Its strengths are subtle. Perhaps if we spent a week together, and a turbo was added to the mix?
Ours being an open relationship, I also played the field, driving an Acura TSX V6, Chrysler 200 Limited, and Volvo S60 T5 to better evaluate how the Buick measured up. Those reviews will follow. First, the Regal CXL Turbo.
Even more than the Cadillac SRX reviewed last week, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse reflects Bob Lutz’s influence at GM. Soon after assuming responsibility for the corporation’s new product development in 2001, Lutz deemed the styling of the original Buick LaCrosse, recently approved for production, unfit for sale. The car was sent back to the designers for late revisions to the front end, delaying its launch by over a year. But not much could be done so late in the process. What would the LaCrosse be like if Lutz could oversee its entire development? With redesigned and re-engineered 2010 Buick LaCrosse we now have an answer.
With Pontiac and Saturn gone, Buick must assume a larger role within General Motors. It must now seek to win over enthusiasts who would have previously bought Pontiacs and the import-intenders who previously bought Saturns. The first product to follow from this expanded mission: the new 2011 Buick Regal. The Regal began life as the Opel Insignia—it will even be imported from Germany for the first year—and was to be marketed in the United States as the second-generation Saturn Aura. But it has been available in China as the Buick Regal for over a year now, so putting the tri-shield on the grille isn’t entirely an afterthought. This isn’t even the first time Opel has manufactured a car for Buick dealers—this tie goes way back. Even so, is the Regal a plausible Buick?
“The company’s survival depends on the success of this car.” Though regularly trotted out, this statement is almost always BS (not to be confused with the Bertel kind). Typically when the hyped new car fails, the company seems to somehow scrape by. But the 2010 LaCrosse might just warrant such an extreme statement, at least with regard to Buick’s survival outside China. GM has been on a brand-killing spree lately, and this car will test whether or not Buick is beyond saving in the U.S. The Enclave has proved that American car buyers are open to a Buick crossover. But a Buick sedan, with more baggage to overcome, poses a greater challenge. So, does the new Buick LaCrosse–and the brand that’s banking on it–deserve to succeed?
The last four years were rough sailing for Buick’s flagship, having traded its swank Park Avenue home for an understated Swiss bungalow. While its Enclave sibling received a halfhearted Presidential endorsement, Lucerne has been told gently that it has no place in Buick’s future. But you don’t need to be Jim Dollinger to see the silver lining in the Lucerne Super: it stands in sharp contrast to Buick’s confusing dalliances with European chassis and a variety of puny powertrains. Perhaps the Lucerne Super is more than a Buick. It’s the last stand for what was right with the brand.
Review: 2009 Buick Lucerne Super Car Review Rating
Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars
Normally, driving a car with a stonking V8 engine powering the front wheels is like watching Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh make out. It's so wrong on so many levels. Can you squeal like a pig? Just so. Will that pig's snout dart about like an amphetamine-crazed truffle-sniffer? Uh-huh. But here's the kicker: what if it doesn't? And what it you, uh, like it? Does that make you a deviant pistonhead? No, it makes you a closet fan of the quietly nutty, deeply cool Buick LaCrosse Super.
2008 Buick LaCrosse Super Review Car Review Rating
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars
Engineers will tell you, “Quick, cheap, good: pick any two.” For its first whack at a three-row crossover, GM opted for quick and cheap, and gave us the Buick Rendezvous. Admittedly, the model sold in decent volume– but not because it was quick or good. For 2008, we have Take Two. The Buick Enclave’s styling has already generated far more buzz than the Rendezvous elicited during its entire six-year run. But does the rest of the vehicle measure up to the sensuous sheetmetal?
Buick Enclave Review [Take Two] Car Review Rating
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars
When better cars are built, Buick will build them. Meanwhile, they’re building CUV’s. Huh? An automotive brand whose lack of identity has kept it on life support for well over a decade wants a piece of a vehicular genre that’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and nothing in particular. GM’s willingness– make that “eagerness”– to throw Buick a CUV-shaped, badge-engineered bone demonstrates the corporate mothership’s abject and ongoing inability to devise a coherent plan to resuscitate its “damaged” (i.e. terminal) Buick brand. What is it with these guys?
2007 Buick Enclave Review Car Review Rating
Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars
They come from around the world to duke it out in the US of A: mid-size sedans from Germany, Japan and South Korea. Each arrives armed with a unique selling point: German engineering, Japanese quality and South Korean value. Their upbringings differ but their mission is the same: capture the hearts and minds of Middle American car buyers– and keep them. The clear winner in this automotive Battle Royale is the American consumer, who’s never enjoyed so much quality and choice for so little money. Meanwhile, once stalwart American brands and models are falling by the wayside, as their “foreign” competition continues their ceaseless campaign for mid-market hegemony. One such victim is the Buick LaCrosse CXL.
Electra Waggoner Biggs was born a Texas cattle and oil man’s daughter, but left the Lone Star State for Bryn Mawr, Columbia and the Sorbonne. Upon her return she became a revered sculptress, best known for her work “Into the Sunset,” memorializing cowboy actor Will Rogers. In 1959, the President of Buick (and Electra’s husband’s brother-in-law) named a flagship sedan after the middle aged Texan. Today's Buick Lucerne is named after a quaint Swiss tourist trap, with only a failed peasant’s revolt to its name. And there you have it: Buick has tossed away decades of brash Americana for subdued Euro-style. That's beyond stupid.