Car Tech Video: 2011 Buick Regal CXL Sedan
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Car Tech Video: 2011 Buick Regal CXL Sedan

6:15 /

Buick is an American brand, but it sells best in China, and this one is made in Germany. Wait, what?

Buick, Regal. Two words that have stricken utter boredom into the hearts of import buyers for a generation or two, but let's reset the odometer and drive this very different Regal, the 2011 CLX, and check the tech. The Regal is synonymous with old GM, I mean, even the name sounds like something out of an 18th century costume drama, but about the most Buick thing on this car is the badge. Underneath is the 2009 European car of the year, the Opel Insignia. Now, since our Regal is the CXL with the RL6, got all that? That means it's totally high trim. We've got everything. Starting with this head unit is where you get the toys rolling. Obviously, it's a pretty nice navigation display, good fine dot pitch, pretty well rendered. You see live traffic. That comes in via XM which is one of our audio sources we'll get to in a minute but right off the bat, the whole interface here starts to spin your head around. It's very exorcist-like. You might see that screen and say, "Well, that's pretty nearby and nicely flush," so you might wanna touch it but all you're gonna do is make the LCD bloom because it's not a touchscreen. When you wanna get around things, it's an odd combination of pressing dedicated buttons here like to Config. You might then think you rotate a knob to move across the tabs but you don't. That just moves the selections. What the hell do I do? Well, you keep hitting Config to go across the tabs, but then once I get in there, okay, right click opens the menu choice, now I wanna choose one of these three modes on the bottom. Do I rotate for those? No. Do I use the direct-- No. What the hell-- Oh. And this mode, you use the number to go to the presets over here to select-- What the hell is this? Germany's revenge on us? Once you figure out how to make things happen on this car, there's a fair amount of good stuff to make happen. Under the radio band here of our audio system, we have AM, FM, and XM. The XM's gonna bring you the traffic like we mentioned but there is no HD radio on this guy and the XM, by the way, is a three-month freebie then it's on you. Now the good stuff lives under this one. Hard drive, DVD, aux. In here, we got the toys. CD slot, because we have nav, it's a single CD and plays DVDs. If you don't have nav, it's still a single CD, not a changer. USB is in here in the console. Little nerve-racking because the port is near the top and points up. I was pretty sure I was gonna shatter or sheer off my thumb drive but it just cleared. Might be nervous about that. You can also plug an iPod in there. You've got standard aux, of course, for your little mini jack cable, and then hard drive, 10 gigabytes of space, carved out from the 40-gig total that operates this whole system, most of which, of course, goes to nav. You see a Bluetooth icon up here. Yes, we have Bluetooth handsfree, lots of buttons for that as well as voice controlling OnStar but no Bluetooth stereo, no A2DP, your phone is basically mute when it comes to media. Speaking of OnStar, we have two navigation systems here. I showed you the one on the screen that is the hard drive-based one that's optional. We also have OnStar Connections & Directions so you get that one where you talk to them and they send a much simpler sort of set of prompts on the DIC, the driver information center. Don't pronounce it, and that's another nav system. Because we've got the fancy head unit, we also have better output on this car. We got nine speakers around the cabin. It's Harman Kardon stuff, sounds pretty good, kinda bass intensive. Putting this car in reverse reveals one big let down. Nothing. No rear view camera, not even on this fully loaded car and there's no a la carte option for it so that's what you got, you have to use your ears because we do have backup park sensors on this car and that's also a part of that RL6 high-end package. What about that gear shift? Six-speed auto. It's the only choice you've got on this car. Later, there are gonna be other variants to this vehicle. In fact, by the time you see this video, they may already be out including a 2-liter turbo and a six-speed manual in the mix, but right now, it's strictly a six-speed shiftable gate over here, back and forth for your upshift and downshift, no paddles of any kind. Oh, by the way, have you noticed where my hands' been going for a lot of this? Right on this, sort of a poor man's iDrive controller. This is something new for General Motors. You've got a knob here which acts strangely but not completely in concert with this one. I found that to be a little bit skitzoid, but you've got shortcuts to nav, your audio system, your Bluetooth menu and/or mute, and destination entry. And a nice handy back button. I like to see that. Like many recent GMs, the Regal has Time-Shift Radio that lets you pause and play live radio so you don't miss something while you're on a call, yelling at the kids, what-have-you. Under the hood is the engine this car launches with--the 2.4-liter inline 4 doing 182 horsepower and 172 foot-pounds of torque. 0 to 60 happens in about 7.5 seconds, all while delivering 19/30 MPG, but it's a pretty smooth motor that feels generally screwed down throughout the rev range. The Regal's biggest challenge may be reconciling that Buick badge with a genuinely European driving car. Now, it's no 3-series killer, but the driving is taut and the power comes on well from this initial engine, but you gotta hang on a while and check out the 2-liter turbo 4, and the hotter version of that engine, it will come in the GS trim, and even a hybrid that's been promised. Okay, this Regal, top of the line CXL, about $27,000 delivered and then we go and add $4785 for that RL6 package. That should be called the CNET package. It gets you a hard drive nav, 40 gigs, 10 gigs available for you, for your media, and of course the XM Live traffic and weather and all of that. You've also got the Time-Shift Radio recording technology, kinda cool. Power sunroof, power seats, rear park sensors, and, of course, the premium Harman Kardon audio with nine speakers.

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