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2018 Buick Regal TourX: The last great American wagon?

This is the American wagon redefined.

Chris Paukert
Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars

Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.

3 min read

2018 Buick Regal TourX


It wasn't that long ago that American households embraced the station wagon as part of its collective identity, as much a part of the family fabric as the dog. But if minivans beat those humble haulers into retreat in the '80s and '90s, the rise of SUVs and crossovers all but finished them off in the 2000s. In fact, looking around the market today, there really isn't even a single model offered from an American automaker. Ford's aging Flex is probably the closest thing. But that changes this fall, when the 2018 Buick Regal TourX hits dealers.

"[The] Regal TourX is a crossover in the truest sense of the word, with the drive dynamics of a car and the versatility of an SUV," claims Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick and GMC. On some level, that's true, but more than perhaps every CUV on the market today, this car is quite clearly a wagon at heart -- it only sits some 0.6 inches taller than its five-door Sportback sibling. Regardless of how it's classified, after ogling it at General Motors' Technical Center in Warren, Michigan today, I can tell you that the TourX is quite a looker.

Based heavily on the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer recently introduced for Europe, the TourX will come standard with all-wheel drive, and is solely available with a General Motors 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder offering 250 horsepower and a healthy 295 pound-feet of torque. You can have any transmission you like, so long as it's an eight-speed automatic.

2018 Buick Regal TourX
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2018 Buick Regal TourX

No, you're not seeing things. This is a Buick Regal station wagon, albeit in a more rugged guise.


Buick is ambitiously targeting the Audi A4 Allroad, BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon and Volvo V60 Cross Country as the Regal TourX's competitive set, but it's actually a much larger vehicle, spanning 196.3 inches. That's over 9 inches longer than the A4 Allroad, its next biggest rival, and well over 2 feet longer than the BMW. Predictably, that gives the TourX a sizable advantage in cargo space, which maxes out at 73.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Other, less premium cross-shops include the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the Subaru Outback, the latter of which is also based on an overseas-only wagon. The Subaru is admittedly assertive about its crossover credentials, and should have significantly more off-road ability than this Buick.

Whatever it actually lines up against, the Regal TourX will be available with a boatload of tech goodies. A 7-inch infotainment screen comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an 8-inch unit with embedded navigation is also available, as is a Bose premium audio system that includes active noise cancellation. Unusually for the class, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot will also be standard equipment.

2018 Buick Regal TourX looks to bring the American hauler back

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On the advanced safety equipment front, all TourX models are fitted with an active hood to curb pedestrian injuries. When an impact of the human kind is detected at between 16-30 mph, a small pyrotechnic charge fires, popping the rear edge of the hood up by 4 inches to cushion the blow. This is technology rarely seen at this end of the market, and it's no doubt appearing here because the Opel Insignia upon which this car is based is designed to meet Euro pedestrian crash standards. In fact, it's worth noting that the TourX will be built in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Other available active safety features include lane-change and blind-spot alerts, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist, all bundled into an options package. A secondary grouping adds automatic pedestrian braking, lane-keep assist, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise with auto brake.

Sadly, the advent of the Regal TourX isn't likely to jumpstart consumers' dormant love affair with the American station wagon. If that was going to occur, it would've happened long ago, perhaps with GM's own Cadillac CTS Wagon or the Dodge Magnum. But that doesn't mean this isn't ground worth covering for Buick. As automakers like Mercedes-Benz have long known, statistically speaking, wagon buyers are both unusually loyal and particularly well-to-do, and those are exactly the types of customers car companies want in their fold.