Buick’s 2018 Regal Sportback plays it down the middle
It’s easy to write about a car that’s very good. It’s also easy to write about a car that’s very bad. But when it comes to cars that ride the centerline, where there are some good qualities and other not-so-good qualities — well, that’s a bit harder.
And that’s where the 2018 Buick Regal Sportback lives. Its hatchback form should help appeal to buyers that are considering shifting from cars to crossovers, and it’s a rather pleasant drive. But some other parts seem old or half-baked, largely related to Buick’s attempt to ride that middle “premium” line between mass-market and luxury.
Buick is at the tail end of a large lineup shift. Every car in its stable has been recently refreshed, and the Regal is the final piece of that puzzle. The Regal Sportback is a fine car, but being just OK is a hard sell in a price category where there are so many good vehicles.
The last Regal was a bit dowdy, but not this one. Relying on the strengths of recent concepts like the Avista, the new Regal Sportback adapted some very handsome looks that have been adapted to other new Buicks in varying degrees of success. Alongside the Enclave, I think the Regal Sportback is one of the prettiest new Buicks in some time.
The fast rear end that comes with a hatchback gives the Regal Sportback a heavy dose of style. The headlights look sharp. The grille is appropriately sized — a growing rarity. There’s some clever sculpting on the hood and on the door panels.