The 2018 Buick Regal TourX offers lots of cargo space, effective all-wheel-drive, and a sporty, turbocharged engine. But can the TourX compete with the mighty Subaru Outback?
I got the chance to drive the all-new 2018 Buick Regal TourX, which is hitting dealer lots now, around Mt. Hood and Portland, Ore., for a few days. I can tell you that it was fun to push the TourX’s limits, and it handled the wide variety of conditions I threw at it with ease.
Opel actually makes this “American” station wagon in Germany. The chassis and design language debuted in 2017 around the world alongside the Buick Regal Sportback in North America, the Vauxhall Insignia in the U.K., and the Holden Commodore in Australia.
The TourX has tough, classy lines and performs much more like a sport wagon that can handle some modest off-road adventure.
Some tough-looking plastic body cladding, an impressive AWD system, and a bit more height than your average station wagon make the TourX worthy of consideration for your all-terrain adventures.
However, it has a lot less ground clearance than its close competitors, a thin tire sidewall, no spare tire (what?), and poor entry and departure angles.
We’d hoped for something that could compete with Subaru, but off the pavement, the TourX won’t quite stack up. It does have its own advantages though.
The intelligent AWD system on the TourX can split power 50/50 when needed. It has a normal front wheel bias when you don’t need added traction. And it uses an active twin clutch in the rear axel to get the traction to the ground when you do need it.
This system inspires confidence, even on the wet, snowy, gravel-covered roads I was able to chuck it around on. On dry roads, the intelligent all-wheel-drive system makes the vehicle feel much sportier than its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine might suggest.
If you want to do a donut in a snowy parking lot, for example, as long as you keep your foot on the gas, the TourX will come around nicely in an extremely controlled four-wheel drift.
Many modern AWD systems are serious wimps, and shut down all the power and/or apply loads of ABS when you lose traction. The TourX lets you have fun while still taking care of you when things get a little out of hand.
The TourX has 5.7” of ground clearance, which is easily surpassed by the Subaru Outback’s mighty 8.7”.
In the ground clearance department, it honestly falls short, by a good margin, compared to all its closest competitors. With that said, 5.7” is plenty to get you down most forest service roads and gravel back roads without an issue.
2018 Buick Regal TourX: Lots of Cargo Room
Most would consider a Subaru Outback to offer ample cargo capacity, and the Buick Regal TourX actually offers 0.2 cubic feet (345.6 cubic inches) more cargo volume.
One of the first things I consider doing with all-new adventure vehicles is the “sleep test.” I drop the rear seats and lay down in the back, as I’m sure to do a little car camping in any vehicle I might purchase.
With the back seats dropped in the TourX, I’m able to lie dead straight in the back, even at 6’3” tall, with a few inches of my body overhanging the rear passenger foot well. The width is also enough that it should offer up a good night’s sleep for two adults.
Ten years ago, I lived out of a Volvo V70 wagon for over four months whitewater kayaking across North America. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and that Volvo is one of the only vehicles I’ve owned that I truly miss.
The van life is hot these days, and I did it for a few years. But life on the road in a roomy wagon is also a great option, especially in the cost-of-ownership department.
The TourX also offers a bunch of nice little features that make the cargo area that much more efficient and useful. There are buttons in the trunk that allow you to remotely drop the rear seats independently of each other.
There is also a pass-through in the center of the rear seats. This is perfect for transporting skis, paddles, or other long gear, especially when you have four passengers. Adjustable tie-downs on sliding rails also make securing your rear cargo a snap.
Topping off the cargo area is an extremely versatile cargo cover that keeps prying eyes off your gear when the car is unattended. Best of all, the cover is easy to install and remove.
When you need to carry bikes, boats, surfboards, and other large adventure gear, the TourX’s low roof makes it easy to load gear no matter how tall you are.
Load rails built into the roof of the car come standard. Buick offers cross-bar options, but most major aftermarket rack companies will as well, which is important if you need wider bars than just the inner width of the roof.
Personally, I require any vehicle I purchase to be able to simultaneously carry a minimum of three whitewater kayaks and two mountain bikes. It’s important to have the right toys when you’re out adventuring so you can take advantage of whatever conditions Mother Nature throws at you.
‘Sport Wagon’ Drivetrain
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the TourX puts out an impressive 250 horsepower and an even more impressive 295 pound-feet of torque.
The sporty driving experience is made possible by a firm suspension featuring a five-link rear, a very responsive steering system that provides great driver feedback, and quality disc brakes all around.
The TourX can get over 100 mph with ease, but the handling gets a bit squirrely above that. While I don’t find it all that quick off the line, it does feel quite quick once it’s rolling and the turbo is spooled up.
I noticed turbo lag at all speeds. But you can keep it spooled up by using the manual sport-shifting mode and selecting a lower gear. Check out the video below for more on this.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is very smooth but is definitely tuned for fuel economy rather than performance. Sadly, as with many modern cars, there is no manual transmission option on the TourX.
2018 Buick Regal TourX Interior
The cabin of the TourX is a really nice place to be, both for driver and passengers. The seats are firm and supportive, offer good adjustability, and come in leather or cloth.
The driver’s seat feels quite roomy, even for my tall torso and lanky arms. Armrests on the door and center console are well positioned and comfortable. The rear passenger legroom is also quite impressive.
The standard leather-wrapped steering wheel is one of my favorite parts of this car. It feels good in the hands, is just the right size, looks sharp, and has all the right buttons. It’s also heated, a true luxury in the winter.
While there are lots of buttons and switches, all are easy to reach, well marked, and generally intuitive to use, including the dual-zone climate control system.
The infotainment system is well appointed. But, as with most, the navigation system falls short of Google Maps.
I noticed road noise in the TourX I drove, which had winter tires, making the vehicle nearly invincible in the snow. But they were probably louder than the Continental all-season tires from the factory. With that said, this isn’t the quietest car.
2018 Buick Regal TourX Pricing
While the TourX starts around $30,000, the top-of-the-line model will run you about $45,000. The price jumps up when you add packages that include things like LED lighting, heated mirrors, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic moon roof, and more.
The Buick Regal TourX is costs $40,000.
Similarly appointed competitors to a $40,000 Buick Regal TourX cost you about: $36,000 for a VW Golf Alltrack, $40,000 for a Subaru Outback, $50,000 for an Audi A4 Allroad, and $55,000 for a Volvo V90 Cross Country.
TourX: Ready for Modest Adventure
The Buick Regal TourX is an impressive vehicle option for the American adventurer. It lacks things like competitive ground clearance and a spare tire, but it makes up for those deficiencies in a sporty, refined, truly usable package at a great price.
I doubt you’ll see the TourX overrunning your local mountain town like the Outback and Tacoma have done. But I’ll bet you’ll see more and more of them at your local trailhead as people realize just how usable, fun, and solid the TourX really is.