Buick seems to have made all the right moves over the past few years.
First of all, it has focused on making quality products.
Its most recent lineup addition, the 2011 Regal, is no exception. This midsize sedan offers luxury and performance.
It follows the Enclave crossover and the LaCrosse sedan, vehicles that have banished the old notion of Buick being the brand of the old geezers.
That notion is now as outdated as typewriters.
Another good move was resisting the temptation to change the Regal's name. It had been on hiatus for six years, and while maybe not everyone loved the previous Regal, enough people knew it and liked it to justify sticking with that moniker.
Whatever your opinion of the last version of the Regal was, it's a safe bet that you'll like this one much better.
It's built on the platform of the Insignia sedan, which is made by Opel, a General Motors European brand.
Yet another good move by Buick: it offers Regal with one trim level, CXL. Keep it simple.
There is a base 2.4-liter, 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but you can also get a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 220-horsepower four-cylinder, which the test drive model was. Both are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, but you can choose a six-speed manual with the turbo if you prefer.
The turbo also offers the Interactive Drive Control System, which lets you choose from three driving modes: Sport, for the most performance; Tour, for driving long trips; and Standard, the ordinary mode.
The Regal's fuel economy numbers are 18 mpg city, 28 highway for the automatic six-speed to 20 and 32 for the manual.
The Regal offers a solid package of safety features, including dual stage front airbags, front seat side impact airbags and head curtain side airbags standard. Also standard are antilock brakes and electronic stability control.
For comfort and convenience, there are keyless entry, foglamps, seven-speaker stereo and leather interior among the standard features.
The design is where the Regal scores a lot of its points. It's sleek and sculpted - a friend even commented that it looked something like a BMW. Perhaps that's owed to its roots in Germany, where some of the key work on the Regal was done. Features like the signature taillamps and integral rear lip spoiler just add to its good looks. The 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard, but 19-inch rims are available.
The Regal ranges in price from around $27,000 to around $34,000.