Monday, September 10, 2012

We have a winner

10 months later, it's over. Through home renovation, a bout of illness, and a career change, I finally signed at the X. We drove some great cars along the way, but when we evaluated the one we liked best (Buick Regal GS), and aligned that with practicality, there was one clear winner:

Still scratching your head over Buick? In 2007, the average Buick buyer was 70 years old. But if you've been paying attention to me and the automotive press, GM is in full renaissance mode. Median age has nosedived into the 50's within the last five years. And based on my close encounter with Regal's little brother, the Verano (blog to come), it will continue to drop. Styling, equipment, performance, safety, and pricing converge to bring younger buyers through the doors, without alienating traditionalists.

You're welcome, Buick, for my contribution to your dropping demo.

The German-designed and engineered Regal is sold in Europe as the Opel Insignia, which makes it look and drive like no Regal before it. As you may have read in my chance encounter with a Regal Turbo, we were hard pressed to rationalize the extra thousands on the GS's price tag when compared to the Turbo.

The best new feature for 2012 is the 7" color touchscreen audio system with vastly improved iPhone connectivity. Pairing two iPhones and an iPod were a breeze. This car is also our introduction to OnStar, which we used about 10 times in the first 2 days—especially for navigation. Directions are beamed to the touchscreen and can also be brought up in a display in the center of the gauge cluster. Fabulous.

Our first cruise from Connecticut to Manhattan returned about 31mpg. I was elated. Handling and power were even better than the rental, because ours has a manual transmission. Comfort and quiet are top notch. Bravo, Buick, for great seats, with full adjustability for driver and front passenger alike. We love this car already.

If you're listening, Buick, consider driver seat memory, easier toggling between dual and single modes for climate control, and a gear indicator in the gauge cluster.

Kudos go to John Beckish from Parsons Buick in Plainville, Connecticut—and not because he's the only salesman we met who actually read and responded to my blog. He's a gentleman with an encyclopedia of Buick knowledge in his head. I thoroughly enjoyed our multiple visits to his dealership, and the test rides of all three Regal engine examples.

And Kudos to you for joining me on this trek. Now that I'm traveling all over the place, look for blogs about everything I rent, details about our Buick experience, and the search for the next new ride. Our Regal lease ends in October, 2014—so I should probably start blogging the pre-selections for its replacement in a week or two.


  1. It seems your search came to an abrupt end. I see in a previous post that you said you will buy a vehicle when your damn ready. Was that the case? What prompted the choice? Where did you buy & would you recomend them?

    This post left me with a lot of questions, I have been following this for months now as I am in early stages of car shopping my self.

  2. In fact, Mr. Jones, we weren't damn ready. But suffice to say life intervened and we had to put the search to an abrupt end.

    If you're looking in Connecticut, I recommend Mr. Beckish at Parsons. He's a class act.