Friday, March 22, 2013

Regal Turbo 11,000 Miles Later

We're worried. Seven months into our 24,000 mile lease and we already have 11,000 miles on the OD. So we either have to start driving more conservatively or we will have to bring a large check with us at turn-in time (August 2014). YIKES.

It's getting harder, however, NOT to drive the Regal Turbo for a number of reasons. One is that our fleet is shrinking with the Lincoln being sold. Another is that the warm weather is coming, so our Explorer's snow-rover duty is done for the year. But the biggest reason is that we LOVE driving the Buick.

Probably 10,000 of those miles were clocked by the other half. You might now I travel a lot and spend more time as The Rentalist, behind the wheels of the finest cheapies in Enterprise's fleet. But recently I became reunited with the Buick on some back-to-back tours of the highways connecting New York and New England.

The Regal Turbo is so smooth that I regularly surprise myself looking down at the speedo. Feels like it's going 65 when it's going 90. Its quiet, refined ride and stable stance really feel good on the highway. And it's always ready to lay some passing power down when dropped into 4th or 3rd gear, a faint whistle from the turbine accompanying the increasing thrust. It's great at bobbing and weaving through traffic, too. I do wish the seats had better bolstering, however. During spirited driving I feel like I have to brace my backside more than I should.

A friend and BMW 3-series owner came for a ride with me and was impressed by the design, appointments, and power of the Regal Turbo.

We allowed our XM subscription to lapse. Mixed feelings about that service. Maybe it's just me but I want pure music and NO DJs. We had a hard time finding that. OnStar continues to serve us well, though we get a few too many "all operators are busy" messages. Even when we only have to wait a few seconds, it's an irritating message to hear. Regular vehicle status updates via e-mail from OnStar are pretty cool. We are surprised that we are still running on the original oil. Current status is about 15% life, so I'm sure we'll get told to change it soon.

Compared to the others in our fleet, the Buick's seat heat is SUPREME. It gets very hot, and pretty quickly. It's a good thing it has 3 levels of adjustment. We continue to be impressed by the appointment, equipment, and quality of the build in the Buick. By comparison, our seven-year-old Lincoln is showing some terrible quality issues, like cracking and blistering chrome on interior door handles. I just don't see that happening with the Buick. Of course, we'll never know. One continuing gripe on the Buick is the lack of seat memory. It's such an inexpensive and useful feature for multi-driver families and something we enjoyed in both the Lincoln and Explorer.

In comparing the Explorer to the Regal Turbo during daily driving, Anthony made an interesting comment: "I have to remember the difference in travel time when driving these two vehicles. I always get there MUCH faster when driving the Buick." Truer words...

There's great satisfaction in knowing that you have made the right choice. I still look longingly at the Volvo S60 T5 and VW GLI every time I see them on the road. But then I remember the cost difference with the Volvo and the refinement gap with the GLI. And while I wish our budget had allowed the badass Regal GS, we are absolutely confident we landed in the right place with our Regal Turbo.