2018 Buick Regal GS First Drive: A German By Any Other Name

– Atlanta, Georgia

Question: When did being called a hatchback equate to the schoolyard teasing of “four eyes?” Because that’s how I’m feeling about this resurgence of other -backs, like liftback, fastback, sportback.

This is not a complaint but merely a bleary-eyed observation as I draft this review of the 2018 Buick Regal GS which, as corporate suits will declare, is a sportback. “We don’t have a Regal sedan,” one corrected me with aplomb. Fair enough. It’s not like I called it ugly. (Note: It’s not.)

However, this segment of vehicle is a hybrid of sedans and wagons. And, lucky for us, all the best parts of the two. Because you’re basically pairing the easy handling of a sedan with the functionality of a stigma-biased “unsexy” hatch-wagon.

2018 Buick Regal GS

The progeny of this marriage will be fun-to-drive performance cars at best (and so far) or attractively designed coupe-shaped four-doors at worst. Now throw in a grunty 3.6-liter V6 and you’ve got a vehicle that is so useful, so engaging, and so handsome that of course it doesn’t make sense that Buick would build one. Except that Buick did... kinda-sorta.

German-built and more familiarly known as the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia across the pond, the all-new Regal GS is all Buick stateside – from the brand marketing to the consumer skepticism. And it’s unfair, really. Purists may roll their eyes at the rebadge but to those willing to open their optic nerves to the “new” Buick, they’re in for a treat. Because the Regal GS is downright fun.

Bui...