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- Highs Sleek-looking hatchback, potent V-6 engine, above-average driving dynamics.
- Lows No paddle shifters, middling acceleration numbers, disappointing interior quality.
- Verdict The sportiest Regal can't recreate the excitement found on the legendary GS models of old.
Buick once built muscle cars and other performance models, but these days the Regal GS is the sportiest thing in its showrooms. A strong 310-hp V-6 sends power to all four wheels, but we wish the GS had hastier acceleration. Still, it's more athletic and engaging than the regular Buick Regal Sportback, which we review separately. While the handsome four-door looks like a sedan, it actually features a hatchback that makes it more practical than most rivals. Likewise, the GS costs less than similarly equipped entry-luxury cars. Along with numerous standard amenities and many available driver assists, the 2020 Buick GS is a snazzier take on traditional transportation, just don't expect it to fully recreate the old-school GS experience.
What's New for 2020?
For 2020, Buick didn't make any meaningful changes to the Regal GS.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
With a sporty V-6 powertrain and standard all-wheel drive, choosing a 2020 Regal GS is pretty straightforward. Sport Red is the only no-cost paint color, and the other available hues are less exciting. We'd select the Appearance and Sights and Sounds packages. Together they add an eight-speaker Bose audio system, LED headlights with automatic leveling and corner lights, remote start, built-in navigation, wireless phone charging, and more. There are also several optional driver assists, such as automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, but they're only sold bundled together.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Regal GS is motivated by a 3.6-liter V-6 that develops 310 horsepower and 282 lb-ft of torque. Its engine pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission that, oddly, lacks paddle shifters. Instead, manually selecting gears is handled through the center-console-mounted shifter. The standard all-wheel-drive system not only improves traction in slippery conditions, it also helps the GS corner better. The last version we tested accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, which was surprisingly only 0.2 second quicker than our front-drive, four-cylinder Regal. The GS rides on adaptive dampers that can be adjusted via the three selectable drive modes—Touring, Sport, and GS. These settings also alter the transmission's reactions and steering effort. A pair of Brembo front-brakes helped haul the GS from 70 mph to zero in a notable 164 feet. While this hi-po Regal failed to get our blood pumping from behind the wheel, it's definitely more entertaining (but also more expensive) than the regular Regal.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that the Regal GS will earn 27 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. Those numbers closely align with all-wheel-drive, V-6–powered rivals such as the Acura TLX and Lexus IS. We tested the Buick on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route and recorded 28 mpg, which beat its EPA rating but was between 2-3 mpg less than the TLX and IS350 achieved.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the 2020 Regal GS boasts snazzy and supportive front seats that have heating, cooling, and massaging functions. A flat-bottom steering wheel and metal pedals hint at sportiness, even though the rest of the cabin is mostly subdued and some of the materials are unremarkable. The back seat is just as roomy as the regular Regal and its cargo area is equally useful. We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases behind the rear seat and another 12 bags (19 total) with the rear seat folded. Both amounts were more than we could fit in the trunks of the TLX and the IS350 sedans.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every GS is outfitted with a responsive 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Desirable options include a head-up display, wireless charging, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 Regal GS hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While a host of driver-assistance technologies is available, only a couple of assists are standard. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Buick provides a competitive limited warranty as well as even better powertrain protection. While the 2020 Regal GS does have complimentary maintenance, it only covers one visit.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit