2012 Buick Regal GS: Not Your Grandmother’s Car

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Buick may have a reputation for being for older drivers, but the editors over at Automobile Magazine will disagree.  The editors recently tested and reviewed the 2012 Buick Regal GS, and the impressions were overall positive.  The 2012 Regal GS is based on the European Opel Insignia.

Overall, the editors seemed to be in agreement over the Regal’s improved performance.  Many expressed that traditionally, they thought of the Buick as their “grandmother’s car,” or a car for older people, and were surprised by the new GS.  Kelly Murphy, Creative Director, said it “looked so nice, with its carbon metallic paint glistening in the sun.”


The general consensus seemed to be that the Regal was the best Buick any of them had ever driven.  The steering was sharper, quick, accurate, light and direct.  It drives more like a European car, which is not surprising considering the Regal GS’s roots.  David Zenlea, Assistant Editor, found that the Regal GS had less turbo lag in the 2.0L 4-cyilinder engine, and liked the handling, saying that it had “some of the sharpest steering I’ve ever experience in a front-wheel-drive car.”


Of the exterior, Amy Skogstrom was a fan of the styling and the Regal’s unique character.  On the inside, the seats are well bolstered and very comfortable – what you would expect with a Buick.


The Buick Regal GS starts at $35,310, although the reviewers tested the $38,350 model.  It comes with a 2.0L DOHC turbocharged and intercooled I-4 engine with six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive.  It gets a fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.  Features include variable effort power steering, interactive Drive Control System, front four-piston Brembo brakes, a USB port with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, tilt-and-telescoping steering, and more.


Despite rave reviews, there was also a worry lacing the review.  A few editors voiced concerns that even though the Buick Regal GS is a good car, it won’t succeed in the US due to poor marketing.  Writes Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor, “GM’s true test isn’t if it can build a high-performance Buick – it’s if it can sell it.”

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Bad Hair Days, Be Gone: Buick Verano Headrests Accommodate Ponytails

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The Buick Verano is making headlines this week with its new “no more bad hair days” campaign.  On Tuesday, Buick announced that the 2012 Verano is designed for the utmost comfort – especially for people with ponytails or large hair dos.

Buick spent 1,000 hours perfecting the interior comfort of the Verano.  From tall men to short women, all types of people were invited to sit down and test out the seats to ensure comfort for everyone.  One of those testers had a ponytail, prompting the designers to address the issue of drivers who can’t comfortably use the headrest when they’re wearing their hair up.

Although the media has been focusing in on the improved headrest for ponytails, perhaps because it seems like a unique feature for the auto company to mention at all, the Verano’s interior received other upgrades as well.  The seating is designed to prevent hot spots on long road trips, the new headrest is squishy and plush, and the seats use French-stitched leather.

The Verano now sports the same premium leather, support foam, and padding as the LaCrosse.  Seat bolsters provide support and comfort.  The door armrest is now padded, the center console armrest can be adjusted and noise-reducing technology ensures a quiet ride.  Everything is designed to increase comfort and satisfaction.

While the auto industry as a whole seems skeptical of this advertising tactic, the truth is that for a woman wearing a ponytail, headrests can be uncomfortable.  They push your head forward, forcing you to crane your neck.  However, is it enough of a problem to be a major selling point for women?  We’ll have to find out later this fall, when the Verano goes on sale.  What do you think?  Would more comfortable headrests attract you as a customer?

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Buick in History: Highlight of the Buick Skylark

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Today we’re taking a moment to highlight a Buick classic: the Skylark.   Immortalized in the film My Cousin Vinny, the Buick Skylark was first introduced to commemorate Buick’s 50th anniversary in 1953.  Over the years, the Skylark has appeared in a number of different forms; for this post, we’ll cover it’s first few runs in the 50’s and 60’s.

Initially, the Buick Skylark was introduced as a limited-production vehicle that was part of the Roadmaster line.  General Motors also produced two other specialty convertibles, the Oldsmobile Fiesta and Cadillac Eldorado.  Out of all three, the Skylark was the most successful, as Buick produced 1,690 units with a list price of just over $5,000.  All models were convertibles based on the two-door Roadmaster.  One unique feature of the Skylark was its V8 power and 12-volt electrical system, both firsts for Buick.  In the following year, 1954, the Skylark was not as popular, so Buick stopped production.

Almost a decade later, Buick reintroduced the Buick Special Skylark, which used the same chassis as the Pontiac Tempest and Oldsmobile F-85.  The Skylark still was not its own model, and was based on the Buick Special two-door sedan and had a 3.5L V-8 engine and a 4-barrel carburetor capable of producing 185 hp.

In 1962, it finally became its own model: the Buick Skylark.  Two styles were available: a two-door convertible coupe and a two-door hardtop. Over the years, as the Skylark evolved, it developed higher standards than the Special on which it was based.  For example, it included all-vinyl bucket seats in the convertible, and cloth-and-vinyl seats in the sedan.


The Skylark in Pop Culture

The Buick Skylark has been used in a number of movies.  In the movie My Cousin Vinny, a 1964 Buick Skylark becomes a major plot point in a court case against two New Yorkers accused of murder.  One of the defendants drove a metallic mint green Buick Skylark, which witnesses had confused with a Pontiac Tempest.  Other famous movies that include a Buick Skylark are The Goodbye Girl, Crossroads, and Vanilla Sky.

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