Car Review: Buick’s luxurious Regal TourX breaks boring station wagon stereotype

The Buick Regal TourX is hoping to challenge the stigma that wagons have to be boring. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
This wagon packs a bit more style than others and presents a decent alternative to the crossover that has become so popular in recent years. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
The TourX sits higher than a normal wagon, and the black body moldings that run around the lower parts of the exterior offer a rough-and-tumble, off-road look. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
The Regal TourX comes equipped with a large touchscreen. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
The gauges are certainly stylish, but some may find them a bit too small to read. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
There's plenty of room in the back, even with the back seats up. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
Folding the seats down offers a massive amount of storage space. Even some crossovers would be jealous. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
The inside trim has that upscale Buick feel to it. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
Plenty of legroom in the back means those long family trips will be a little more bearable. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
(1/9)

The Buick Regal TourX is the spacious all-wheel drive alternative to the common compact crossover.

Usually, when the word “wagon” is brought up, many think of a boring box on wheels that might rank below a minivan in cool factor. Those with this sentiment clearly haven’t seen the latest wagons available. Wagons have been undergoing big changes; many of them are adding all-wheel drive and morphing into under-the-radar crossover alternatives.

Prices for a new ride — especially a compact or midsize crossover — with AWD can easily reach up to $40,000. Enter the Buick Regal TourX that starts just under $30,000 and offers a ton of space (about 73 cubic feet with rear seats folded down). It will make most five-seat crossovers jealous. The TourX makes it easy to load large, bulky items due to its power lift gate and lower ride height than many crossovers, too.

A Buick should have a premium feel, and that’s exactly what Regal TourX has. The top-of-the-line Essence trim offers luxury features that bring the price to $36,000. Heated, power-controlled leather seats are comfortable, and there is plenty of headroom throughout the car. A heated steering wheel also adds to that exceptional touch. The rest of the materials and trim pieces are more upscale than expected at that price point — even the wood-like trim is more convincing than in past General Motors vehicles.

The instrument panel is pleasant to look at, but a few people commented that the gauges are a bit small.

The 8-inch central touch screen works the first time you touch it, which is an improvement from previous GM cars. There is also a large volume knob and push buttons for tuning. Like most GM vehicles, the TourX offers Wi-Fi, as well as Apple and Android connectivity.

The knock on wagons is often that they are boring and plain-looking, so the sharp styling on the Buick Regal TourX is a welcome surprise. I found it handsome, as did the several other people that complimented it.

The TourX sits higher than a normal wagon, and the black body moldings that run around the lower parts of the exterior offer a rough-and-tumble, off-road look. Where most wagons tend to look flat, the Buick has body lines that deviate from straight lines with some curves to angled creases.

Even the wheels look more like that of an SUV than carlike. The TourX roof line is also a bit sportier than most wagons, with a gentle slope ending at the rear hatch. The back end is dressed up with high-mounted brake lights in the spoiler, but it’s a bit bland and not as moving as the rest of the vehicle.

The drive in this Buick wagon is also surprising. The 250 horsepower turbo engine is peppy enough to keep up with traffic, even with all seats occupied and several weeks of luggage in the back. It might not be the best sounding engine on the market, but closed windows drown out that sound. Overall, the ride is mostly quiet with just a bit of noise at higher speeds.

The TourX packs AWD, so grip on wet roads is no issue and the handling is confident. The daily drive is pleasant enough, with the Buick absorbing most bumps with ease and little to no harshness, even on bumpy roads.

The TourX has a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission that helps with fuel economy through early shifting, maybe even a little faster than I like. I have no complaints on the vehicle’s mpg; I saw 30+ on the highway and about 28 mpg for the week.

Another area of strength for this wagon is the vision out of the car. The tons of glass makes for minimal blind spots.

A week with the Buick Regal TourX has shown me that you don’t have to have a crossover to have a capable people mover. With a lower price point, this Buick wagon offers a touch of luxury and exclusiveness for those who dare to be different.

Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by DriveShop, FMI or Motus One for the purpose of this review.

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