Buick did something rather risky when it comes to the new, sixth-generation Regal: it replaced the sedan body style with the Regal Sportback. The model looks somewhat like a sedan, but features a unique liftback-style rear hatch that, when opened, raises the rear decklid as well as the rear glass area, resulting in more cargo room.
The body style is rather unique, and Buick touts it as providing “unexpected versatility”. In addition to the Sportback, the U.S. market gets the Regal TourX – a ruggedized wagon that places the Tri-Shield into new territory that it refers to as “whitespace“. But there is a third body style for the sixth-generation Regal family that is not well-known. That body style is the traditional Regal Sedan.
Buick has elected to continue offering the traditional sedan body style of the new, sixth-generation Regal in the Chinese market. In fact, the sedan is the only Regal body style offered in China. The difference between the Chinese-market Regal Sedan and U.S.-market Regal Sportback isn’t readily apparent to the unsuspecting passer-by. In fact, one truly has to look closely to see it – but the tell-tale signs are in the trunk area and C-pillar treatment: on the Regal Sedan, the C-pillar is thinner and the decklid is longer than on the Regal Sportback. In other words, the Regal Sedan looks like a traditional sedan, while the Sportback has “something strange” going on after the mid-point of the rear window. A side-by-side look tells the entire picture.
We imagine that the difference in body styles is the result of the assembly location of each model: the Regal Sedan is made exclusively in China, for China. The Sportback (and TourX), meanwhile, are assembled for Buick at the Opel Russelsheim plant in Germany. The plant makes the Opel-Vauxhall Insignia equivalents for Europe, where the traditional sedan body style is not available.
Something tells us that if the Russelsheim plant were also making the Insignia sedan, then North American markets would have received that model, rather than the Sportback. In a similar vein, if the SGM Jinqiao plant (which makes the Chinese-market Regal Sedan) were supplying Regals for the U.S. market, then we would have only received the Sedan variant… but we digress.
And so there you have it: the sixth-gen Regal is actually offered in three body styles globally – the traditional Sedan, the liftback-style Sportback, and the TourX rugged wagon.
About Buick Regal
The Buick Regal is a midsize-size premium passenger vehicle line that is currently in its sixth generation and slots above the compact Excelle and Verano (in China) and below the full-size LaCrosse (in North American and in China). The Regal family currently consists of the following models:
- Regal Sportback – a four-door, sedan-like model with a liftback trunk (U.S. and Canada)
- Regal GS (Regal Sportback GS) – a four-door Regal Sportback with several performance upgrades (U.S and Canada)
- Regal TourX – a five-door ruggedized wagon (U.S.)
- Regal Sedan – a traditional four-door sedan (China)
Buick revealed the all-new Regal in April 2017 at the New York Auto Show and the vehicles launched for the 2018 model year. The sixth-gen model is based on the GM E2 platform, which also underpins the 2016 and newer Chevrolet Malibu and upcoming Cadillac XT4. The Regal is also sold as the second-generation Opel-Vauxhall Insignia and the NG 2018 Holden Commodore in Australia and New Zealand by GM subsidiary Holden.
Prior to the launch of the sixth-gen model, the fifth-generation Regal was available for a total of seven model years, from 2011 thru 2017. That model rode on the GM Epsilon II platform also shared with the first-gen Opel-Vauxhall Insignia and eighth-generation Malibu.
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