What It Is: The next-generation Opel Insignia wagon was recently spotted in Europe. The Insignia is known as the Buick Regal on our shores. This heavily camouflaged pre-production vehicle hints at the design of the forthcoming entry-level luxury car. Although the current-generation Regal is sold strictly as a sedan in the United States, General Motors’ decision to file for the trademarks Tourx and Regal Tourx gives us hope that the next Regal will be offered in both sedan and wagon variants. In fact, we expect the Regal to be sold here also as an SUV-style model with a raised suspension and exterior body cladding, similar to the Opel Insignia Country Tourer.
Why It Matters: Wagons were a longtime staple of the Buick lineup, and the return of such a model to the brand would be a boon for those of a nostalgic bent. More important, a Regal wagon provides Buick, and GM overall, with a competitor to vehicles such as the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro, the BMW 3-series wagon, the Subaru Outback, and the Volvo V60. Granted, it’s a small segment, but it’s a prestigious and Eurocentric one that could give Buick’s image a boost.
Platform: The Buick Regal and the Opel Insignia are expected to ride on GM’s E2XX platform, which underpins the current Chevrolet Malibu. As with the Malibu, the new platform will provide the next Regal with better packaging than the current car, allowing more space for people and cargo.
Powertrain: While the Regal sedan will likely offer a choice of four-cylinder engines under its hood, we expect the North American Regal wagon’s powertrain to be powered by one small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engine (either the Malibu’s 163-hp 1.5-liter unit or its 250-hp 2.0-liter unit). Front-wheel drive will be standard while the higher-riding, crossover-like model will be available with all-wheel drive.
Competition: Audi A4 Allroad Quattro, BMW 3-series wagon, Subaru Outback, Volvo V60
Estimated Arrival and Price: Look for the new Regal sedan and wagon to be unveiled early next year, with sales to begin soon after. Expect pricing to start in the high $20,000s for the wagon, with fully loaded all-wheel-drive models closing in on the $40,000 mark.