Test Drive: Great to see 2018 Buick Regal TourX sport-wagon

We’ve been fans of sport wagons since the 1990s, when we owned a 1987 Volvo 740 wagon with a turbocharged engine. It combined driving enjoyment, durability and versatility in a way no car we’ve owned, before or since, was able to match. But the 740 had its share of predecessors, including the Cutlass-based Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser and the Skylark-based Buick Sport Wagon of the 1960s and ’70s. It therefore was pleasing to see Buick re-enter the sport-wagon game with the 2018 Regal TourX.

Based on the Regal, a 4-door sedan, the TourX is a midsized 5-passenger wagon that dips into the sport-utility category by featuring all-wheel drive. But it qualifies as a sport wagon rather than an SUV because of its low-slung frame and agility.

The base Regal TourX starts at $29,995, followed by the Preferred, at $32,670. Our top-of-the-line test car, the Essence, is a near-luxury wagon with such features as leather upholstery, navigation, adaptive cruise control, heated power front seats, blind-spot monitor and panoramic sunroof. It was priced just under $40,000.

2018 Buick Regal TourX

With 18-inch all-season tires, the TourX Essence rides firmly and even harshly at times. Versions with 17-inch tires likely would ride more smoothly and a little more quietly, but the bigger wheels and tires give the TourX an aggressive demeanor. Still, we were impressed with the car’s road feel, steering response and stability during hard cornering. While we never drove longer than an hour at a time, we felt the seats would remain comfortable during longer trips.

Equally impressive was the TourX’s interior layout. There is plenty of legroom for tall drivers and room for adult passengers in the back seat. The rear compartment is long and narrow, and with the rear seat lowered, it holds 73.5 cubic feet of cargo.

Like most Buicks we’ve driven, the TourX has simple, easy-to-read controls for systems such as audio, navigation and climate. But that isn’t meant to imply the TourX lacks today’s technology. All TourX models have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a WiFi system we found easy to use during a two-hour round trip with family.

Buick’s Regal line, built in Germany, includes a sedan and hatchback, both available with a 3.6-liter, 310-horsepower engine. The base engine in Regal sedans and hatchbacks, and in all TourX models, is a 2.0-liter turbocharged Four that produces 250 horsepower, and delivers 21 mpg city, 29 highway. Without really trying, we did a little better than that in mostly highway driving, breaking the 30-mpg barrier in most trips. Buick recommends the use of premium unleaded gasoline.

Crash-test data for the TourX are unavailable. The 2017 Regal received an overall 5-star rating in government crash tests, the highest possible rating.

Through June, sales of Regal sedans, hatchbacks and wagons were up 45 percent compared with the previous year. Competing models include the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and Subaru Outback; many of today’s best sport wagons are much more expensive models by Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Jaguar and Volvo.

2018 Buick Regal TourX AWD Essence

Price: $39,705

Engine: 2-liter inline turbocharged Four, 250 horsepower, 295 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic

Drive: all-wheel

Weight: 3,849 lb.

Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear

Wheels: 18-in. aluminum

Tires: P235/50R18 all-season

Seating capacity: 5

Luggage capacity: 32.7 cu. ft.

Maximum cargo capacity: 73.5 cu. ft.

Fuel capacity: 16.3 gal.

Fuel economy: 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway

Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline (recommended)

Steven Macoy ([email protected]) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.