16 Best & Worst Buick Regal Years (With Pictures)

The Buick Regal, as the name would suggest, is a majestic sedan that started out as a 1990 model year. 

It stands out for its blend of luxury and performance, appealing to those who appreciate a comfortable ride with a sporty edge.

In this article, we’ll be taking a deep dive into all of the best and worst model years of the Regal.

2017 Buick Regal

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Buick Regal Are:

The best Buick Regal model years are 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2004, 2003, and 2002. The worst model years of this model are 2011, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 1996. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Buick Regal?

2017 and 2016 Buick Regal

The 2017 and 2016 Regal model years are the final model years of this specific nameplate (the Sportback variant took over from 2018 onwards).

They combined  luxury with value, positioned between midsize and entry-level luxury sedans. 

These models come with simplified trim offerings and are equipped with an enhanced IntelliLink system for improved connectivity, including Apple CarPlay compatibility. 

Dropping the eAssist hybrid, it features a 2.4-liter base engine, delivering modest performance with 182 hp. 

There is an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that offers a robust 259 horsepower. 

Despite its power, fuel economy lags slightly behind competitors, with the base engine rated at 23 MPG for combined city and highway driving (according to the EPA).

While its interior may not match full luxury standards, its ample features, smooth ride, and advanced safety options make it a compelling choice.

2017 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 84 / 100

2016 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 82 / 100

2016 Regal, Edmunds Review:

“Never thought I’be be buying a Buick but i really love this car. It drives great. If you live in snowy New England, this car is a great way to have great traction without having to have an SUV. This car matches up well with the Audi A4 at almost $10,000 less. And it uses regular gas!”

2016 Buick Regal

2015 and 2014 Buick Regal

The 2015 and 2014 Regal model years are fifth-gen vehicles that are still up and about on the road and are available at affordable prices in the used car market. 

These cars are rejuvenated with a 259-horsepower turbocharged engine, offering a compelling blend of performance and efficiency. 

Also introduced is an optional all-wheel drive for a more stable and grippy driving experience.  

While its eAssist 2.4-liter option lags in acceleration, the turbo variant provides lively dynamics, positioning the Regal as an attractive alternative within the premium sedan market. 

The interior also sees a modern makeover with an 8-inch touchscreen.

Safety features are robust, including available blind-spot monitoring and collision mitigation. 

2015 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 83 / 100

2014 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 83 / 100

2014 Regal, Edmunds Review:

“I have had the car for exactly 2 years. I still love the look and feel of the car… The best feature is the adaptive cruise control. I must have on any car I buy in the future. Overall, I am still satisfied with the car.”

2013 Buick Regal

The 2013 Regal stands out with its eAssist model offering high fuel economy, and the GS model delivering robust performance. 

A wealth of standard features, alongside the IntelliLink electronics interface, enhances the user experience with advanced smartphone integration. 

Its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is optional. We recommend this for more dynamic driving capabilities. 

This sedan impresses with its mix of efficiency, technology, and power, packaged within a reasonably priced, feature-rich vehicle. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 82 / 100

2013 Regal, Edmunds Review:

“I bought a 2013 Regal GS in March of 2013. The driving dynamics are awesome, the car handles all kinds of curves and road conditions excellently…”

2012 Buick Regal

The 2012 Regal offers diverse choices for midsize sedan enthusiasts, featuring three distinct trims: Base, Turbo, and the sporty GS. 

The Base and Turbo models run on a 2.4-liter engine, with the Turbo variant boasting 220 horsepower. 

The GS trim, however, is the performance highlight, packing a 270-horsepower punch. 

All models boast an EPA-certified combined 25 MPG, ensuring efficiency without compromising on power. 

Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction control, and full-length side curtain airbags. 

The Regal’s interior is equipped with the IntelliLink system for smartphone integration, enhancing the driving experience.

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 80 / 100

2012 Regal, Edmunds Review:

“Have owned this car for 2 months and can report that it does meet the gas mileage specs if you are light on the gas pedal. In addition, the interior is very nicely done, the climate control is excellent, and the seats are great. Exterior styling is also excellent, with many positive comments…”

2012 Buick Regal

2004, 2003, and 2002 Buick Regal

The 2004, 2003, and 2002 Regal models are fourth-gen versions that appeal to those seeking a spacious and comfortable ride, thanks to a powerful supercharged V6 engine.

The interior is spacious and displays a vintage design that lacks modern features common in its contemporaries (which may be good or bad, depending on owner preferences). 

These models also come with minor updates, including new wood trim and an enhanced ETR audio system with speed-sensing volume, RDS, and CD player capabilities. 

2017 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2016 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2016 Regal:

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2002 Regal, Edmunds Review:

“Having never owned a GM car, I was not sure what to expect. I’d done a lot of research and, for the value, the Buick Regal kept coming up. I found a beauty, a 2002 for $3,000. Looks and runs like new, great power, luscious leather interior (spotless), one of the finest sound systems I’ve ever heard, hugs the road like a bear. I absolutely love this car…”

2004 Buick Regal

Consumer Scores For Best Buick Regal Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
J.D. Power
Consumer Rating
2017 Buick Regal4.4 / 5.04.4 / 5.084 / 100
2016 Buick Regal4.3 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2015 Buick Regal4.6 / 5.04.4 / 5.083 / 100
2014 Buick Regal4.2 / 5.04.4 / 5.083 / 100
2013 Buick Regal4.2 / 5.04.4 / 5.082 / 100
2012 Buick Regal4.1 / 5.04.4 / 5.080 / 100
2004 Buick Regal4.8 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2003 Buick Regal4.8 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2002 Buick Regal4.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA

Related: How Long Do Buick LaCrosse Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Buick Regal?

2011 Buick Regal

The 2011 Regal is the most problematic model year ever produced.

It experienced numerous engine and cooling problems, raising concerns about its reliability.

Owners reported a variety of distinct engine and cooling issues, ranging from unexpected acceleration while parking to complete engine shutdowns during driving. 

Several instances included the vehicle stalling in traffic, posing significant safety risks. 

Problems with the throttle body leading to power loss were common, and many faced issues with the timing chain, resulting in engine failures. 

The car’s tendency to consume oil excessively and issues with the camshaft position actuator solenoid were also noted. 

“Preparing to park into a parking space in an off-street parking lot, the vehicle forcefully and rapidly accelerated on its own and crashed into a fence. I was not accelerating. I attempted to stop the car using the brakes but they did not engage quickly enough to stop the rapid, forceful, and without warning acceleration…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2011 Regal had a total of 91 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 421 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Timing chain issue
  • Engine shuts off while driving
  • Transmission will not engage
2011 Buick Regal

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 Buick Regal

The 1997 to 2001 Regal model years were very problematic and should be avoided at all costs.

Owners of these models experienced significant issues with the engine and cooling system.

A recurrent concern was engine compartment fires, which occurred under various circumstances, including shortly after the vehicle was parked or while being driven.

These fires often resulted in significant damage or total loss of the vehicle. 

Additionally, owners faced complications with the vehicle’s recall process, as parts were frequently unavailable, leading to delays in essential repairs. 

“The contact owns a 1998 Buick Regal. While parking the vehicle in the garage, the contact noticed smoke coming from the hood. The engine caught on fire without warning. The contact extinguished the fire with a fire extinguisher. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The failure mileage was 133,000.” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 1997 Regal had a total of 2 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 146 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 1998 Regal had a total of 22 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 318 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 1999 Regal had a total of 6 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 268 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2000 Regal had a total of 59 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 211 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2001 Regal had a total of 9 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 211 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Power window failure
  • Blinker makes the car shut off
  • Trim around windows coming apart
  • Brake lines rusted
  • Brake failure
  • Faulty ignition switch
  • Transmission failure
  • Dashboard lights blinking
  • Engine shuts down while driving
  • Car will not start
  • Will not shift into reverse 
  • Caught on fire
  • Engine overheating

1996 Buick Regal

The 1996 Buick Regal faced significant issues with its brake foundation components, leading to safety concerns. 

These issues included worn brake pads, damaged front rotors, and faulty brake hoses. 

Notably, several owners experienced complete hydraulic system failures, resulting in loss of vehicle control and, in some cases, property damage due to running off the road. 

Complaints also mentioned hard-to-apply brake pedals that emitted popping and cracking sounds, suggesting potential underlying mechanical faults. 

These recurring brake-related issues highlight the 1996 Regal’s challenges in maintaining reliable and safe braking performance.

“On three occasions the vehicle accelerated out of control. After the second occasion, the vehicle was towed to the dealership. Dealer could not find a problem. On (5) or (6) occasions the brake pedal has been extremely hard to apply. They popped and cracked. Because this does not happen when taken to the dealership, they have stated that nothing was wrong with the vehicle.” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 1996 Regal had a total of 8 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 208 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Intake manifold corroded
  • Transmission hesitates
  • Thumping sound from rear when activating brakes

Related: How Long Do Chrysler 200 Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
(CarComplaints.com)
Problems
(CarProblemZoo.com)
Recalls
(NHTSA.gov)
2017 Buick Regal3200
2016 Buick Regal6521
2015 Buick Regal5470
2014 Buick Regal14472
2013 Buick Regal131255
2012 Buick Regal141276
2011 Buick Regal914214
2004 Buick Regal9894
2003 Buick Regal111275
2002 Buick Regal101295
2001 Buick Regal92118
2000 Buick Regal5921110
1999 Buick Regal62688
1998 Buick Regal223187
1997 Buick Regal21468
1996 Buick Regal82084

What Problems Do Buick Regal Have?

  • Brakes fail to engage
  • Timing chain issue
  • Engine failure
  • Power windows stopped working
  • Blinker causes car to shut down
  • Trim around windows coming apart
  • Engine stalls while driving
  • Transmission does not engage
  • Dashboard lights blinking

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Buick Regal?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Accord8.7$24,008 – $31,449City: 22 – 30 /Highway: 32 – 38
Mazda68.6$22,240 – $32,462City: 23 – 26 /Highway: 31 – 35
Toyota Camry8.5$24,201 – $34,822City: 22 – 29 /Highway: 31 – 41
Kia Optima8.4$20,194 – $24,612City: 21 – 27 /Highway: 30 – 37
Ford Fusion8.3$20,078 – $25,629City: 20 – 23 /Highway: 29 – 34
Nissan Altima8.1$21,006 – $26,951City: 25 – 28 /Highway: 34 – 39
Subaru Legacy8.1$23,131 – $33,738City: 24 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 35
Hyundai Sonata8.0$21,478 – $27,404City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 36 – 38
Chevrolet Malibu7.9$19,677 – $24,240City: 22 – 29 /Highway: 32 – 36
Volkswagen Passat7.8$20,742 – $26,005City: 23 / Highway: 34
Buick Regal7.6$18,913 – $29,785City: 19 – 22 /Highway: 27 – 32

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 6 Most Common Ford Fusion Problems (Explained)

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/buick/regal

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/buick/regal

https://www.edmunds.com/buick/regal/2017/review/

https://www.kbb.com/buick/regal/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2017/buick/regal

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Buick/Regal/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/buick/regal/

https://www.cars.com/research/buick-regal/recalls/

https://www.nhtsa.gov/

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

    View all posts