COAL: 2018 Opel Insignia Country Tourer or Buick Regal Estate? – No Matter, The TourX Is All Mine!

“Did you call it a ‘Dad Car’ or a ‘Dan Car’?” I asked her quizzically.

“A ‘Dad Car’” she responded.

We had been at a late in the season graduation party where my wife had been talking to an old friend who worked at the local Ford dealer. This someone works in the finance department.

My wife told her it was a “Regal TourX.”

“Never heard of it” her friend responded.

I purchased the car as a leftover 2018 on June 12 and we left for vacation on June 19. We traveled approximately 3700 miles during the two week vacation and did not see a single current generation Regal, let alone a TourX. I saw an Audi A8, A7, A6, and A4 driving into Memphis, TN on a single day… but not a TourX. I saw a 90’s Chrysler Laser convertible with classic plates being towed by a motorhome… but not a TourX. I lost count of the Teslas I saw… but did not see a TourX. I saw at least THREE Buick Cascada convertibles… but not a TourX. My point is that this car is rare which is gratifying given that I hate pulling up next to myself at every stop light but maddening given that I think this is a great and underappreciated alternative to crossovers that are in the same price class. 

Let me address the common complaints I’ve seen in the reviews of the TourX. The transmission – the 8-speed auto can be a bit lazy and sluggish at low speeds when dropping down and grabbing the next gear. Especially in situations that are easy to catch a transmission off guard like a low speed turn from one street to another and then applying throttle to power out of the pocket. I have also driven examples of GMs 9-speed auto and it is better in this regard. Some have complained about interior quality. I really haven’t found fault with the quality of the actual materials used. I think the cloth is suitable for the price point, better than the cloth GMC uses in my experience, and better than the shiny scratchy cloth found in many vehicles in our modern era. The carpet is a bit thicker than what I see in the mass market brands like Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. Buick even saw fit to run the carpet up the sides of the cargo area to roughly the level of the cargo cover/shade in the rear. 

With approximately 6500 miles on the odometer I’ve been averaging 27 mpg but that is with a bit more than 3000 of those miles having been highway and the rest almost exclusively city. During our family vacation the best tank was achieved in the stretch between Tucumcari, NM to Yukon, OK 363.7 miles, hand calculated at 30.1 mpg (trip computer usually shows 1 mpg better.) The worst stretch was on the return trip from Weatherford, OK to Vega, TX 224.2 miles with a 26 mpg calculation (didn’t stop because gas was needed, simply stopped for lunch and decided to get gas in the meantime.) 

The product planners at Buick think this is a Subaru Outback competitor but I wonder if anyone told the engineers at Buick and Opel? The Outback is a two row station wagon with 8 inches of ground clearance masquerading as a CUV, the TourX is a two row station wagon with less than 6 inches of ground clearance visually pretending that it’s an Outback.

(plenty of leg room for my 5’11” self, driver’s seat set for me and passenger seat set for my 5’3″ wife)

But it drives like a sedan, it has the ride height and hip point of a sedan. You get down into it. You’ll be looking UP at someone driving a Fiat 500L. Best of all it drives like a sports sedan/wagon. A lower center of gravity, neutral feeling handling (you don’t feel like you are being pushed or pulled), a turbo to give a broad torque curve, and an AWD system that is designed for fun in the curves combine to make a car that you can drive like grandma to church on Sunday or in a manner that will get you points against your license. 

Power is from a two liter turbo four-cylinder rated for 250 hp and 295 lb ft of torque when running on premium gasoline. The charge that enthusiasts usually level against two liter turbo 4s is that they are characterless as engines go. While I agree that no one is going to release a CD of “Greatest Hits of the Turbo 4” the engine does its job well. I can remember when a 6.3 second 0-60 and a 14.7 quarter mile were properly quick, heck having been born in 1977 this car stomps all over most of the cars I lusted over during my misspent high school years.

Things are a little slow off the line but as the turbo swells the scenery starts to blur a bit. Peak torque is reached between 3000 and 4000 rpm but it isn’t as if the torque falls off a cliff at that point, there is still plenty of usable torque at RPMs that regular people actually drive at. When the cruise is set (even at 85 mph) the transmission tries to keep the party below 2000 rpm as it picks between gears to find the power needed to maintain speed as the terrain changes. Give the accelerator a stab however and the car is quick to respond. There were times when I would boost the revs to get away from traffic etc but would purposefully hold the throttle within the torque peak just to enjoy the thrust. 

I’m also enjoying the “Active Twin-Clutch” AWD system, it is always sending some power to the front or the rear, reassuring for someone whose contract says “Snowday? What snow day?” The system also has the ability to overdrive the outside rear wheel in a turn. What I observe as a driver is that Buick’s handling feels very neutral, neither FWD or RWD until you push it hard in a turn and the “green gear” lights up in the display while the car starts to push with a RWD feel. It is an addictive feeling, good enough to make you start looking for the curvy routes for your commute, being frustrated when the cloverleaf isn’t clear enough for you to let her rip.

The TourX is also a good long distance cruiser. It is quiet inside and there is plenty of legroom for the class, cargo room is generous compared to two row CUVs that sticker in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. Take four on a road trip and all their sundry crap with relative ease. 

I’ve been happy with my purchase and would purchase it again.

In conclusion, below are two pics germane to our badging discussion of the other day, ones that I added that I wish GM would have done in the first place.

First is the little “T” badge that Buick should have included…

… And last but not least, another badge to give the engine the proper recognition that it deserves.