Video review: 2018 Buick Regal TourX

Buick is taking aim at the Subaru Outback with its latest Regal TourX.

With utility vehicles now dominating the market, it's little wonder that automakers are trying to fill every crossover niche. The crossover-coupe segment is arguably the strongest offshoot of the standard CUV market, but off-road wagons are also making some surprising inroads.

For the last few decades Americans have shunned the wagon, but long roofs are starting to make a mini comeback on the coattails of the booming SUV market. Americans may hate station wagons, but they aren't so averse to the idea of a toughened-up wagon that includes some SUV cues. Noticing that trend, Buick launched its own SUV-like wagon for 2018, and we just had to see what all the fuss was about.

What is it?Buick's entrant into the wagon-turned-SUV market is called the Regal TourX. Buick's answer to the Subaru Outback is largely based on the Regal Sportback and has a decidedly European feel thanks to its Opel engineering. The TourX differentiates itself from the crowd with a massive footprint, powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a clever all-wheel drive system. However, the TourX's off-road ability is limited by a lack of ground clearance.

What's it up against?The Buick Regal TourX's main rivals include the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. However, the Audi Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country also compete in the same general space, albeit at a higher price point. A plethora of traditional SUVs and CUVs are also vying for your spending dollars in place of the TourX.

What does it look like?In short, like nothing you'd expect from Buick. The Regal TourX looks sleek and modern, with its long and low roof giving it a sportier appearance than the vast majority of crossovers currently on the market.

One surprising thing about the TourX is its sheer size. Despite being based on the mid-size Regal Sportback, the TourX is about three-inches longer than the three-row Toyota Highlander. That extra sheet metal makes the TourX a bit more stylish, but it also makes it harder to park than the competition.

The Regal TourX's signature design feature is a chrome accent strip that runs up and over the wagon's window line and finishes in the rear taillights. Most people we've talked to actually like the chrome strip, but it's just a little too busy to our eyes. But, as always, your mileage may vary.

The only styling cues that really differentiate the TourX from the standard Sportback (aside from obvious wagon configuration) are some plastic cladding intended to give the wagon a tougher look and a slightly higher ride height.

And the inside?The interior of the Regal TourX has the feel of a near-premium European vehicle, which is again owed to its Opel roots. The TourX's dash is simple but also stylish, with curves and angles in all the right places. Materials are also good, with soft-touch plastics everywhere and aesthetically pleasing contrast stitching on most of the leather surfaces.

The TourX's gauge cluster is refreshingly simple and clearly laid out. The TourX's infotainment system is logically arranged with intuitive menus. The system is capable of running Android Auto and Apple CarPlay if you prefer those operating systems.

The TourX's climate controls are shared with other Buick vehicles and are easy to operate, at least for most of the time. We say most of the time because the TourX's cup holders are located directly in front of the HVAC panel so you have to decide between bringing along your morning coffee or being able to change the interior temperature.

The TourX's front seats are comfortable and supportive, with just enough side bolstering to keep you in place. However, it should be noted that the TourX's seating position is much lower than that of a traditional crossover. A high seating position is often a CUV selling point, so keep that in mind when shopping.

Rear seat passengers benefit the most from the TourX's long footprint. There's enough space in the second row's footwell to lie down and take a nap. Headrooms is also generous, even with the optional — and massive — panoramic sunroof.

Cargo space is also a TourX selling point. Even with the second row seats in place, there's plenty of room for a run to your favorite big box store. Lower the TourX's rear seats and you could probably fit a buffalo in the back.

But does it go?The Regal TourX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that provides plenty of punch. Total output stands at 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Thanks to all that torque — which equals that of the turbo and supercharged Volvo V90 — the TourX can effortlessly speed away from a stop. When asked for more power on the go, we found the eight-speed auto willing to kick down a cog or two. Fuel economy is a decent 24 mpg in mixed driving.

The TourX's all-wheel drive system is able to send up to 100 percent of the engine's power to a single wheel. Although we weren't able to sample the system on any kind of demanding off-road trails, it handled high-speed gravel road runs with aplomb. The TourX only has 5.8-inches of ground clearance, so its off-roadability is more limited by ride height than traction.

The upside of that lack of ground clearance in a lower center of gravity that results in better handling. The Regal TourX feels much more nimble and sure-footed than an SUV of similar size; it zips around corners without any noticeable body lean or general complaining.

The Buick Regal TourX is pricier than its rivals, so you'll have to decide if it's worth the extra cash compared to the Subaru and VW. Regal TourX prices start at about $30,000, but can stretch into the 40-grand range with options.

Leftlane's bottom lineThe 2018 Buick Regal TourX is another welcome entrant into the don't-call-it-a-wagon segment. The TourX offers sharp styling, a spacious and premium-feeling cabin, and solid driving dynamics.

The only real causes for pause with the Regal TourX are a high asking price and a low ride height. But if you've got the bankroll and aren't planning to do much off-roading, the 2018 Buick Regal TourX could be a solid alternative to a traditional crossover.

2018 Buick Regal TourX Essence AWD base price, $35,020. As tested, $41,550.Sights and sound package, $1,095; Driver confidence package #1, $1,725; Panoramic moonroof, $1,200; Driver confidence package #2, $1,190; Smoked pearl metallic paint, $395; Destination, $925.

Photos by Drew Johnson.

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