Small SUVs have become so abundant that the basic, breadbox design is burned into our brains.
* Model: 2019 Buick Regal TourX Essence AWD
* Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbo
* Horsepower: 250
* Transmission: 8-speed automatic
* Fuel economy: 29 mpg highway, 21 mpg city
* Local Dealer: Integrity Cadillac Buick GMC
* Price (as tested): $37,195
Maybe that's why the low-slung 2019 Buick Regal TourX, which Car & Driver calls the "anti-crossover," is so striking. Our mind's eye wants to force the four corners of the TourX up and out, like cube. A shoulder-high wagon with a ground clearance that can barely straddle an upright Coke can feels like an optical illusion.
Does this car have a lowered suspension? Did it melt?
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No, and no.
After your eyes adjust to the horizontal lines of the Buick Regal TourX, its beauty begins to sink in. After all, not everything on four wheels has to look like a shoe box.
"Best-looking Buick I've seen in years," remarked a car-guy friend of mine.
"That's an interesting looking car," my wife said, and she meant it in a good way.
Our two sons, ages 12 and 17, were more dubious; but then they didn't grow up in the station-wagon era like I did. (Long live the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser!) Meanwhile, the runaway success of the Subaru Outback proves that there's a place in the market for a well-executed wagon.
The Regal TourX tries to piggyback on the Outback's success, although it's really more stylistically akin to a Volvo V60, as my 12-year-old son pointed out. The Outback reads "rugged," while the Regal TourX telegraphs "refinement." In some ways the Regal TourX feels European, which is only natural since it's essentially an Opel.
Buicks are available locally at Integrity Buick GMC Cadillac at 6025 International Drive. Late this week, the dealership had four 2019 Regal TourXs in digital inventory, all with significant available discounts.
WHAT IS IT? The 2019 Buick Regal TourX is a five-passenger, all-wheel-drive wagon equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine making 250 horsepower. Our tester, provided for a one-week try-out by Buick, is the top trim Essence model, and has an MSRP of $37,195.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? While our tester tops $37,000, a basic Regal TourX can be had for $29,070 before discounts. The mid-trim Preferred model, meanwhile, has a base asking price of $32,670. The only significant option on our well-equipped tester is a power sliding panoramic sunroof for $1,200.
WHAT WE LIKED: Our logbook's list of "likes" included the panoramic sunroof, a 74-cubic-foot cargo area (with the second row seat folded), the TourX's head-turning good looks and its easy-to-use telematics.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The all-black interior lacks visual interest, head-room is limited and a small rear window restricts visibility.
DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: The Outback has about three inches more ground clearance but benefits from a low center of gravity provided by its low-riding boxer engine. The Regal TourX gets its road hugging dynamics from its lower stance, just 5.7-inches off the ground. The turbocharged engine is smooth and powerful and the eight-speed transmission shifts effortlessly.
BOTTOM LINE: If you are willing to give up some ride height without losing much cargo area, the Buick Regal TourX offers great value and a high level of refinement. The standard all-wheel-drive system is a plus.
Contact Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.
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