Buick Regal lives on in China, gets visual and tech updates

Axed from the American market after the 2020 model year, the Buick Regal lives on in China. It’s selling well enough across the Pacific for the General Motors-owned brand to justify investing in a round of updates that includes a new-look exterior design and more interior tech.

Chinese buyers only have access to the sedan variant of the Regal; the TourX wagon briefly sold on our shores isn’t available. The facelift includes sharper-looking headlights, a big grille that occupies most of the space on a redesigned front bumper, and Buick’s new logo. Not much has changed when you look at the Regal from the side, it still features an upswept line that runs across the bottom of both doors, and Buick chose not to publish photos of the rear end which strongly suggests little has been updated. New wheel designs are available as well.

Most of the changes made to the interior fall in the technology basket. Buick notably added its QuietTuning noise-cancelling function, which promises to make the cabin quieter, while shift-by-wire technology frees up space for two big cupholders on the center console. Connectivity is part of the package, too: Buick’s eConnect infotainment system includes an artificial intelligence-powered Baidu voice assistant.

Power for China’s Regal comes from a turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine whose output hasn’t been released. Alternatively, the list of options includes a 2.0-liter turbo-four rated at 233 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It spins the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. In contrast, the Regal sold here was available with anywhere from 250 to 310 horsepower depending on the trim.

Pricing for the 2023 Buick Regal starts at 159,800 Chinese yuan, which represents around $22,400.

China is the Regal’s last bastion. Buick left the sedan segment in the United States after it swept the Regal out of its range in 2020, and no evidence credibly suggests that a successor for our market is in the pipeline. Opel — which General Motors sold to Peugeot in 2017 — developed the Regal and sold its own version of it called Insignia across Europe until 2022. Here again, the model won’t be directly replaced. Continuing our global tour, Australia-based Holden tried to market a variant of the Insignia as a replacement for the rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered Commodore from 2018 to 2020. The model flopped and retired after a lackluster career, and Holden closed shortly after.

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