Auto Trends Magazine http://autotrends.org Car reviews, industry news, & advice. Thu, 24 May 2018 17:12:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 SUV Eruption: 2018 Hyundai Kona http://autotrends.org/2018/05/24/suv-eruption-2018-hyundai-kona/ http://autotrends.org/2018/05/24/suv-eruption-2018-hyundai-kona/#comments Thu, 24 May 2018 12:00:39 +0000 http://autotrends.org/?p=12485 Hyundai’s smallest SUV is big on surprises. Let it be known that Hyundai arrived late to the subcompact SUV game. Let it also be known that despite its late entry, the 2018 Kona ranks up there with the very best models available. Indeed, the 2018 Hyundai Kona may have been a long time coming, but […]

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Hyundai’s smallest SUV is big on surprises.

2018 Hyundai Kona
The 2018 Hyundai Kona brings sportiness to the small SUV range.

Let it be known that Hyundai arrived late to the subcompact SUV game. Let it also be known that despite its late entry, the 2018 Kona ranks up there with the very best models available.

Indeed, the 2018 Hyundai Kona may have been a long time coming, but the result is a model that matches well against the competition. And not only that, the all-new Kona is stylish, relatively affordable and offers available fun-to-drive characteristics.

2018 Hyundai Kona

Hyundai offers the 2018 Kona in four trims: SE ($19,500), SEL ($21,150), Limited ($24,700) and Ultimate ($27,400). Add $980 for the destination charge. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive (with a multi-link rear suspension) is a $1,300 option. Hyundai offers two engine choices and two transmission options.

The Kona arrives as Hyundai shakes up its utility vehicle offerings. Slotting beneath the compact Tucson, the Kona is joined by a pair of midsize models: Santa Fe Sport (5 passengers) and Santa Fe (7 passengers). Beginning in 2019, the two models will be known respectively as the Santa Fe (5 passengers) and Santa Fe XL (7 passengers).

2018 Hyundai Kona

From Kona, With Love

As implied, the little Hyundai is named for the Kona community on the west side of the Big Island. Interestingly, the Kona’s arrival to the market coincides with the eruption of the Kilauea volcano, which resulted in Hawaii’s most powerful earthquake in decades, never mind the intense lava flow and the destruction it has caused.

Pele is mad and maybe offering a Hyundai Kona sacrifice will appease it. Is it worth a shot?

Stylish, Modern Exterior

As for the model at hand, it has an unmistakable sporty flair in its design. Its front fascia reminds me of the previous-generation Jeep Cherokee with its narrow LED daytime lights at the top with separate headlamps and fog lights below. The Hyundai grille has a distinct crown shape and the hood offers multiple creases.

Along the sides, you will find deep sculpting, contrasting wheel wells and an upswept belt line. I especially like the touch at the rear roof pillar with the ribbed design meeting the liftgate spoiler. At the rear, you will find narrow wraparound tail lamps and puzzle-like combination lamps.

Standard equipment includes automatic headlights, LED lights, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. Among the upgrades, you will find LED headlights and taillights, front fog lights, cornering lights, roof side rails, a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, power heated side mirrors, and 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels. You can also order a contrasting roof color — light gray or black — on select trims.

2018 Hyundai Kona

A Playful Cabin

Small SUVs mean correspondingly tiny cabins. But at least with this Hyundai, space is used wisely. It also makes for a usable rear seat, something the Ford EcoSport barely offers. I found the driver’s seat quite comfortable and very good sight lines present.

On paper, Hyundai shows room for five. Four is more like it. Cargo space measures 19.2 behind the second-row 60/40 split bench seat. Fold the seat down and you will find 45.8 cubic feet. That’s less than what the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 offer, an arrangement that benefits seating room in the Kona. Hyundai supplies a temporary spare and a storage compartment under the floor starting with the SEL trim.

I will describe the Kona’s interior as “playful,” as in fun. My test model came with eye candy in the form of lime accents circling the vents and ignition button and the transmission shifter. Lime piping graces the seats as well. You will also find an instrument scoop, a large open area at the base of the center stack and ample in-door storage areas. The Kona is definitely geared toward youth who might toss camping gear inside or fit a surfboard on top.

Standard equipment includes power windows and door locks, cloth seats, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column and air conditioning. Options include a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, illuminated vanity mirrors and an automatic dimming rearview mirror.

2018 Hyundai Kona

Safety & Technology Highlights

Customers want tech features and Hyundai is very accommodating. The standard audio package includes six speakers, USB ports, an auxiliary audio jack, a seven-inch touch-screen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and Siri and Google Now support. The connectivity features are at the top of their game — some luxury manufacturers still do not offer them or, as in the case of BMW, charge extra for them.

Options include HD Radio, satellite radio, wireless phone charging and an eight-speaker Infinity audio system. Blue Link connected car services come with the Ultimate trim exclusively.

On the safety front, all models have a rearview camera. Blind spot collision warning with rear cross-traffic assist is standard on all but the base trim. An available SEL Tech package adds Hyundai Smart Sense with forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist and driver attention warning. The Ultimate model adds a head-up display, high beam assist and reverse parking distance warning.

2018 Hyundai Kona

A Matter of Performance

Hyundai supplies two engine choices with the 2018 Kona. The first engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This one is also found in the Elantra and works with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Limited and Ultimate models have a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four cylinder engine, generating 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Hyundai pairs this engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

My test Ultimate came with the hotted-up engine. I’ll reserve my comments about the base engine, which I’ve experienced in the Elantra. Suffice to say, it will get you where you’re going, but not with much excitement.

As for the turbo…oh, yeah! Once you get past the attendant turbo lag, the engine takes over with authority. Step-off acceleration is decent, but full-on power is a blast. My test model had all-wheel-drive and a multi-link independent rear suspension. This combination means the Kona is playful and tossable — take it on a twisty road and you may forget you are driving a utility vehicle. That the Kona sits relatively close to the ground is a benefit too — body roll was virtually non-existent. The transmission shifts gears with precision, serving up the right gear for the moment.

The last time I had as much fun with a tiny SUV as I did with this Hyundai Kona was five years ago. That is when my youngest son and I made the trek through the Appalachians in a Nissan Juke with a manual transmission. The little SUV bobbed and weaved, but it held its own.

I’m thinking the Kona would have performed just as well on that trek, especially when pulling out of switchbacks. It acquitted itself nicely when cornering, something not a lot of small cars are able to do. Mark my words: the turbo all-wheel-drive Kona will make a name for itself.

2018 Hyundai Kona

Parting Thoughts: 2018 Hyundai Kona

The 2018 Kona is more than it has to be, going beyond simply filling a hole in Hyundai’s product line. The new model provides an affordable entry point to the brand and supplies a performance-oriented model when combining the turbo engine with all-wheel drive.

A Kona EV joins the lineup this fall, supplying approximately 250 miles of range on one charge. That’s about 100 miles further than the Nissan Leaf I recently drove and should appeal to consumers in markets where the charging network is strong and the incentives generous.

You will pay about $27,000 for the Kona Limited with all-wheel drive, reflecting the higher price point for utility vehicles. The smaller storage compartment may be its most significant demerit, but that is partially offset by a larger passenger seating area. In all, the Hyundai Kona does more than the new Nissan Kicks and makes the Chevrolet Trax seem downright dated.



2018 Hyundai Kona Specifications

Hyundai 2018 Kona
Segment Subcompact Crossover SUV
Base Sticker Price $20,480 (including $980 destination fee)
Price as tested $29,805 (Ultimate AWD)
Standard Engine 2.0-liter, inline-four
Horsepower 147 @ 6,000 RPMs
Torque (lb.-ft.) 132 @ 4,500 RPMs
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Optional Engine 1.6-liter, turbo I4
Horsepower 175 @ 5,500 RPMs
Torque (lb.-ft.) 195 @ 1,500 to 4,500 RPMs
Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Seating 2+3
Curb Weight (pounds) 2,890 (SE FWD); 3,344 (Limited AWD)
Wheelbase (inches) 102.4
Length (inches) 164.0
Width (inches) 70.9 (without mirrors)
Height (inches) 61.0
Headroom (f,r — inches) 39.6, 37.8
Legroom (f,r — inches) 41.5, 34.6
Shoulder room (f,r — inches) 55.5, 54.5
Hip room (f,r — inches) 53.3, 52.2
Storage (cubic feet) 19.2, 45.8
Gross vehicle weight (pounds) NR
Towing (pounds) Not recommended
Payload (pounds) 915/930
Fuel regular
Fuel Tank (gallons) 13.2
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway) 25/30 (2.0L AWD); 28/32 (1.6L FWD)(
Manufacturing Plant Ulsan, Korea

See AlsoPremium Compact: 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.

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Midnight Edition: 2018 Nissan Titan http://autotrends.org/2018/05/21/2018-nissan-titan-review/ http://autotrends.org/2018/05/21/2018-nissan-titan-review/#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 10:00:20 +0000 http://autotrends.org/?p=12455 On the road with the Titan of all trucks. Pickup trucks are the meat of the auto industry, supplying the profits manufacturers need to shore up their operations. This fact is much more pertinent to the traditional US truck manufacturers — GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — than to competitors such as Nissan, Toyota and […]

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On the road with the Titan of all trucks.

2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab SL Midnight Edtion.
2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab SL Midnight Edtion.

Pickup trucks are the meat of the auto industry, supplying the profits manufacturers need to shore up their operations. This fact is much more pertinent to the traditional US truck manufacturers — GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — than to competitors such as Nissan, Toyota and Honda.

Indeed, all three traditional Japanese companies have done well with cars and their respective luxury brands, but they also must supply pickup trucks to meet customer demand.

Nissan has two offerings in the mix: its midsize Frontier and full-size Titan/Titan XD. The latter pair fulfills most of the models customers want. Like Toyota, Nissan still leaves the heavy-duty market to the Big Three, with maximum tow ratings and dual axles among them.

2018 Nissan Titan

Nissan Titan: Then and Now

The Nissan Titan rolled out in 2004 and was the first full-size Japanese pickup truck capable of taking on the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra and the Dodge Ram 1500.

Initially, demand was strong, although sales never approached Detroit levels. Nissan kept with this model for 12 long years, with sales bottoming out at 12,140 units in 2015 — less than one-seventh of the peak number attained in 2005.

Fortunately, two new models were in the planning stages, beginning with the 2016 Titan XD, a vehicle occupying the white space between light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks and the 2017 Titan, the official replacement for the first-generation model. Nissan did not offer a 2016 Titan.

2018 Nissan Titan

2018 Nissan Titan Overview and Updates

The 2018 Nissan Titan delivers a few changes, including an all-new King Cab, joining the previous Crew and Single Cab models. A few appearance packages are new too, including the Midnight Edition on my test Titan Crew Cab SL model.

Nissan offers the 2018 Titan with standard rear-wheel drive (4×2) and available four-wheel drive (4×4) configurations. The bed length availability varies by cab length. Nissan supplies one powertrain choice: a V8 engine paired with an automatic transmission.

As I have covered this model and the Titan XD extensively before — here, here and here — this time we will drill down and review some of the finer points about Nissan’s largest model. As you might imagine, there is a wealth of details of interest to pickup truck shoppers.

1. A Titan of Flavors

While the first-generation Nissan Titan offered extended (King) and Crew Cab configurations, it lacked a Single Cab option. It was not a big deal for most shoppers as only a small number opt for regular cab models anyway. Still, to be considered a serious player in this business, offering all three means Nissan has something for everyone.

The single cab offers a three-place bench seat, the King Cab has bucket seats up front and a three-place bench seat in the rear (although the rear seat can be deleted), while the Crew Cab matches the King Cab and delivers more cabin room to go with it.

Naturally, the Crew Cab is the roomiest of them all, delivering large knobs, big storage areas and lots of room to maneuver. If you are making the move from a competing brand, you will find the Titan matches up nicely with the best. It stops short of some of the excess offered (here is looking at you, F-150 Platinum), but you can get leather, heated seats and a heated steering wheel.

2018 Nissan Titan

2. Choose Your Trim

Most Nissan products offer upwards of four trims. With the Titan, you have five: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve. On SV and SL models, you can layer the Midnight Edition trim, but only on Crew Cab Models.

The Midnight Edition is new this year, advancing a now common “blacked out” look found on special editions of most full-size pickup trucks. Here, you will find a body-color grille with dark insert, dark headlamps, black fog lamp finisher, black exterior badging, black mirrors and door handles, 20-inch black wheels, body color front and rear bumpers, black step rails and a dark charcoal interior trim. The ME supplies an aggressive look, although some may find it too overpowering for their tastes.

I generally avoid recommending the base model for any vehicle and that holds true for the 2018 Titan. The base model lacks the chrome exterior trim, available satellite radio and trailer sway control common to this segment. Therefore the SV is a good place to start, with the SL offering perhaps the best bang for the buck. That said, expect your sticker price to approach $50,000 for a Crew Cab four-wheel drive model. Discounts are available, so educate yourself about the current offers.

3. One Powerful Powertrain

2018 Nissan TitanChoose a full-size pickup truck and you will find a powerful engine paired with a capable transmission. Nissan keeps things simple by offering just one powertrain combination: a 5.6-liter V8 engine with 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission routes power to the wheels.

This combination delivers the performance you need, moving the Titan a long at a steady clip. Of course, this model weighs nearly three tons, so the engine must be up to the task. We have been waiting for Nissan to sign off on a V6 engine for the Titan, but it has not happened yet. Likely, it will be most suitable for lighter duty applications, but we shall see.

Nissan makes it easy to dial in four-wheel drive, with the expected high and low ranges available. The one thing about taking the Titan off-road is that this truck is so darn big! It can handle light and moderate off-road work just fine, but if you intend to punish it, then opting for the PRO-4X version equipped with all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, and an electronic locking rear differential with the included active brake limited slip (ABLS, what senses wheelspin and brakes accordingly) is the best course of action.

4. Payload and Towing

2018 Nissan TitanPayload and towing are important numbers for any pickup truck. When it comes to the full-size Titan, the big numbers are where you expect to find them: with the Single Cab.

The Single Cab delivers a payload rating of 1,940 pounds (1,950 with 4WD) and towing of 9,740 pounds (9,470 with 4WD). King Cab payload numbers are 1,600/1,630 pounds and towing comes in at 9,400/9,240 pounds. With the Crew Cab, your numbers are 1,590/1,610 pounds for payload and 9,400/9,230 pounds for towing. Customers expect at least a 1,500-pound payload limit and trailering of at least 8,000 pounds with their big trucks. Happily, the 2018 Titan gets the job done.

As a side note, if you need payload pushing 3,000 pounds and towing of about six tons, the Titan XD is your better choice.

5. A Mixed Bag of Technologies

What is the Nissan Titan’s weakest link? Surely, all manufacturers have one. In this case, I found the infotainment interface disappointing. Ram and GM offer much better and easier to use systems; Ford has come along way with its SYNC interface. Toyota is perhaps the weakest of all, especially with its available Scout GPS directions app. That app is not dependable as our family has learned with our 2017 RAV4.

As for the model at hand, the screen is smaller than what we like and has a dated appearance. The standard screen measures five inches, while the available larger screen measures seven inches. You still cannot have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone compatibility and there is just one USB port at the ready. The standard six-speaker audio system is what you would expect to find in a pickup truck. The available 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate package turns things up nicely.

Bluetooth is standard and a 110-volt power outlet is an option. Navigation is another option. All models have a rearview monitor and you can get blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.

2018 Nissan Titan
The optional Titan boxes are located on inside of the cab. Both boxes holds dozens of drinks and ice.
A drain on the bottom lets water out.

Parting Thoughts: 2018 Nissan Titan

So, where does the Nissan Titan stand in a highly competitive segment? In some areas, the Titan is in the thick of things with its powerful V8 engine. Its transmission, however, now trails some models, including Ford with its 10-speed automatic.

Moreover, if you want a different engine choice, you are out of luck. Toyota offers two V8 engine choices, while the US competitors have as many as five options for consumers, including a turbo-diesel. The Cummins diesel in the XD might work here, but it is geared toward power, not efficiency. Notably, Ford, GM and Ram each offer a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine available with highway mileage approaching 30 mpg.

Although the Titan gets it done in most areas, it trails the top competitors. That fact might not matter much with Nissan faithful, but it makes it nearly impossible for Nissan to poach shoppers from the Big Three.

2018 Nissan Titan

2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab Specifications

Nissan 2018 Titan Crew Cab
Segment Full-size pickup truck
Base Sticker Price $35,680 ( plus $1,295 destination charge)
Price as tested $51,610 (SL Midnight Edition 4×4)
Standard Engine 5.6-liter, V8
Horsepower 390 @ 5,800 RPMs
Torque (lb.-ft.) 394 @ 4,000 RPMs
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Seating 5
Curb Weight (pounds) 5,911
Wheelbase (inches) 139.8
Length (inches) 228.1
Width (inches) 79.5
Height (inches) 76.0
Head room (f,r…inches) 41.0; 40.4
Leg room (f,r…inches) 41.8, 38.5
Shoulder room (f,r…inches) 63.3, 63.6
Hip room (f,r…inches) 60.8, 60.3
Storage (inches) 66
Gross vehicle weight (pounds) 7,300
Towing (pounds) 9,230
Payload (pounds) 1,610
Fuel Regular
Fuel Tank (gallons) 26
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway) 15/21
Manufacturing Plant Canton, Mississippi

See AlsoBestseller: 2018 Nissan Rogue

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How to Get Out of a Car Lease Early http://autotrends.org/2018/05/17/how-to-get-out-of-a-car-lease-early/ http://autotrends.org/2018/05/17/how-to-get-out-of-a-car-lease-early/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 12:00:13 +0000 http://autotrends.org/?p=12446 You don’t have to be stuck in a lease until the end of the contract. Car leasing has its advantages, including making it possible for you to get behind the wheel of a more expensive car than you might normally find affordable. Leasing is popular with luxury car drivers and is also available across all […]

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You don’t have to be stuck in a lease until the end of the contract.

Audi Q5
Demand for luxury SUVs is strong, which may make it easier to end a lease on one early.

Car leasing has its advantages, including making it possible for you to get behind the wheel of a more expensive car than you might normally find affordable. Leasing is popular with luxury car drivers and is also available across all vehicle segments. Signing a lease obligates you to make payments until the end of the lease term, but getting out from underneath that obligation early is still possible.

Option One — Lease a different vehicle.

You may be able to end your lease by leasing a new vehicle. The unpaid payments with your original lease would then be rolled into your new lease. However, you will still be making payments for a vehicle you no longer drive.

One way to avoid rolling over the costs of the first lease is to find early release return deals. Under this arrangement the leasing company takes back your current vehicle, forgives your remaining payments and signs you to a new lease. This is more likely to happen with a sought after vehicle or body type. Indeed, you stand a better chance of returning an Audi Q5 SUV early than an Audi A4 sedan. Customer demand for sedans is falling, but continues to rise for SUVs.

Option Two — Return the vehicle.

If you have tired of your leased car, you can take it back to the dealership that arranged the lease. Choose this option and you will still be required to make the remaining lease payments.

Read your lease agreement to determine if monthly payments are acceptable or if a lump-sum payment is required. Be prepared to take a financial bath with this option, but at least it may not ruin your credit.

Option Three — Voluntarily surrender the vehicle.

If you cannot afford your lease payments and are facing possible repossession, you can contact the leasing company and voluntarily have the vehicle repossessed. This is a worst case scenario as your credit rating will suffer.

However, it also means that you will not be saddled with the repossession costs that are typically incurred when a vehicle is involuntarily taken back. Consumers who choose this option have their backs to the wall and likely are considering personal bankruptcy. You might wish to speak with a bankruptcy attorney before choosing this option.

Option Four — Look for a new lessee.

Your lease agreement may allow you to transfer your lease to someone else. If a lease assumption clause is included in your contract, then it allows you to find someone to assume your payments, freeing you from further obligation.

Lease assumptions are popular as the assuming party can get a newer vehicle without the big down payment. Further, lease swappers are able to move from vehicle to vehicle faster. You will pay a fee to the leasing company to complete the transaction and, if you use a service such as SwapALease.com or LeaseTrader.com, you will pay a fee there too.

Examine Your Lease Agreement

Ending a car lease early can free you from a burden you no longer want to carry. There are costs involved and some options are clearly more attractive than others.

Review your lease agreement to verify that no liability remains after the transfer has been completed. The last thing you want is an invoice for an expense on a vehicle you no longer have in your possession.


See AlsoAre Pull-Ahead Lease Offers a Good Deal?

Photo copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.

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Wagon Master: 2018 Buick Regal TourX http://autotrends.org/2018/05/14/wagon-master-2018-buick-regal-tourx/ http://autotrends.org/2018/05/14/wagon-master-2018-buick-regal-tourx/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 10:00:13 +0000 http://autotrends.org/?p=12399 Buick overhauls the Regal line, adds TourX and Sportback models. The Buick Regal has taken on many forms across its long history, including a coupe, sedan and briefly as a wagon. Its previous iteration was as a four-door sedan, a model developed in Germany, then built in Canada for the North American market. Well, sedan […]

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Buick overhauls the Regal line, adds TourX and Sportback models.

2018 Buick Regal TourX
The 2018 Regal line expands to include this TourX wagon.

The Buick Regal has taken on many forms across its long history, including a coupe, sedan and briefly as a wagon. Its previous iteration was as a four-door sedan, a model developed in Germany, then built in Canada for the North American market.

Well, sedan sales have been deteriorating for years and after a seven-year run, Buick cancelled most of the sedan line, although the performance GS remains. Beginning in 2018, an updated Regal portfolio is in place, but this time it also includes a hatchback (Regal Sportback) and a wagon (Regal TourX). As of publication, Buick offers the Sportback in the US and Canada, while the GS sedan and wagon are exclusive to the United States.

The two newest Regals are once again built only in Germany and by Opel. Up until last year, Opel was a GM division, but now owned by Groupe PSA, mainly comprising Peugeot and Citroen, the French automaker.

We cannot explain for certain how or why this arrangement continues, other than to say that when the Opel-to-PSA deal became final, certain models were sharing a common platform and will likely do so for years ahead. No matter, the Regal TourX is an Opel (or a Vauxhall) Insignia in some markets, but it is also a Holden Commodore in Australia. Got it?

2018 Buick Regal TourX

2018 Buick Regal TourX

For this review, we shall look primarily at the test model at hand — the 2018 Regal TourX. Where necessary, we will mention a few things about the Sportback, but not much else. There are some differences between the two, therefore we will not take a deep dive into what we have not driven. Just so you know, Buick markets the Sportback as a “Car,” but it lists the TourX under its “SUV & Crossovers” category.

The 2018 Regal TourX comes in three trim levels: TourX ($29,070), Preferred ($32,670) and Essence ($35,070). These prices do not include the $925 destination and handling charge, nor are taxes, fees, tags or discounts factored in. All models have a turbocharged engine, an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Exterior Highlights

The Regal TourX does not attempt to hide its wagon design and that is a good thing. Up front, it shares a fascia common to the brand with the Buick tri-shield insignia and wing-like chrome bands flowing out from the center. Sleek headlamps and pronounced cutouts for the fog lamps add sporty touches.

The wheel wells come wrapped in contrasting trim, while deep sculpting marks the profile. A rising beltline and falling roofline meet to form the liftgate. The rear fascia has sleek wraparound tail lamps and dual exhaust ports.

Although obviously a wagon, this model adds special styling points, including an upswept rear roof pillar. You will also find chrome door trim that runs from the front to the rear pillars, then intersects with the tail lamps. Whoever said a wagon cannot deliver flair? It is a look I found appealing.

Standard equipment includes halogen headlamps, fog lamps and 18-inch aluminum wheels. Available features include LED headlamps with automatic leveling, a panoramic moonroof, power-heated side mirrors, roof rack rails and a power liftgate.

2018 Buick Regal TourX

Interior Highlights

When it comes to passenger space, the TourX compares with any midsize, two-row SUV. Specifically, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge and the Nissan Murano are three that come to mind. The main difference, of course, between the Buick and this trio is the high profile of the competitors. Other than that, the Buick compares well here.

The TourX interior reminded me of the Buick Enclave, a three-row SUV with nine more inches between the wheels. Plenty of soft-touch materials, chrome and with the Essence model, leather. It is a look that is at once soothing as it is elegant, one that supplies a fitting parallel to the LaCrosse sedan.

The driver-centric instrument panel is big and clear, the center console smartly ordered and uncluttered. The front seats are plush, yet firm. The rear seat holds two adults with ease and three when needed. My test model had leather seats, although cloth seats are standard. The cabin is very quiet and is up there with Buick’s exacting standards.

Standard equipment includes full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column and air conditioning. Among the upgrades you will find are a heated steering wheel, power front seats with lumbar support, heated front seats, ambient lighting and dual-zone climate control.

Not to leave out of the discussion is the storage space behind the second-row seat. Buick supplies 32.7 cubic feet, which is more than the 23.6 cubic feet in the Enclave. But if you fold the third-row seat in the Enclave you have a generous 58 cubic feet. Back to the TourX and you have 73.3 cubic feet behind the first row — that’s ample room to carry your gear — a bicycle, tent, skis, what have you. And that is why Buick offers a standard 60/40 or an available 40/20/40 second-row bench seat.

2018 Buick Regal TourX

Technology & Safety Features

I have long praised Buick for its tech features and the TourX does not disappoint. The audio package includes a 7-inch color touch screen display, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

You will also find a USB port inside the center console and a WiFi system for connecting up to seven devices. Other features include keyless entry and push-button start, remote panic alarm and OnStar connected vehicle services.

Upgrades include HD and satellite radio, navigation, an 8-speaker Bose audio system and remote start. Wireless charging is an option.

Among safety items you will find a rear vision camera. Move up through the trim levels and multiple driver-assist features roll out, including lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and rear park assist. Other features include lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and adaptive cruise control with forward automatic braking. My top-of-the-line Essence trim had all such features present.

2018 Buick Regal TourX

On the Road: 2018 Buick Regal TourX

A station wagon has a V8 engine, right? Or at least a powerful V6. Well, in this case it has neither.

How about a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine? That is exactly what motivates the Regal TourX, delivering 250 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Buick pairs this engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Do these numbers seem underpowered? Well, consider how they stack up with the Buick Lucerne, a full-size model last offered in 2011: that sedan’s 3.9-liter V6 earned 227 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. Further, there was a V8 available as well, delivering 292 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. Thus, the torque number on the TourX beat the old V8 and that is something to keep in mind when considering this model.

Off-the-mark acceleration with the TourX is quite good. When you need extra power, the turbo kicks in with only minimal lag detected. A willing transmission works unnoticed in the background and that is what we like. Direct and weighted steering imbue driver confidence, while the smooth ride should please everyone.

Although not a curve carver, the TourX stays planted. The all-wheel drive system is a big help on wet roads as well as when you pull out of a corner. That’s the main difference between the Sportback and the TourX — the hatchback offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. I think Buick made the right decision by making the TourX all-wheel drive only.

As for off-roading, this wagon is strictly designed for light-duty work — traveling on gravelly roads or dusty paths. Its 6-inch ground clearance means you won’t be following the Outback across a shallow creek or to a sandy beach.

2018 Buick Regal TourX

Parting Thoughts

There is a revival taking place in the wagon market. Besides the TourX, you will find the Subaru Outback, Audi A4 AllRoad, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the Volvo V60 and V90 Cross Country models. We must not leave out the Jaguar XF Sportbrake and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, although both aim squarely at the luxury market.

I found myself almost giddy with the TourX, especially when I showed the vehicle to crossover and minivan owners. For the most part, there was a distinct love it/hate it reaction by some, but then I could see others carefully taking it in. That alone is a good thing as wagons fell out of grace long ago, especially by those who left one for a minivan.

But the market is cyclical and what was once out of favor could very well catch on again. With Buick, there is no need to wait as the 2018 Regal TourX delivers. Choose the well-equipped Essence and you will come away with a loaded model for under $40,000. This represents an important price point for similar crossover SUVs.


2018 Buick Regal TourX


2018 Buick Regal TourX Specifications

Buick 2018 Regal TourX
Segment Small Station Wagon
Base Sticker Price $29,070 ( plus $925 destination charge)
Price as tested $41,550
Standard Engine 2.0-liter, turbo inline-four
Horsepower 250 @ 5,400 RPMs
Torque (lb.-ft.) 295 @ 3,000 to 4,000 RPMs
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Seating 5
Curb Weight (pounds) 3,708
Wheelbase (inches) 111.4
Length (inches) 196.4
Width (inches) 73.1
Height (inches) 59.1
Head room (f,r…inches) 38.8; 39.0
Leg room (f,r…inches) 42.1, 36.9
Shoulder room (f,r…inches) 56.9, 55.4
Hip room (f,r…inches) 55.2, 54.1
Storage (cubic feet) 32.7; 73.5
Gross vehicle weight (pounds) NR
Towing (pounds) NR
Payload (pounds) NR
Fuel Premium
Fuel Tank (gallons) 16.3
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway) 21/29
Manufacturing Plant Ruesselsheim, Germany

See Also4 California Art Museums

2018 Buick Regal TourX photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.

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How to Resolve a Private Seller Lien http://autotrends.org/2018/05/11/how-to-resolve-a-private-seller-lien/ http://autotrends.org/2018/05/11/how-to-resolve-a-private-seller-lien/#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 12:17:02 +0000 http://autotrends.org/?p=12409 Remove the lien and take ownership of the vehicle. When shopping for a used car, you stand to save money on your purchase when buying one from a private seller. Dealer markup can add hundreds to well over a thousand dollars to the price of a car, money you can save by negotiating directly with […]

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Remove the lien and take ownership of the vehicle.

2016 Ford Fiesta ST
2016 Ford Fiesta ST

When shopping for a used car, you stand to save money on your purchase when buying one from a private seller. Dealer markup can add hundreds to well over a thousand dollars to the price of a car, money you can save by negotiating directly with the vehicle’s owner.

If the owner is still making payments to a lender, then there is a lien on the car to remove before you can buy it. A lien essentially locks down the car’s title until the loan obligation no longer comes into play. The following are the steps to take to resolve the lien:

Step No. 1: Learn the Vehicle’s History

No used car deal should take place before confirming the vehicle’s repair history. That information is available through Carfax.com, a company that compiles vehicle history reports specific to a car’s vehicle identification number (VIN).

A vehicle history report should show its repair history excepting the work that the owner performed on his own. Importantly, if the car has been in an accident or damaged by a flood, then the history report should reveal that information.

2016 Honda HR-V
2016 Honda HR-V

Step No. 2 — Confirm Vehicle Ownership

Simply because an individual claims to own a car does not make that person the rightful owner. You need to inspect the title and run the VIN through the National Insurance Crime Bureau VinCheck to verify ownership.

VinCheck will confirm if a vehicle was reported as stolen, but unrecovered. It will also list whether it is a salvage vehicle, one that’s damaged or was seriously wrecked.

Step No. 3 — Inspect the Car With Care

Vehicle history reports can only reveal so much about a car. If you are handy, you can perform
the inspection yourself, otherwise, head to your mechanic and pay him to check the car.

Have the car placed on a lift and examine the vehicle’s suspension system, inspect the vehicle’s frame, review previous repair work and look for leaks from the engine, transmission and the coolant system. A mechanic can also pull up the check engine codes to look for potential problems.

No independent analysis will be foolproof, but your mechanic can offer his opinion on whether the car is worth your consideration and for the price you have in mind.

2015 GMC Yukon XL
2015 GMC Yukon XL

Step No. 4 — Negotiate Your Price

How much a private seller still owes his lender may have a bearing on your negotiation. However, if this individual owes more on the vehicle than what it is worth, you need not offer to pay that price.

Instead, your price for the car should be based on its current market value, its condition, mileage and vehicle’s trim level (content). Visit Kelley Blue Book to obtain its private party value. You can show your mechanic’s report to back up your offer.

Step No. 5 — Head to the Bank

Never give money to a private seller and have him handle the paperwork. Because there is a lien on the car, you should meet the seller at the bank and complete the deal in front of a representative.

Explain to the bank representative what transaction is taking place and have the seller ask for the loan’s payoff amount. Your funds plus whatever the seller still owes his lender will remove the lien, freeing the vehicle for a title transfer.

2015 Lexus RC F
2015 Lexus RC F

Let’s Make a Deal

Finalizing a deal for a vehicle with a lien on it is not always an easy process. That said, with persistence you may be able to conclude the deal and obtain a quality car for a below market price.


See Also8 Steps to Buying a Used Car

Photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.

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