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Buick flips the script, will only offer its 2018 Regal as a wagon or hatchback

Why it matters to you

Buick is making a bold move with the 2018 Regal, and these hatchback and wagon variants just might be good SUV alternatives.

Buick has a reputation for conservatism, but with the 2018 Regal, General Motors’ near-luxury brand is shaking things up.

U.S. car buyers aren’t as enthusiastic about hatchbacks and wagons as their European counterparts, but those are the only body styles the 2018 Regal will be available in when it launches later this year. With no sedan in sight, buyers will choose between the Regal Sportback hatchback and the Regal TourX, a wagon with SUV-like styling features, in the vein of the Subaru Outback.

The Sportback features a low roofline that Buick describes as “coupe like,” giving it a sleeker look than most hatchbacks. In that way, it’s similar to the Audi A5 Sportback Buick copied the name from. The TourX wagon — the first Buick wagon since the 1990s Roadmaster — has a more traditional look. It’s 3.4 inches longer than the Sportback, and rides 0.6 inches higher. It also sports black lower-body cladding to satisfy buyers’ SUV obsession.

As with the previous generation, both Regal variants are based on the European-market Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. All 2018 Regal models will also be built in Germany alongside their European counterparts, even though GM is in the process of selling Opel to PSA Peugeot Citroën. Regal development was already underway before that deal — which was announced last month — was completed.

All-wheel drive is standard on the TourX and optional on the Sportback, which gets front-wheel drive as standard. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard across the board, with 250 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque, and an eight-speed automatic transmission in all-wheel drive models. The front-wheel drive Sportback model gets a nine-speed automatic, and only makes 260 lb-ft of torque.

Like numerous other GM models, the 2018 Buick Regal gets OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, an infotainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a host of driver-assist features. The new Buick debuts next week at the 2017 New York Auto Show, and goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.