- The Washington Times - Friday, August 25, 2000

MODEL: Buick Regal LS
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door sedan
MILEAGE: 20 city, 29 highway

I boast of having played golf on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. Another braggy comment is about driving the Buick Regal, the same car Tiger Woods touts.
The Regal LS, which is not Buick's top-of-the-line car, is surprisingly comfortable, easy to handle and pleasant to drive. The base price of this midsize sedan is $22,670. Tiger could easily afford the fleet of them seen behind him in his television commercial.
My tester, the LS model, had a total price of $26,455, due to a few options. We'll get to them in a moment, but the basic equipment contains many thoughtful features. For example, I never had to turn on my headlamps, and the time I forgot to turn the interior light off, the Regal did it for me by using its battery-run-down protection. This car also uses theater dimming, which adds another touch of elegance.
The Regal LS has power door locks, with lockout protection, daytime running lights and cruise control, which I found convenient for my highway driving. A feature that isn't as noticeable is the dual stainless-steel exhaust system.
One reason I was comfortable in the driver's seat is the comfort-tilt steering column. Having my arms at a relaxed position makes it easier when driving a long distance. That's obvious when Tiger hits a drive. The variable-effort steering wheel also helped. There's nothing new about this feature, but not all cars have it. Again, variable-effort steering made the long haul more relaxing.
My traveling companion was able to make use of the dual zone in the air conditioning system. Had it been winter, the outside mirrors could have been heated to reduce fogging and ice.
The Regal has plenty of convenient storage in various compartments, allowing me to keep clutter to a minimum. The center console stored quite a number of the CDs I brought along to play on the Monsoon eight-speaker system, which is definitely a worthwhile option. Another convenience with this option is having radio controls on the steering wheel. When in conversation, it was a simple task to lower the volume or to listen to the next track of a CD; it was just a simple touch with my left thumb on the steering wheel.
Most of my driving was on the highway, so the Environmental Protection Agency mileage rating of 20 city, 29 highway wasn't hard to take. The 3800 Series II V-6 engine had all the power I needed with room to spare when I was passing. For those who desire additional horsepower, Buick also has a supercharged Regal GS model that features a 240-horse-power engine, 40 more than the LS model. But the stronger engine is at the sacrifice of a couple of miles per gallon in mileage.
The Regal LS is equipped with traction control that uses engine modulation. The GS model, however, has a full-range traction control system that uses both the braking system and engine power to keep the car under control in slippery conditions.
The Regal is easy on the eyes, too. Its stately appearance with smooth lines is improved for the 2000 model year with 16-inch cast aluminum wheels.
Although my tester didn't have OnStar driver assistance, the option is available for the Regal. One advantage is having both hands free when talking with the OnStar Center. A simple touch of a button, and the connection is made 24 hours a day. The advantage this system offers is having security and information literally at one's fingertip.
My score at St. Andrews was an embarrassing 98. But I can boast of driving the Regal every bit as far as Tiger Woods well over 700 miles in one week.

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