- Pros: punchy turbocharged engine, upscale interior, good reliability record
- Cons: limited rear-seat space, firm ride
The 2013 Buick Regal GS is a vehicle that’s often overlooked but shouldn’t be, especially for those in the market for an affordable used sports sedan. Positioned between typical family sedans and premium European models, the Regal GS offers a balanced mix of performance, comfort, and features, all at a more palatable price than you might expect.
The GS variant amps up performance over lesser Regals with its robust turbocharged four-cylinder. But like most Regals, it also enjoys an upscale interior with quality materials and excellent fit and finish. Plus, it has earned a good reputation for reliability, which is always a boon when considering a used car.
The trade-offs? The rear seating area isn’t the most spacious, and the firm ride, while excellent for spirited driving, might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
- Belongs to the Regal’s fifth generation (2011-2017)
- No significant changes for 2013
The 2013 Buick Regal GS is a part of the nameplate’s fifth generation, which debuted in 2011 after a six-year hiatus. Unlike past Regals, the new version is based on a European model, the Opel Insignia. The new underpinnings give it a sportier edge, especially in GS guise, which boasts a 270-horsepower engine and an available six-speed manual gearbox, among other performance upgrades.
The Regal GS is the only sports sedan in Buick’s lineup for 2013. Size-wise, the five-seater slots between the smaller Verano and the larger LaCrosse. It saw no significant changes for the 2013 model year.
- 270-hp engine provides ample thrust
- Sport-tuned suspension
- Available six-speed manual transmission
Driving the 2013 Buick Regal GS feels like you’re in a European sports sedan, which makes sense given its Opel Insignia roots. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that pumps out an impressive 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a standard six-speed automatic or an optional six-speed manual gearbox — a rare offering for a Buick.
Handling and agility are GS strong suits, partially due to its sport-tuned suspension and standard 19-inch alloys. Its ride is on the firmer side, so if you’re looking for typical Buick plushness, this might not be the car for you. However, the firm setup gives the GS a planted feel and minimal body roll in corners. Steering is sharp and responsive, making it easy to tackle a winding road with confidence. High-performance Brembo ventilated brakes come standard and easily haul the sedan to a stop.
- 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway per EPA
- Comparable to segment competitors
- Real-world mpg may vary based on driving style
According to EPA estimates, the 2013 Buick Regal GS gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission. Cars equipped with the manual see a slight drop in the highway figure but an equal gain in the city. These numbers are on par with other premium sports sedans in the segment. While the GS doesn’t lead the pack, it certainly isn’t a gas guzzler.
Dipping into that potent 270-hp engine will naturally bring economy down a bit. However, many GS owners report getting close to the EPA estimates in mixed driving conditions, which is good news for potential buyers.
Interior and Features
- Upscale cabin with GS-specific details
- 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth
- Seating for five but limited rear space
While standard Regal models already boast high-quality cabins with soft-touch materials and leather upholstery, the GS trim takes it up a notch with unique front bucket seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and metal pedals. These sportier touches combine nicely with the overall luxurious feel of the interior.
The front seats are not only supportive but also come standard with heating and a wide range of power adjustments. Additionally, as a top trim, the GS gets a 336-watt Harman Kardon surround sound stereo and nine speakers. Navigation and a sunroof are both optional.
On the technology front, the infotainment system leaves a bit to be desired, mainly because it predates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Still, the system does offer a 7-inch touchscreen with a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity.
Size-wise, though the Regal GS seats five, the rear seat can feel tight, particularly for taller passengers. Trunk space is in line with other vehicles in the midsize class. While not overly spacious, it can be expanded with the standard 60/40-split folding rear seat as needed.
- Standard stability control and a full suite of airbags
- Strong safety ratings
- No advanced driver aids
When it comes to safety, the 2013 Buick Regal has a good amount going for it, given the era. Standard features include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Front and rear parking sensors are also included with the GS trim. However, the model offers no advanced driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control or blind-spot warning.
On the ratings front, the 2013 Regal earned strong marks from safety agencies when new. It received a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick for 2013, giving it high ratings in all crashworthiness categories.
However, it’s important to note that while the 2013 Regal performed well in these tests, newer cars are subject to more stringent criteria. Therefore, while the Regal is a solid option, it may not match up to the latest standards.
- Above-average reliability
- Some reports of electrical issues and turbocharger problems
- Maintenance and repair costs are moderate for the segment
The 2013 Buick Regal GS generally has a good reputation for reliability, backed by favorable consumer reviews and above-average reliability ratings. It earns a solid 4.2-star overall rating from owners on Edmunds, who praise the model for its muscular engine as well as its ability to rack up impressive odometer figures. One owner there reports driving over 300,000 miles without any significant issues.
While the engine and transmission tend to be robust, there are isolated reports of electrical glitches and occasional turbocharger issues that prospective buyers should be aware of. We advise paying close attention to these areas on your test drive.
When it comes to ownership costs, the Regal GS falls in the middle of the pack for the luxury sports sedan segment. Routine maintenance is generally affordable, covering the usual oil changes, tire rotations, and brake pad replacements. However, because this is a turbocharged model, it’s good to factor in the cost of potential turbocharger repairs or replacements, especially as the vehicle ages.
For anyone seriously considering a used 2013 Buick Regal GS, getting a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic is a wise move. This can help identify any potential problem areas before you finalize your purchase, providing peace of mind and possibly saving you money down the line.
Which One to Buy
- Best Overall: 2013 Buick Regal GS with automatic transmission
- Enthusiast’s Choice: 2013 Buick Regal GS with six-speed manual
The 2013 Buick Regal GS equipped with an automatic transmission is the optimal choice for most buyers. The automatic offers a smooth, effortless driving experience, making the car more approachable for a broader range of drivers. According to EPA estimates, it also brings the benefit of better fuel economy on the highway. This configuration delivers a balanced mix of luxury and sportiness, making it ideal for those who want a versatile car that can do it all.
We suggest the 2013 Buick Regal GS with the six-speed manual transmission for the driving purists out there. Manuals are becoming increasingly rare in the luxury sports sedan segment, and the Regal GS offers one that’s engaging and fun. This option maximizes the car’s European sport sedan feel, and you’ll get more control over that turbocharged engine, making it a natural fit for those who love a spirited drive. Just keep in mind that opting for the manual slightly impacts fuel economy, so it may not be the best choice for long highway commutes.
Photos courtesy of Buick and IIHS