Thursday, December 22, 2011

My interesting car of the week - 2011 Buick Regal

New week.... new car that catches my eye.  This week it is the 2011 Buick Regal.  I just happened to go to the local Buick dealership because it is close to my work, its one of the few places I hadn't looked around so far.  It's technically a GM product.... well it is a GM product but its not at the overcrowded GM / Chevy dealership so I didn't mind going there.  I had read some decent reviews and although the word Buick conjures up thoughts of 80 year old men drivers I figured I would give it a shot. 

The new Regals look nice but the major knock against them is the underpowered motor, it only has 182 HP, but there is a turbo model with 220 hp.  For 2012 there is even a more spirited GS model with 270 HP, now that one may be able to call itself a sports sedan. 

So I went in and asked what the deal is on a four year lease.  The sales guy didn't know what the current deals were so he went to ask the manager person.  The sales guy told me he has only been there a month and a half.  It was clear they are not used to people asking about the Regals.  They sell a LOT of GMC pick up trucks at this dealership and their lack of knowledge about the Regal's really shows.  Anyway he told me they have a $1,500 rebate from GM, $3,000 rebate from Terra Nova Motors and the Connect and Win thing where you get a minimum of $1,000 off any vehicle.  So right off the start they are offering $5,500 in rebates..... now I was interested.  On top of that they were offering 0% interest on all 2011 leases.  Of course any good car shopper knows why they can bottom out the lease rates at the end of a year run..... well don't you???

It's because the residual has probably dropped substantially from when the car first went on sale so you are basically paying off more car but at a lower rate.  A total car pricing nerd like myself would go to the Buick website and see what the residual is on an equivalently equipped 2012 regal and it is about $2,000 more than the 2011 model.  To use an example, if you have a 2012 regal that costs $30,000 the residual is about $12,000 after four years so you are paying for $18,000 worth of vehicle.  For a 2011 at $30,000 the residual is about $10,000 so you have to pay for $20,000 worth of vehicle.  In an approximate world, the 0% rate on the 2011 is equivalent to about a 3% rate on the 2012.  In any event a 3% lease rate on a  new model or 0% on an older model is a good deal. 

If you put the 0% together with all the incentives I was quoted a $445 lease payment over 4 years.  That is a good payment, compared to say $500 for an Accord EXL, the Buick in my opinion has much better styling and driving feel than the accord.  Of course the other sport sedans from Acura, Audi, BMW and Volvo were up around $700 per month.  All of those were also smaller cars with the exception of the TL.  Don't doubt me, I have the numbers to back that up.  They were well ahead in the power department though, but not $250 a month worth.

So the next step was a test drive, which I lined up with my nice but totally unknowledgable sales guy.  He was kind of funny making jokes where possible, nice guy who just needed to read his Buick Regal book a bit more closely.  I knew way more than he did about the vehicle, it was almost embarrassing for him I figure.  So me and oldest son went for a short test drive, sales guy came along (I don't know why they do that).  Anyway it was a really nice ride, underpowered yes compared to sports sedans but enough power to get around for sure.  Nice leather seats and plenty of room for my tallish son in back.  Nice dash layout, just overall a really nice ride.  The 2011's came with 18" wheels standard which are nice, the only thing missing was a sunroof on the one I had out.  I actually had the demo model, it had 7,000 km on it.  They told me I could have an extra $1,500 off which brings my payment down to about $410.  Wow, perilously close to $400 a month all included for a really nice 2011 Buick Regal, and they still had wiggle room left, I could sense it.

So I expected nothing from my Buick visit and end up with a VERY tempting offer on a nicely equipped 2011 Buick Regal.  I could probably sell the Pilot and be able to pay for the entire lease.  Of course I wouldn't pay off a 0% lease when I have all kinds of other way above 0% things to put money on but you get the picture.

Buick Regal..... sounds old and stodgy but they are actually nice looking vehicles that drive really well.... I mean what old guy would want 18" tires???

Oh also I got $1,225 on the connect and win so that's $225 more off the vehicle, down to $405!!!

I'll let you know how it goes.

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