2018 Lexus IS Series vs. 2017 Buick Regal

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus IS Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Buick Regal doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The IS Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Regal doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the IS Series and the Regal have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus IS Series is safer than the Buick Regal:


IS Series



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.7 inches


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

65 G’s

Hip Force

691 lbs.

846 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

48 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked third.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Buick is ranked third.


The IS Series has more powerful engines than the Regal:




IS 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

IS 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

277 lbs.-ft.

Regal 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

182 HP

172 lbs.-ft.

Regal Turbo/GS 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

259 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Regal Turbo/GS 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:


IS Series


Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

6.2 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9 sec

11.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

17.4 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.8 sec

3.3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.4 MPH

93.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the IS 300 RWD gets better fuel mileage than the Regal Turbo/GS FWD turbo 4 cyl. (22 city/32 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).


An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus IS Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Regal.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the IS Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Regal:


IS Series


Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

The IS Series stops much shorter than the Regal:


IS Series



80 to 0 MPH

226 feet

238 feet

Road and Track

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

131 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

The IS Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Regal’s standard 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the IS Series’ wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Regal (110.2 inches vs. 107.8 inches).

The IS Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (53.1% to 46.9%) than the Regal’s (57.9% to 42.1%). This gives the IS Series more stable handling and braking.

The IS Series AWD handles at .89 G’s, while the Regal Turbo pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The IS 350 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Regal Turbo (26 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the Regal’s (34.2 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Regal’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).


The IS Series is 5.9 inches shorter than the Regal, making the IS Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Lexus IS Series amounts to more than styling. The IS Series has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .28 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Regal (.32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the IS Series get better fuel mileage.

The IS Series 300 RWD offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Regal doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The IS Series has 2.7 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more rear headroom and 1.7 inches more rear hip room than the Regal.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the IS Series offers cargo security. The Regal’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the IS Series. The Regal doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the IS Series is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Regal. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.


Unlike the driver-only memory system optional in the Regal Premium/GS, the IS Series offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The IS Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Regal doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The IS Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Regal’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left down on the IS Series the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Regal can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The IS Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Regal’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the IS Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Regal doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the IS Series offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Regal doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the IS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Regal doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The IS Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Regal has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the IS Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Regal doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the IS Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the IS Series with a number “3” insurance rate while the Regal is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

The IS Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the IS Series will retain 43.74% to 47.06% of its original price after five years, while the Regal only retains 36.19% to 41.01%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the IS Series is less expensive to operate than the Regal because it costs $495 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the IS Series than the Regal, including $87 less for a water pump, $200 less for an alternator, $125 less for front brake pads and $255 less for front struts.


The Lexus IS Series outsold the Buick Regal by over two to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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