2020 Buick Regal Sportback vs. 2020 Volkswagen GTI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/06

The Regal Sportback offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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

The Buick Regal Sportback weighs 512 to 1208 pounds more than the Volkswagen GTI. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Regal Sportback 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the GTI. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the GTI ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Regal Sportback’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the GTI’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Regal Sportback’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Regal Sportback’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 22 more horsepower (250 vs. 228) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Regal Sportback’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 22 more horsepower (250 vs. 228) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Regal Sportback GS’ standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 82 more horsepower (310 vs. 228) and 24 lbs.-ft. more torque (282 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Regal Sportback GS 3.6 DOHC V6 is faster than the Volkswagen GTI (automatics tested):

Regal Sportback

GTI

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.5 sec

14.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.7 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

100 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regardless of its engine, the Regal Sportback’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the GTI Automatic.

The Regal Sportback has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (16.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Regal Sportback has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GTI doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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The Buick Regal Sportback comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the GTI.

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Regal Sportback, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GTI.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Regal Sportback GS’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the GTI:

Regal Sportback GS

GTI

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.2 inches

The Regal Sportback stops much shorter than the GTI:

Regal Sportback

GTI

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Regal Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GTI (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Regal Sportback Avenir/GS has standard 19-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Regal Sportback’s wheelbase is 7.8 inches longer than on the GTI (111.4 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Regal Sportback is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than on the GTI.

Chassis

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The Regal Sportback AWD uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GTI doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Regal Sportback Essence is quieter than the GTI:

Regal Sportback

GTI

At idle

37 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

81 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/06

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Regal Sportback a Large car, while the GTI is rated a Compact.

The Regal Sportback has 4.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GTI (98 vs. 93.5).

The Regal Sportback has .4 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.

Cargo Capacity

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The Regal Sportback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the GTI with its rear seat up (31.5 vs. 22.8 cubic feet). The Regal Sportback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the GTI with its rear seat folded (60.7 vs. 52.7 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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The Regal Sportback (except Base) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The GTI doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Regal Sportback (except Base/Preferred), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions and outside mirror angle. The GTI doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Regal Sportback (except Base/Preferred)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The GTI doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Regal Sportback’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The GTI does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Regal Sportback GS offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GTI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Regal Sportback’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The GTI has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

When the Regal Sportback with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The GTI’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Regal Sportback Preferred/Essence/Avenir/GS’ standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Regal Sportback GS keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The GTI doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Regal Sportback Essence/Avenir/GS’ standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Regal Sportback GS has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the GTI.

The Regal Sportback has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the GTI Autobahn.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Buick Regal (except Base/Preferred) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The GTI doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/06

The Buick Regal comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Volkswagen GTI isn’t available as a station wagon.

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

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