SEDONA, AZ – They say a wagon finishes what a sedan starts, and the adage could not ring truer than with the ’18 Buick Regal TourX.

The sporty TourX station wagon, which is arriving at U.S. dealers, extends the Regal lineup to a second model fast on the heels of the Regal Sportback, which itself is an elegant take on the 4-door body style with coupe-like form.

But as slickly styled as it is with the extra 3.5 ins. (89 mm) gracefully sloping off the car – a look aided handsomely by chrome roof rails, an integrated spoiler and chrome strips running the length of the greenhouse and into the rear hatch like straps on a steamer chest – the TourX has a rugged side, too.

It rides just 1 in. (25 mm) higher than the Sportback, but with sagebrush-beating lower cladding the TourX looks ready-made for a gallop through the desert here. The extra bit of sheet metal off the back end gradually rises, too, giving the car an extra bit of rear clearance.

A sophisticated, active twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system comes standard, which further tweaks your jones to hit the trailhead. It distributes as much torque as necessary to individual wheels for optimal traction.

Let’s be clear, though, the TourX is a soft-roader at best. But that’s not knocking the car, either. Test driving the TourX along gravel-strewn, off-camber roads through Red Rock State Park, the wagon does an excellent job adhering, even under relatively hard throttle in the curves. Just be careful, for example, jumping ruts between the road and campsite turnouts; the underside of the TourX meets Mother Earth rather easily.

The TourX shines most brightly getting you to your getaway rather than into the heart of it, where on this occasion a pair of mountain bikes got us up close and personal with Sedona’s glorious red buttes. And unlike the high-roof SUVs and CUVs so many U.S. buyers love these days, the TourX stands a modest 58.4 ins. (1,484 mm), so you can reach the bike stored on top without a step stool or scraping the sill plate with your Timberlands.

Also, as Buick marketers happily point out, the lower ride height means a TourX owner can safely drive into their garage with whatever gear atop the car. Try that in a Chevy Tahoe and you’ll be at Sam’s Outdoorama the next day looking to replace that $5,000 Yeti hardtail.

Out on the highway, the TourX handles quite well, and the torque-rich, 2.0L turbocharged gasoline direct-injection 4-cyl. pairs nicely with an 8-speed automatic transmission. However, one test car groaned a bit around 2,500 rpm, and GM engineers say the early-production unit lacked the latest calibration update. Hopefully, that was a one-off.

There also was an annoying whistle in the test cars, perhaps from wind passing over the exterior mirrors, and road noise was bothersome at times. The TourX is supposed to be shod with special Michelin tires that dampen noise as standard equipment, but cars tested here did not have the correct rubber due to manufacturing-capacity restraints. Sales of the TourX began as the test drive was under way, so some buyers likely are going to feel shafted.

There are a few other points to quibble about. The TourX lacks some of the content you would expect from a European-inspired sport wagon (it is, in fact, built in Germany and sold there as an Opel), such as tri-zone climate control, extendable sun visors and sun shades for second-row passengers. Second-row seats of the TourX fold flat to provide 73.5 cu. ft. (2,081 L) of cargo space (32.7 cu. ft. [926 L] with the seats up), yet the rear wheel wells gobble up otherwise usable space. It gives the impression engineering and design did not collaborate closely.

But starting under $30,000 for base models and around $40,000 for top-trim Essence models tested here, the TourX is a screaming bargain compared with competitive makes from Audi, BMW, Volvo or Mercedes, and the Buick is miles ahead of value-minded entries from Subaru, Volkswagen and Mazda.

The 3-model Regal lineup will be complete in the coming weeks with the arrival of the performance-oriented GS, but from a styling and functionality standpoint the TourX is the real finisher.

jamend@wardsauto.com