Brook's optimism follows Buick's repositioning of the Regal from a sedan to sportback and wagon models for the 2018 model year. The shift is an attempt to make Buick stand out in the crowded, yet declining, midsize car segment, where Japan's big three automakers set the pace, and the Regal brings up the rear. Regal sales fell 42 percent in 2017 to 11,559 vehicles, while the midsize car segment shrank 16 percent, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Buick expects the TourX to attract buyers from the likes of Subaru, Audi and Volvo. Brook also sees owners of discontinued wagons such as Saabs considering the TourX. In early cross-shopping results, Edmunds reports consumers are considering the TourX alongside vehicles such as the Subaru Outback, Mazda CX-5 and the Regal's own Sportback counterpart.
"It really is a head-turner," Brook said. "We're not an old-man sedan brand anymore. We're very much a cutting-edge SUV brand with some really good sedans to back that up."
Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of industry analysis, said Buick faces a difficult challenge, noting the dismal record of wagonlike variants in the U.S., which have included such bombs as the Chevy Malibu Maxx and Ford Taurus X.
"The successful ones have been a European entry into the U.S.," she said, citing Audi as a prime example.
The TourX does have European roots: It's produced in Germany by Opel, the European arm that General Motors sold last year to France's PSA Group. But for the small fraternity of wagon lovers, the Buick brand doesn't necessarily have the cachet of European marques.
Buick also must combat lingering perceptions of the station wagon — and a Buick one, at that — as a dowdy vestige of the 1970s. That's why the brand is referring to the all-wheel-drive TourX as a "crossover in the truest sense of the word," citing its carlike handling along with the versatility and cargo space of a utility vehicle.
"We just want people to look at it for what it is, consider it and not pigeonhole it," Brook said. "And not think of 'The Brady Bunch' when you say, 'wagon.' "
The TourX is arriving in dealer showrooms starting at $29,995, including shipping. That's roughly $4,000 more than the starting price of a Regal Sportback, which went on sale late last year.
The TourX comes standard with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with 250 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque; awd system with active twin-clutch; and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Brook said the company has no plans to offer a diesel powertrain or six-cylinder engine such as the 3.6-liter in the coming 2018 Buick Regal GS.
The TourX "rounds out their lineup," said Paul Waatti, analyst for consulting firm AutoPacific. "It's definitely not going to take away from the Sportback sales."
Buick's U.S. sales last year declined 4.5 percent, as its 51 percent drop in car sales offset its 23 percent gain in crossovers.