2012 Buick Verano
With machines like Regal, Lacrosse, and Enclave in its inventory, Buick is fast leaving its “old man” car brand image in the dust. And with the introduction of the 2012 Verano sedan, Buick continues to move towards a younger demographic.
Aimed squarely at luxury-sport four-door imports like the base Lexus IS 250 and Audi A4, the front-drive Verano hits the road equipped with most of what’s needed to be a player in this very challenging sales segment! Taking a styling page right out of the larger LaCrosse sedan’s playbook, the Verano sports a deep black-chrome waterfall grille, and high-beltline aero flanks, just like its larger sibling. But then ups the styling ante, with features like the Enclave’s blue translucent projector beam headlights, and standard 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the slickly styled cabin is literally loaded, with 10 standard airbags, steering wheel audio controls, automatic climate controls, and remote starter. The Verano shares its basic architecture with the Chevrolet Cruze, a car that has already impressed us with its solid platform and surprisingly able Z-Link beam rear suspension. Handling is precise and quite entertaining. Yet, Verano also delivers Buick’s famed ultra-quiet ride, mixing it with agility and a solidly supple feel that together leans more towards Lexus than Audi.
But power is still well below that of Asian and Euro competitors. The Verano uses GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine with all of 180-horsepower on tap. And the only transmission is an automatic. A more powerful turbo Verano is in the pipeline, and it might include a manual. But many buyers will be willing to trade a few ponies for the Verano’s better than class average Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 21-city and 32- highway.
Verano prices are also modest compared to rivals, starting just over $23,000. The Buick Verano is in dealerships now.
Engine: 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder
EPA: 21 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
Price: Starting just over $23,000