Buick Verano History
2013 Buick Verano TEnlarge Photo
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The Buick Verano is a compact four-door sedan that is marketed as an upscale alternative to its platform-mate, the Chevrolet Cruze. It looks completely different both inside and out, and also offers a more powerful turbocharged option than the Cruze, too. It's meant to appeal to buyers who seek premium features in a smaller package, with a price that starts below $30,000.
For 2012, there was only one powertrain: a 180-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission, with front-wheel drive. For 2013, the Verano has added a new turbocharged engine.
So far, the Verano doesn't have much competition. The Acura ILX faces off squarely against it in size and price, but the Lexus CT 200h compact is both a hybrid and a hatchback, and priced considerably higher. Another competitor will be the upcoming 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA. , which presages other new compact sedans to come from BMW and Audi.For more information on Verano options, prices, and specifications, see our 2013 Buick Verano review.
With conservative styling on the outside, the Verano hardly makes a strong first statement; the Buick 'ventiports' feel a little forced, as always, but the roofline and profile are pleasant to the eyes, making it appear as a larger sedan when it stands alone. Inside, there's much to warm up to, though, with well-coordinated trims and rich leather, luxury touches like a heated steering wheel and a standard voice-activated IntelliLink touch-screen connectivity system.
In the base Verano, brakes are strong four-wheel discs; and Buick's Quiet Tuning ethos brings a well-controlled ride yet surprisingly deft handling—with quick-ratio steering—compared to some cushy luxury-sedan alternatives. In drives of that base model, we've found it to be impressively refined, with one of the quietest interiors or any compact or even mid-size sedan, plus a rear seat that's contoured for adults—although the need to compromise legroom with front-seat occupants and a somewhat narrow rear bench do reveal it as a compact. Trunk space is great, however.
In the 2013 model year, Buick has added a turbocharged Verano T, with a 2.0-liter turbo four with 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, coupled to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. On turbocharged versions, acceleration is quite strong, with 0-60 mph times of under 6.5 seconds. The manual transmission is an interesting option, giving the Verano a hint of sporty feel otherwise unavailable to it--but ultimately, a feature that seems less in character than its good automatic gearbox. While suspension tuning and steering effort have been dialed to a more sporting level, though, the Verano T remains a quiet, comfortable ride, with just a slight increase in ride firmness and steering heft.
The Verano quickly earned Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and it includes ten standard airbags; rear parking assist is optional. It's also rated at five stars for safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Verano was initially sold in a simplified lineup, with a stout list of standard features and just a few major option groups. IntelliLink strikes us as a connectivity interface that's simpler than MyFord Touch or Lexus' Enform, but one that accomplishes the same tasks; there's even Pandora and Stitcher streaming.
The turbocharged car is essentially an option package on the base car, but it brings with it a nine-speaker Bose audio system; leather seating surfaces; rear park assist; rearview camera; blind spot detection with cross-traffic alert; heated seats and a heated steering wheel. It's priced from just under $30,000, with the remaining options including features such as a power sunroof and voice-guided navigation system.