2012 Buick Verano
has high hopes for their Acura TSX
and Lexus IS 250
-fighting Verano compact sedan. It’s Buick’s first new compact car since the demise of the Skylark
in the 1990s, and it’s the best chance the automaker has at luring a younger demographic to the brand.
Based on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze
, the Buick Verano focuses on entry-level luxury at a mainstream price point. Three models will be offered, with the least expensive starting at $23,470, which includes an $885 destination charge. That money buys you leatherette (not leather) seating, a seven-inch touchscreen LCD infotainment system, 10 airbags, automatic climate control, remote start, power windows and steering wheel audio controls. It also buys you Buick’s comfort-focused ride quality and tomb-like sound isolation; in fact, the Verano boasts a dozen different noise reducing or noise canceling technologies used throughout the vehicle.
The top-level Verano comes with leather seating, based on the same materials used in the Buick LaCrosse
. Not only does this version get heated seats, it gets automatically heated seats; start the car remotely when the outside temperature is below 45 degrees F and the seats automatically warm for the driver and passenger. The car also defrosts the rear window and outside mirrors, and a heated steering wheel is an available option on higher-level Veranos. The top trim level starts at $26,850, including a destination charge of $885.
More proof that the Verano is aimed at a younger demographic can be found in Buick’s IntelliLink system, which integrates a driver’s smartphone to the touch-screen infotainment system. The system allows voice control of the phone and also permits audio streaming with applications like Pandora or Stitcher.
All Verano models come powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces a competitive 180 horsepower and 171 ft-lb of torque, and is expected to deliver fuel economy of 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.