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- Luxurious interior
- Composed and quiet beyond its class
- Connectivity and safety are up to speed
- Very good ride quality
- Base price is a bargain
- Fuel economy's relatively low
- Ventiports...no. Just, no.
- Base Verano isn't quick
- Cozy rear seats are cozy
The 2016 Buick Verano delivers heavily on comfort and quiet, even if it's not much of a sport sedan.
The 2016 Buick Verano may share more in common with the Chevrolet Cruze from which it's based and that's OK. The Verano is certainly not to be confused as a Cadillac, but neither is it priced like one.
The Verano was a well-timed addition to General Motors' premium-brand lineup.Â Buick decided to take an existing GM architecture, and make it more powerful, quieter over the road, and richer feeling. As a result, it has a truly distinctive offering in this new segment, one worth shopping if the sporty edges of the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class are a turn-off.
Stylistically, the largely carried-over Verano slots neatly into the Buick range, with just enough subtle hints of its decades-long heritage in its grille and nicely outfitted interior to hide its small-car proportions. Almost all its styling cues are uniformly tastefully subdued, aside from the hood's portholesâ€”those are straight Pep Boys. The interior really has its act together, with a richly finished dash and softly lit gauges. The Verano Turbo gets high praise for being swift without telling the world with gaudy badges or spoilers.
A 180-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on the Verano. Not quick by any stretch, it's capable only of 0-60 mph times of 8.6 seconds, but the front-driver feels a little more eager than that, thanks to a responsive 6-speed automatic and an overall level of refinement that's easily among the best in its segment, if not the best.
The 250-hp Turbo changes the mood of the even-tempered base car, lifting its tepid performance into something more interesting. It's good for 0-60 mph times of 6.2 seconds, and top speed drifts up to about 129 mph, with almost no perception of lag or audible change from the engine bay. There's a manual transmission available, but it's not common on lots.
The Verano shares some significant suspension and body structures with the compact Cruze, but it's tuned for a comfortable, composed, and silent ride. Base models deliver a soft feel, while Turbos come in just a hint firmer. All models handle predictably and safely, but they don't overwhelm with sportiness.
Interior appointments are worthy of being compared to those of any luxury car this size. The front-wheel-drive layout grants the Verano a very spacious interior. Superb front seats boast all-day support suitable for a wide range of drivers thanks to no shortage of seat travel plus head room for the tallest drivers. The Verano's rear seat has good room for two adults and a third in a pinch, but legroom is highly variable. Tall people up front? There's not much in the rear. But four average adults will fit fine.
Trunk space is big for the class and shaped well, and the rear seat backs fold forward nearly flat, with a wide opening.
A phenomenally refined, comfortable, quiet interiorÂ distinguishes the Verano from less-expensive compact sedans. Quiet Tuning is a keyword at Buick, and it describes much of the Verano's personality. With its meticulous sound-deadening measures, like triple-sealed doors, laminated side glass, an acoustic windshield, and various foams, baffles, and mats, the Verano is very, very quiet inside. Buick has worked to isolate road, wind, and engine noise, so even if you're driving the Verano hard, on some of the coarsest surfaces, you'll be able to have a soft-spoken conversation.
Crash-test ratings from the NHTSA come in at five stars overall. However, the Verano no longer comes in as an IIHS Top Safety Pick since it has not been subjected to the new small-overlap crash test. Equipment-wise, it's all here: ten airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist, not to mention OnStar Automatic Crash Response. Rear parking assist is available, and a rearview camera is standard on all but the base model; Turbos have blind-spot monitors standard, too.
Starting in the low $20,000 range, the Verano comes standard with a decent roster of features, including dual-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, an AM/FM/CD player, and a USB input. However, Buick has created a new base model this year that omits Bluetooth, the rearview camera, and the Buick IntelliLink touchscreen interface, which includes voice controls as well as Pandora and Stitcher apps. They're available on all other Verano models. A Convenience Group adds heated side mirrors, an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, heated front seats, and rear parking assist, while a Leather Group adds a driver power seat, Bose surround sound audio, keyless ignition, and premium leather upholstery. All that comes standard on the Turbo. A heated steering wheel and navigation are among the few options, with a fully loaded Verano priced around $30,000, where the Turbo price begins.
Gas mileage isn't stellar for a compact car. The Verano is rated by the EPA at 21 mpg city, 32 highway, 25 combined not so impressive considering the Chevrolet Cruze's top 42-mpg highway figure. The Turbo penalty? Just one mile per gallon more, so why not?