By on January 6, 2011

Buick’s Verano aims to bring a touch of class to the compact segment, and what’s classier than a Latin motto? Especially Ad Astra Per Aspera (Through Hardship, To The Stars), the motto used by such refined institutions as Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Buckinghamshire, England and (of course) Starfleet. Unfortunately, the Buick Verano isn’t aiming for the stars… it’s got more humble foes like the Audi A3, Volvo S40 and Lexus IS250 in its sights. In fact, it’s actually “from” the stars… well, it’s closely based on the Opel Astra, anyway.  So, make that “Ex Astra Per Aspera.” Although, come to think of it,  it didn’t really come through “hardship” so much as “China.” So I suppose the official classy Buick Verano motto should probably  be “Ex Astra Per Sina.”

The hardship part comes when GM tries to slot this bad boy between the $22,695-$26,780 Cruze LTZ and the $26,995-$36,105 Buick Regal. Or when they realize that neither the Audi A3 nor the Volvo S40 cracked 7k units last year (Lexus doesn’t break out IS250 numbers, but if were half of the IS-line mix, it would have sold 17k units last year). Keeping it classy in the compact segment just isn’t that easy.

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35 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Ad Astra Per Aspera Edition...”


  • avatar
    86er

    Big car seats in a little car, always entertaining. 

    Who gets the single armrest?

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Not a bad looking car.  It looks nice inside.  But why?  This car should be substantially more expensive than the Cruze, and should be significantly more powerful.  But there appears to be no open price room between the Cruze and the Regal, as you suggst.  And what are the engine choices?

    Isn’t this old GM’s model proliferation all over again?  “Oh, hey – there’s another Opel model we can bring over and sell.  Whose turn is it – Buick or Chevy this time?  Let’s do both.”  If GM is working a master plan, I am not seeing it.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      No open price room? It’s obvious from the numbers that the Verano will have to start around $24.9k base and go up to roughly $31.4k at the top. That would split the Cruze and Regal numbers almost exactly, which is precisely what this car is supposed to do – straddle the gap between the Cruze and the Regal.

      As far as master plan goes, Buick needs an entry-level car, and this is it. It exists for the same reason as the Volvo C30, Acura TSX, BMW 1-series and Lexus IS – to start the line with something not quite mid-sized. If it sells in good numbers, great – it’s free volume. If not, it gives the salesman something in the showroom to upsell in a larger and more profitable Volvo, Acura TL, BMW 3-series, or Lexus ES.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    AKA “Grandma’s last car.”   I expect to see a lot of these with very little mileage on Craig’s List in 5 years, listed by their grandsons.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      My grandma’s last car was a 1971 Olds Cutlass coupe. Driven once a week for groceries, it was completely spotless and oh, how I wish I had gotten it instead of my cousin…

      Nothing wrong with this being grandma’s last car at all!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      My grandmother bought a Buick Skylark V6 sedan in light blue with a blue interior and I thought… “maybe that’s her last car.”  Several years later she traded it in on… a bight yellow, fully loaded Pontiac Aztec (and no she doesn’t have cataracts.)  She’s in her 80s but the Aztek is getting a little long in the tooth… “Hey grandma, I’d much rather have a Buick Verano than a Pontiac Aztek after you’re gone.  Pretty please…”

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Nice Saturn Aura!

  • avatar
    dwford

    I think the Verano is in the right price range. It has a higher quality interior and bigger motor than the Cruze and a totally different body style, so it’s ok that it is in the same range as the Cruze LTZ especially if it has a real navi vs the OnStar in the Cruze. The problem is with the Regal and Lacrosse. The Regal CXL starts at $27k, and the base models coming soon will be less. The LaCrosse also starts at around $27k, but with less equipment than the Regal. Buick needs to ditch the base models to the Regal comes well equipped starting around $25k and have the LaCrosse starting around $28k. Give these cars some room to themselves!!
     
    I could see some cross shopping between the Cruze and Verano for customers who don’t like the 1.4T motor. Most customers aren’t going to be spending $25k on a loaded Cruze LTZ anyway, so there will be more differentiation in the real world than on paper.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I think it’s beautiful. And the interior is amazing! It does look like a small luxury car. And if it actually performs competently…
     
    According to other car site, the engines are just like the Regal, a 2.4l direct-injected 4 cylinder and the 2.0 turbo later on. You know, if this actually accelerate acceptably (unlike the Regal), it might just steal sales from Regal above anything else. It’s apparently only slightly smaller than the Regal, and people who needs roomy back seat is probably gonna look for bigger cars than this anyway.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    It’s nine inches shorter and at least 400 lbs. lighter than a Regal, with only 2 cubic feet less interior space and the same engine. It’s also better-looking than a Cruze, though not quite as well-proportioned as the Regal. The interior looks like a nice place to spend time. Truth be told, I’d take this over a loaded Cruzes or base Regal. It’s too bad the Regal exists, otherwise they could stick in the GS’s 255-hp motor, tweak the suspension, and have a decent performance model. Still, I wish it weighed and cost a bit less, and had a bit less chrome over the taillamps. Very nice photography, though…we’ll see how it looks in real life, covered in salt!

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      If those specs are correct (less weight) then it should have better handling and gas economy.  Weight has always been a problem for most of the recent GM cars.

    • 0 avatar
      asapuntz

      Cheap energy means American car (and housing) markets tend to prioritize size at low cost. Unless fuel prices really shoot up, there won’t be much of a market for this kind of vehicle, and GM’s small-car history will make it a tough sell to those looking for “small and well-appointed”.
      I’m happy that GM has something in its portfolio for that eventuality. I wish there was more demand for it.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Overall, very nice. Still hate the name and not fond of those little a-pillar windows (a-la Fiesta). Could be a big seller once gas hits $4 per gallon.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Cimmaron 2.0. (Exactly) 30 years in the making :)

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658526,00.html

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Looks pretty good.  Seems like there’s some real differentiation between it and the Cruze.  Let’s see if GM can get the message out competently.   Lincoln and Chrysler will be late to the game so there’s that. 

  • avatar
    Johann

    Awh!  I did the 15 year Masterplan for Dr Challoner’s Grammar School!  How weird to see it mentioned on TTAC.

    But back OT: I think this is a very good looking car.  Especially for the money.  And as an architect I can say its proportions are spot on.

    J
    London

  • avatar
    MrDot

    Isn’t this SOP for GM?  It’s a slightly nicer Cruze LTZ that will be sold at Buick/GMC dealers.  Assuming the sweet spot of Cruze sales will be between the base and middle trim levels, I’m not seeing too much overlap unless Buick starts selling it’s own “value” model.
    I think it looks quite nice, especially that interior.  Then again, my father was a Buick man, and I have fond memories of wafting around in Le Sabres, Regals, and Park Avenues.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    It’s always interesting to compare tastes here on TTAC. My view is that the boot looks like grafted on as an afterthought. The original hatchback astra looks so much better.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Looks like more stuff I’ll be eager to check out at the auto show next month! Very attractive car.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    This car is a shame.  It should sell well, as it looks nice, but I get the sense that once in the dealership, most potential buyers will be turned off by the usual GM-ness of the experience.
     
    I especially like the interior design and colors, but even in pictures, I get the sense that quality of materials will be 3rd tier.  When pricing and target is Audi, it’s best to invest a few extra hundred bucks and make the material live up to your target.

  • avatar
    srogers

    I like the looks of this.
    I’m interested to see how much less gas the Verano drinks than the Regal because fuel economy would be a major reason to buy this instead. That, and saving a couple $thousand on purchase.

  • avatar

    “Ad Astra per Aspera” is also on the state seal of Kansas.
     
    Anyone who’s ever lived in or driven across Kansas might attest, fitting, given the topic.

  • avatar

    time for DeathWatch II. think it will make an intersting thread over on GeneralWatch.com

  • avatar
    wsn

    It seems people at GM need to have their brain checked ASAP, or they would need another bankruptcy before they realize it.
     
    Compare Buick to Lexus? What are they smoking? I wouldn’t even choose a Buick over a Toyota of the same size.

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      Buick vs small Lexus? Why not? – It’s better looking, IMO, well built here [OK - Canada?] and my  local GMC/Buick/Chevy/Caddy GM dealer is every bit as…..pleasant? to deal with as various Lexus stores I’ve been to. For most people, it doesn’t have to be better than the foreign competition, it merely has to be very good. I believe Buick can get that part right.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I doubt that many folks cross shop between Buick and Lexus.  The question is does Buick need a plush Toyota Corolla sized entry?  Only if $4.00 a gallon gasoline and the new CAFE mileage figures matter?
     
    I don’t like the name, but the above vehicle looks differentiated enough from a Chevy Cruze to be called a Baby Buick, much more so than what Ford has been doing with its Lincoln entries.
     
    If there is a deathwatch at GM, it should be because of the current state of the Chevrolet brand in the car arena.  More specifically, where does Chevrolet want to be in the car market versus Ford, Toyota and Honda?  At the moment they seem to be settling on being number 4, headed to #5 behind Nissan.  All the attention that Buick is getting is fine, but what about the next Impala?

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      No need to rush the Impy. The rental companies are fine pushing Malibus and they’ve adopted the new Lacrosse as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t forget the Cruze! (And mikey… why is the truth “hate”? Take a gander at your nearest National or Enterprise lot.)

      Back to the Verona… surprisingly, though I hate the name and the company, I find the car itself pretty inoffensive. Also uninspiring. Which makes it the perfect Buick, compact size notwithstanding.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ GarbageMotorsCo……..Do you have any idea how tiresome your sounding?  Do the rest of us a favor, take your GM hate somewhere else.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Personally I could do without the little windowlettes in the A-pillars, they make the car seem cheap. However, the interior is Beautiful!!!
     
    I like the idea of a small Buick, probably because my first car was a small Buick. Lots of comfort in a trim package, works for me.
    Oh, and I still think they should have called it a Skylark.

  • avatar
    Loser

    Please Buick, lose the Pep Boy’s fake hood vents and PLEASE find a better name.

  • avatar
    daga

    I guess the Buick-GMC dealers call for a pontiac replacement was heeded.  God forbid GM exhibiting some channel discipline.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    6 plasti-chrome “Venti-Ports” with 4 cylinders inside …


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