By on November 3, 2011

In a luxury market that’s always looking for the next big thing, “Compact Luxury” has become something of a hot trend. And with GM’s Buick brand saved from the bailout-era brand cull, a compact Buick is a key test of whether The General has moved past its bad habits of cynical badge engineering. Thus the 2012 Buick Verano is a hugely important car to The General, not only serving as a bellweather for the health of the Buick brand, but also proving whether or not GM “gets” the tough-to-crack entry-luxury market. So, does the Verano measure up?

From the get-go, it’s clear that GM wanted the Verano to be a clean break from its ignominious past of rebadging Chevy compacts. In sharp contrast from Buick’s last compact, the Skylark which died out in 1998, the Verano hides its Chevrolet roots well from the outside. With only a subtle “hockey stick” character line betraying its Opel roots, the Verano is neither a rebadged Euro-market sedan (like the Regal) nor a “pure” Buick design like the LaCrosse. But it does split the difference between the two designs, marrying a subtle design with a few discrete Buick cues like the hood-mounted ventiports. The overall impression is of a clean, classy car that is, if anything, possibly a bit too substantial and anonymous… which, upon further reflection, makes it quite Buick-like.

Inside, GM’s newfound parts-bin savvy takes center stage: just as the Regal was rebadged from a different market, the Verano’s interior is borrowed but not duplicative. The seats, which are some of the best available in the compact class, are the huge, well-bolstered thrones from the LaCrosse. The IP, which is visually and ergonomically more approachable than the somber, button-laden Regal unit, is borrowed (with a few modifications) from the Opel Astra… which just so happens to be getting a new sedan variant soon. Especially in the warmer, lighter shades that Buick makes available, the soft-touch interior with its subtle chrome accents makes even the LTZ Cruze seem a bit cold and cheesy.

On the other hand, I do have one beef on the materials front. At Chevy’s Centennial event in Detroit a Chevy interior specialist told me that GM’s mass-market brand was moving away from “materials that look like something they’re not,” a direction I find highly laudable. Sadly, GM’s “thoughtful luxury” brand is a bit behind the curve in this respect, employing great swaths of brushed-nickle-look plastic around the IP and elsewhere. Though it looks good from a distance, it takes only the most superficial contact (or even thought) to realize that it’s just another hard plastic. In an interior that otherwise hits its cues well, this is something of a letdown, especially from a brand that seeks to emphasize subtlety and substance.

With the Cruze already earning accolades for being one of the most quiet and refined cars in the Compact segment, one had to wonder just how far GM would go to differentiate the Verano in this respect. The answer: much farther than you’d think. The Verano is packed with more sound-deadening foams and sealants than a Guantanamo Bay interrogation room, adding several hundred 10-15 pounds to its weight (additional weight increases compared to Cruze come from wheels, drivetrain, and additional length, say Buick reps) but delivering a shockingly quiet cabin. Puttering around town in a deathly silence, I rolled my window  down a few times for contrast, and was blown away at the wealth of aural feedback that would flood in only to be blocked when I rolled the window back up again. If you’re looking for a quiet compact, you’d be hard pressed to find a more effectively isolating model than the Verano.

That principle applies to the Verano’s 2.4 liter inline four-cylinder as well. Though frequent drivers of GM products will recognize the unmistakable buzz of an Ecotec under the hood, a special airbox gives the mill a more refined, intake-dominated engine note. Though I’d stop short of calling it musical, it sounds and feels considerably more sweet than any other Ecotec, especially at higher RPMs. Which is where you’ll probably spend quite a bit of time: though this 2.4 also does service in the larger Regal and Malibu sedans, it still has to work hard to hustle 3,300+ lbs of compact car around. Stuck behind a log truck on one of Oregon’s winding two-lane country roads? Make sure you have plenty of room and time to pass, as pickup is adequate rather than luxurious. On the other hand, if you kick back and cruise, said truck could jake-brake for miles without ever disturbing the cabin’s serene ambience.

Normally a Buick tuned for quiet, refined cruising would not be let down by weakness in the engine room. But strangely, the Verano has far more responsive (even twitchy) steering than you might expect, and it rotates around its short wheelbase to an extent that surprises… even coming from the more sport-oriented Regal. Though I personally prefer the Regal, the Verano can be even more fun than a base Regal, which is even more let down by the underwhelming 2.4. There’s no hiding the Verano’s heft, and too much fun will leave it a bit breathless, but there’s more directness and feel from the ZF electric steering rack than you might expect. If you’re looking for some real sport to go with your compact luxury, the Verano may not quite fit the bill… but a forthcoming Verano Coupe is starting to look quite promising.

Perhaps what makes the Verano feel more sporty than I expected is the simple fact that it’s a compact car… because from the driver’s seat it doesn’t feel like one. There’s a good impression of space up front, and the LaCrosse-sourced seats are large and excellent. Unfortunately, the large size of those front seats do cut back on rear-seat legroom, which loses an inch and a half compared to the Cruze (front and rear combined legroom is 76 inches, the same as an Audi A3). As a result, the rear seat impression is considerably less luxurious and less Buick-like than the front-row experience. Is this the price of entry into the compact luxury field?

This brings up another important question, and one that gets to the heart of the Verano’s most basic flaw: why do buyers want a smaller luxury car? Though marketers may bring up a number of reasons, it seems the most key consideration is fuel economy rather than smallness for its own sake. And here the Verano lets down its entire mission: 21/31 (city/highway, GM’s estimate) isn’t even competitive for a midsized car, let alone a compact. For comparison, Audi’s A6, Chrysler’s 300 V6, and BMW’s 528i xDrive and 640i Convertible are all rated at 31 MPG on the freeway or better. Closer to home, Buick’s larger Regal also gets a 31 MPG freeway rating with the same 2.4 liter and even does one better on the freeway with its optional turbo engine.

Of course, the Regal is a very different car than the Verano. Whereas Buick’s compact is a quiet, comfy cruiser with an emphasis on isolation, the Regal is pure Euro-market, with its firm, flat seats, sombre interior and handling-tuned suspension. In other words, the Verano’s engineers hit their brief dead-on: they built a well-executed, refined baby Buick that avoids direct competition with other models in the range. Unfortunately, GM’s managers seemed more intent on building a compact luxury car for its own sake (or for Buick-GMC dealer throughput numbers’ sake) than really understanding why compact luxury appeals to buyers. Until Buick decides to equip Verano with its EcoAssist mild hybrid system, it seems to be a compact luxury car without the key appeal of its segment, namely competitive fuel economy. As the saying goes: great landing, wrong airport.

Buick made the Verano (as well as a Regal for comparison) available for this review at a media event. Buick provided lunch, and later sent a set of water glasses made from old wine bottles to me, to commemorate the event’s presence in Oregon’s Pinot Noir wine country. 

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144 Comments on “Review: 2012 Buick Verano...”


  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    So, to get one of the three rumored variants that one might want – a convertible, a (performance?) coupe, or a hybrid compact – one has to hope that the version nobody is going to want to buy sells?

    The LaCrosse is more of a classic Buick that gets better fuel economy with eAssist; the LaCrosse V6 or the Regal gives better performance; the Cruze is cheaper and considerably more fuel efficient; other brands have mid-size cars that are cheaper, more fuel efficient, and can be larded up with leather just the same.

    GM should bring the variations quickly or give it up.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I see the Verano more as an answer in search of a question.

      The issue remains which demographic would choose to buy this Verano over a Cruze. And that demographic has to be predisposed to spend a great deal more money for an extra-quiet Cruze LTZ with a dolled-up interior.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        A better question is: would the demographic that buys soft, small cars buy this instead of a Corolla?

        I’m not entirely sure. I mean, yes, this (and the Cruze) are nicer to ride in, but the more pragmatic buyer will go for the Corolla’s rep (and mileage) more often than not.

        Maybe in a few years this will change, but without mileage to recommend it this car is a tough sell, not only against the Corolla, but against certain midsizers as well. Other small cars can get away with being dubious values because they bring something else (sportiness, economy, kitsch) to the table. This doesn’t, and I can’t help but think that the Meriva might have been a better choice.

        That said, it looks better than I thought it would.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @psar: The demo that drives soft, small cars may include Corolla drivers, but this is clearly a different beast than the Toyota. I don’t believe you can option up a Rolla to the level this Buick will have.

        I will say this: As I approach 50, I’m becoming more and more enamored with a smooth, quiet ride. My daughter recently purchased a Saturn Aura XR, it is markedly quieter than my Pontiac G6, while just as fast, maneuverable and economical. I’m thinking I should have looked at Saturns last time I bought new.

        I find that I really appreciate that quieter ride. Plus, when I crank the Led Zeppelin to 11, I can actually hear all of the notes.

        Maybe not today, but I could possibly see me in a Buick like this. I don’t know that I’d want a Regal, and I generally don’t consider myself a Buick ‘person’, having owned several Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles. I thought my next new car might be a nice Chevy, but one of these would be within reach…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        psar, at one of the meetings I attended recently one of the speakers showed a Powerpoint presentation of the top ten cars by age group and brand.

        It was interesting but I cannot recall any place on that chart where a luxurious tiny Buick had appeal to any age group, with or without money. Lexus? Yep. Buick? Nil.

        And you are right about the rep for reliability and value-retention of the Corolla, year after year after year. It is unlikely that the Verano will be much different in those aspects than a Cruze.

        We won’t know for years to come yet how well the Cruze (or Verano) will hold up against established class-mates like the Corolla and Civic.

        And years is longer than GM has before it has to re-establish itself or be acquired and re-invented in foreign joint-ventures.

      • 0 avatar
        cfclark

        I’m not sure what demographic will buy this car at the local Buick-GMC dealer, but I’m sure I will see one in the Emerald Aisle at the airport within a couple of months (and yes, I’ll probably try one if I get the chance, just out of curiosity).

      • 0 avatar

        It’s ugly. Not really awfully ugly, like a Caliber, but just ugly like your average modern appliance. And it has a really stupid name. Verano? Verano? Sounds like they programmed the computer to come up with a really anodyne and meaningless 3 syllable name.

      • 0 avatar
        newcarscostalot

        I was thinking that the demographic might be those that would be looking to purchase an Avalon or ES 350 for the first time. If I am correct I wonder if this vehicle would be cross shopped or not?

      • 0 avatar

        Psar: I can’t agree, my mother is exactly suitable for this car (minus fuel economy), and she views the Carolla with disdain (she won’t even look at one).

        These cars a totally different, and although the Carolla may ride soft, it doesn’t nothing else luxuriously. Incredibly cheap interior, noisy, unrefined, and largely unpleasant. But soft, yes.

        I would say waht this car competes against is small luxury compacts, which start at high-end Focai and Cruzes, and finish with cars like the Lexus CF and Audi A3.

        From my perspective, the Verano is a strong competitor to the lower end of that category. First, I get the gadgets and features, a tad bit of brand cachet (more than Ford or Chevy)and, even as a young person, I get the silent ride that I long for on long highway stretches.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        geozinger: “My daughter recently purchased a Saturn Aura XR, it is markedly quieter than my Pontiac G6

        I could possibly see me in a Buick like this.”

        It’s a bad omen for Buick. I mean, there must be something in common. Same company, same management, same designers, same engineers, same buyer demography. And if all goes well, same fate.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        This car may be great for females over 50 years old. Somewhat compact size plus comfort is a great selling point to a lot of people, particularly women that don’t like to drive big cars. That is a BIG market (although not on automobile internet message boards).

        And people over 50 tend to have a lot more disposable income than younger people. Why car marketers chase young people with little/no money and seem to ignore older people that have lots of cash (and/or great credit) baffles me.

      • 0 avatar
        Dukeboy01

        I’m with geozinger and I only turn 36 next week. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to afford multiple vehicles for different uses. If I was looking for a commuter car to drive on my 40 mile round trip between work and home, comfort and quietness would rank as high or higher than fuel economy. The Verano would be at the top of my list. I have a Camaro for ripping and roaring on weekends. On the daily commute I want to tune in some jazz on the XM radio and zone out.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        These cars a totally different, and although the Carolla may ride soft, it doesn’t nothing else luxuriously. Incredibly cheap interior, noisy, unrefined, and largely unpleasant. But soft, yes.

        The thing is, those things don’t matter to the kind of people looking for sensible transport. For (most of) the people who do, this car is not on the radar for all sorts of other reasons (brand, size, looks, etc).

        People who want a small, soft car will either go Corolla (if they’re looking for absolute reliability) or Cruze (if they have a reason to buy from GM, want a nicer car, and/or don’t care about absolute reliability).

        The Lexus HS and CT have a similar problem, except that they have branding to tread on and Toyota really only sells the CT in North America to make up volume. This car might make sense in Europe or China, but not in North America. If GM is selling it here to soak up volume in China, that’s fine, but let’s be honest: either this car won’t sell, or GM will end up discounting it (in a way Toyota does not have to with the HS and CT) to satisfy Buick-Pontia..err…GMC dealers who have no small car to sell, and that’ll do nothing save damage what little brand equity the LaCrosse and Enclave bought.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        What are they doing to Buick?

        These seem to be cars that need a home and Buick is the only place to put them for now.

        Buicks are plush and roomy. They are made for comfy cruising. This is some weird claustrophobic compact that wants to suffocate you inside of it. Buicks are not supposed to be invade your space. This one does.

        This is not a Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        I agree with the point of demographics. Every week someone questions my choice of the Audi A3 and why I paid so much for a small car. Not that this Buick won’t appeal to someone, but will Buick sell enough to satisfy the accountants at GM.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Vanilla – have you sat in one or did you read the review “There’s a good impression of space up front, and the LaCrosse-sourced seats are large and excellent.”
        I am sure the back is “cramped” but upfront from all the reviews it is fine and LaCrosse seats are a positive. I agree with you about Buick qualities and this car seems to have them – powerful, effortless engine (for its size), quiet cabin, nice interior design and materials, good seats.

      • 0 avatar
        thinglebot

        Great analysis, more brand management than car- why are we doing this all over again?

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        @fredtal
        “Every week someone questions my choice of the Audi A3 and why I paid so much for a small car.”

        That I get. What I ask A3 buyers is why didn’t you get a GTI? I have been pondering this decision myself recently and I cannot make a case for a car like the A3 when the GTI exists.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Jeez, so many knee-jerk reactions without a drive. Well, how about you all go drive it FIRST and compare it to the ancient/noisy, bottom-feeder Corolla, with their take-it-or-leave-it dealer network?

      Or the Acura with it’s noisy, ‘dumb enough to pay more for a Honda’ marketing plan (failing)?

      Or the Audi/BMW/Mercedes, with an even worse version of the Toyota take-it-or-leave-it dealer network, where you need to pay more for even poorer reliability?

      Or the Lexus bland, safe bet for those who have the cash, but don’t dare be adventurous; good until value for what you get, where your money went, is considered. $5k more for the inflated reputation, easy.

      Why buy it over a Cruze LTZ? Why buy any brands 7 over a 3, or 5?

      Heavy? No, not for 2011. Duh. Look at how much a Smart Car weighs.

      Fuel economy? Plenty of cars for line-item spec already.

      For those who don’t want a noisier, harsher, less comfortable luxury car at a inflated prices, and for those who don’t want an A-hole dealer network, and for those who still feel some need to support the home team, well… Buick Verano gives you that choice.

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        @DetroitX – +++1! Thanks. I was about to explain why Buicks are better than Corollas, etc.; you saved me the trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        +1

        I’ve owned two GM cars new and the dealer network (and corporate support, I might add) were stellar. Now Kia, on the other hand…. huge disappointment given the warranty they flaunt all over the place.

      • 0 avatar
        Bob

        Amen – Many Idiots criticizing without reality experience or information. I drive a newish 335xi, my Wife a Honda Pilot, my Daughter a 2012 Focus SEL. I went test driving after a lot of research for my son’s car.

        We drove Elantra – research is great for everything except passenger safety score. Interior is like a wonderful and fun video arcade, an artistic treat for the eyes, but handling/driving it is not acceptable. The Steering is like a video game in the arcade – no road feel at all. Road noise and bumps and overall feel are like a 10 year old car. I would worry a lot about how it would drive after a few years (I keep my cars 12 years).

        Fusion 2.5 drove well with just (barely) enough power and adequate suspension with excellent steering response and feel. The interior seemed very middling compared to Focus and BMW (and Verona). But more important, safety ratings adjusted for new gov’t standards are not acceptable. They are visible only on new window stickers and have not really made it to the internet yet, or I probably would have skipped testing this.

        Finally, we test drove the Verano and it blew us away (both me and my 6′ 4″, 21Yr old, DJ son). Only about 25K – Could buy 2 for the cost of 1 well-equipped BMW, with inferior safety stats (assuming the Verona inherits the Cruze stats). Quiet is very nice, but steering is as good as the Fusion/Focus, better than the BMW, and the suspension is quite good – I like road feel, but don’t require a lot. Interior is nicely stated. ALSO HAS A 4 YEAR Warranty !!!

        You should all test drive this and price it before you compare it to your theory of what it is.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Why would you buy this over a Cruze LTZ unless you qualify for social security? This is the exact opposite of what Buick needs to improve its brand image. The new Astra hatchback would have been a better choice to change the brand’s demographics.

    But then why does GM think it can succeed where cars like the Volvo S40 have failed? There’s nothing wrong with this car from an engineering standpoint (Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” is rather impressive, especially at this price point) and it’s a far cry from the badge-engineered Skyhawks and Skylarks of the ’80s. But the mere existence of such a superfluous product (GM sells six unique 5-passenger sedans priced between $20-30k for 2012) is proof that the old-school, out-of-touch 14th-floor arrogance survived bankruptcy intact.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I’d definitely buy it over the Cruze because of the reasonably powerful naturally aspirated engine that has delivered better real world mileage in magazine tests. I’m not the target market for these cars though, so my opinion really doesn’t matter. And the eyebrows on the tail lights? Really? Is GM styling still as sophisticated as gold teeth?

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Couldn’t give an Astra hatchback away when they were being sold as Saturns, why would the outcome be any different under Buick?

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        rpol35, hard to sell a really great car when you don’t advertise it. The only time I remember even seeing a TV or print ad that had an Astra in it was when it bundled within those stupid ‘like never before’ commercials. Regardless of that fact, the Astra sold surprisingly well. I still get mad compliments on my 2008 XR 5 door.

        You are also forgetting that Buick has a long history of selling rebadged Opels, going back to the 70′s. For reasons that are explained but never really understood, GM and at times Ford (and VW) never bring over the European model. Instead they always make some consession to the bean-counters and marketers and pull their punches. At least here, Buick had a task/purpose for a small, luxury car that has done rather well in execution but ultimately will fail because of the mileage factor and more damning, price.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @from a buick6- My neighbor just got out of a late model Caddy for a Verano. He can afford what he wants.
      You ought to drive one before you pass judgement on the car and decide whether it is a good business decision. This car will give B-GMC dealers a lower priced entry, and has a shot at becoming their volume car. As nice as the Cruze LTZ is, Buick will sell these cars to folks who want a premium step up. It is better looking and more luxurious,has much more powerful powertrains, and still starts around $23K, if memory serves.
      I would not bet against this car. It is built in GM’s new low cost small car plant along with Sonic. If we see $5 gas, that plant can be doubled, even quadrupled in capacity without brick and mortar.

      BTW, the 14th floor is now a county building and you appear to have missed the fact that GM had an operating profit of $9.2B last year, $7B from NA even in weak market4. Not bad for the out of touch arrogance you attribute to them.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        I just bought a new Jetta GLI. I cross-shopped off-lease BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, Volvos and Acuras. For a brief moment I even considered the Cruze LTZ and Focus Titanium. Not for one second did any Buick appear on my shopping list. I’d buy a Camry before I’d buy a Buick.

        I don’t need to drive the Verano to pass judgement on it. It looks like my 80 year old grandmother’s LaCrosse, the performance figures are underwhelming and the mileage flat-out stinks even compared to the bigger Buicks. Only old folks and GM sycophants would be caught dead in this car. Everyone else is better served by the Cruze or Malibu.

        “BTW, the 14th floor is now a county building and you appear to have missed the fact that GM had an operating profit of $9.2B last year, $7B from NA even in weak market4. Not bad for the out of touch arrogance you attribute to them.”

        I’m aware. The metaphor is still valid. You’ve just proved it by using manipulated accounting figures to justify stupid product planning decisions. When the government wipes the slate clean, even GM can turn a “profit.”

  • avatar
    Steven02

    If you compare the fuel economy of the Verano to the A3 or the TSX, you get the same numbers.

    It will be interesting to see what the Verano turbo does.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      But the A3 and TSX have better dynamic performance with the same F/E.
      Verano loses. The Verano turbo will suck more gas and still struggle to keep up with TSX and A3.
      If GM marketing thinks Buick competes with Audi and Acura ( and they do by the way ) then they are on crack.
      The car is a failure.

      Can we move the next failure: The ATS? This is fun watching the “new and improved” GM’s “post-bankruptcy” products fall onto the market with an audible thud.

      Ed tried as he might to like the car but at the end of the day the Verano gets one, big “Mehhh” with a long shoulder shrug.

  • avatar
    SV

    This is an attractive car, shame about the mediocre gas mileage. I’d say 25/35 at least would be more appropriate.

    One correction: the interior is actually out of the Astra, not the Zafira.

    http://www.netcarshow.com/opel/2010-astra/800×600/wallpaper_57.htm

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I like looking at the car, outside and inside, and it sounds like I’d rather enjoy driving it. Except for one literal pain in the backside: I wouldn’t be able to stand sitting in it. If this car has LaCrosse seats, it now joins the LaCrosse and Regal to make three otherwise appealing Buicks whose murderous can’t-stop-it lumbar “support” drives a pain-inducing wedge into my spine. Deal broken.

  • avatar
    Loser

    Not a bad looking car, would look better without the chrome over the tail lights. Verano, what a lousy name.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    the question is…when will the turbo make its way into this car?
    I can’t see it being available in the Cruze, but not it’s expensive cousin.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The magazines that have done instrumented testing on this car have seen real world mileage that is very competitive with other heavily equipped compact sedans and much better than automatic Cruze 1.4 turbos. Motor Trend saw 25.2 mpg Verano 2.4 compared to 22.3 mpg for a Cruze LTZ automatic 1.4T. Throw in the likely durability advantage of the Buick drivetrain, and it is an easy pick over a loaded Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      How is the Buick drivetrain more “durable” than Cruze? They are the same? You imply the turbo engine is less “durable” than the non-turbo engine?

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      How is the Buick drivetrain more “durable” than Cruze? They are the same. You imply the turbo engine is less “durable” than the non-turbo engine?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Imply? Why pretend otherwise? We’re not talking about a high performance car where the turbo won’t be in almost constant operation. We’re talking about a car that is close to 3,200 lbs empty with a 1.4 liter engine and an automatic transmission. It only moves because of the turbo, which means that the extra heat and combustion pressures will be a constant presence. It won’t last as long. Heroine isn’t good for your health either.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      What would be even better is using an engine that isn’t from seven years ago to get some actual power. Hyundai has been getting 200 HP out of a DI’d 2.4 for a couple years now, pretty sure Chevy can do at least that.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I like this car. I think the idea that old people want huge land yachts is out dated. The baby boomers grew up on vw beetles, remember and all those tiny Japanese cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “The baby boomers grew up on vw beetles, remember and all those tiny Japanese cars.”

      I most certainly did not! I drove full-size cars!

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      This is my 67-year old mother…she wants (eventually in another year or so) something refined, comfortable, solid, slightly upscale and NOT LARGE! She’d prefer a car very much like the Verano is described here. The argument that “bigger is better” doesn’t do much for her, as she is much more at ease driving cars more in line with the size of this car. How does the size compare to, say, a 2012 Camry (probably her current bogey as a replacement for her 2003 Corolla, although she thought that even the Camry was a tad larger than she wants)…

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Wow, so you just described Buick’s typical demographic. The comments above reflect the same opinion… that this car appeals to older people. Buick has never had a problem attracting older customers, and yes, the 50+ age bracket does have more money and more credit. But they also dont spend it as easily, and if Buick cannot attract younger buyers to the brand, then how will they keep thier customer base in the long term?? Thats exactly what got them in the place they were 5-10 yrs ago, and the same situation that brought us the Skyhawk in the 80s.

        You dont have to turn off older buyers to be able to appeal to younger buyers. Anecdotal evidence aside, very few buyers in thier 30s will even consider a Buick. Before you comment, yea, I know, you would, but even the Aztek found buyers, so there is proof that there is exceptions to every rule. I think this sounds like a good car, I see the appeal. But it doesnt seem like a GREAT car, and GM needs to hit every one out of the ballpark right now.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Aha, it’s the 2012 Buick Special! And I mean that in a good way. The 1961-63 Special/Skylark was another instance where GM got the luxury compact thing right. Much like the Verano, the Special had a lot of Chevy structure under the skin (it’s basically a Corvair significantly modified to accommodate a front engine), but you didn’t notice it, and it was different in ways that added value.

    On one hand, it’s a shame that the well designed compact Specials were dropped in favor of moving the nameplate one step up the size ladder. But back then, there was more profit in a bigger car. Better that we remember it fondly than as something that was turned into a badge engineered Nova (oh wait, we did get those eventually . . . )

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    While I can see the (lack of) fuel economy possibly hurting the sales of this car, I think you are overlooking a major edge this has compared to the rest of the Buick line-up: it’s cheaper.

    While I wouldn’t go as far as to call Buick a luxury brand, this is the lowest cost of entry into an upscale brand. For someone who wants a premium car experience combined with a bit of badge snobbery vs the base Chevy this could be appealing.

    Regarding the fuel economy estimates vs. the BMW, et. al, I think it would fit into the ethos of this site to start reporting fuel economy figures adjusted for the type of fuel required, or at least to mention when a vehicle requires premium fuel. The BMWs require premium, which is about 8-10% more expensive than the regular the Buick runs on. So even if the BMW matches the fuel economy of the Buick, adjust for the cost of fuel requires the Buick would be more efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I think we are talking about VERY little brand snobbery. The only people who think Buick is a luxury or near-luxury brand are other Buick owners and some GM die-hard fans. Everyone else still thinks Buick is granddad’s car. Don’t get me wrong, I am very impressed with how nice the interiors of recent Buicks have been, and I see the direction they are heading… but it takes a decade or more of continuous unrelenting improvement to change the public’s perception of a brand. Buick still has a long way to go, and they still do not seem to have a clear direction in what they want to be.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “The only people who think Buick is a luxury or near-luxury brand are other Buick owners and some GM die-hard fans.”

        Totally agree. To me, Chevy is a bit lower than Toyota/Honda. (Cavalier anyone? Aveo are you there?) Cadillac is a bit lower than Lexus. Naturally, Buick, being a bit higher than Chevy, is on par with Toyota in terms prestige. And that’s when Buick is doing it right. When Buick is doing it wrong, you have 1990 Skylark vs. Civic.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    SO this is priced at $21-27k? Right in the MAILBU/IMPALA/ACCORD/CAMRY/ALTIMA/SONATA/OPTIMA/MAZDA 6/PRIUS/FUSION/LEGACY price range. And it gets poor mileage? My Altima V-6 gets around the same. And I drive fast.
    How many do they think they are going to sell? A smaller car that cost the same as larger cars from its competition? I know the vast majority of Buick’s go out the door in cheap lease deals(that $199 a month for a Regal sign the dealer around the corner has is going to move a few cars). But seriously, who is the market for this?

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    I like what I see in this car. I drive an ’02 BMW 325i and an ’03 Subaru Forester, both are fairly small easy to park vehicles, useful in an urban environment. Verano is small but not too small. MPG is not a critical issue for me. The reported quietness of the Verano appeals to me and the styling is distinctive. Hope they sell well like the Cruze.

    • 0 avatar

      I drive a last gen Outback, and I’m in the same boat. I like the quietness (relatively, could be better), and compliance of the suspension, but it feels too big to me. I’d prefer if it weren’t a sedan, but hey, I’m still interested.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I was following the sermon pretty well until you mentioned “buzz of an Ecotec” and 21/31 mpg.

    Other than for the nice quiet interior why would someone buy this instead of a Sonata Turbo or Optima Turbo, each of which can be had around $27k, with a better warranty, better mpg, and better looks?

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      And much faster.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The argument of “well a Sonata/Optima turbo is $27K why buy this” can be said for many cars including a Acura TSX, an Audi A3, any mainstream mid-sizer or even a Focus Titanium! The Acura and Audi are the competitors for this along with the top spec compacts (Cruze LTZ, Focus Titanium etc).

      As has been said by CJ the real world economy of this is at least on a par with the Cruze and many other compacts – even the Sonata turbo in real life doesn`t get the claimed fuel economy. I recall an article on TTAC about some car manufacturer (was it Ford) complaining about Hyundai “gaming” the EPA tests.

      As for price the base Verano lists for $500 more than the base Focus Titanium. That is pretty competitive when you include the more powerful engine, longer warranty and quieter cabin.

      I don`t subscribe to the theory that older people buying compact luxury cars are looking at mpg solely. Nor rear cabin space, since downsizing probably means they only need the front seats the majority of the time. For that demographic this car fits the bill. Since I suspect Buick isn`t expecting to sell more than around 4000 a month (about the same as a typical month for the Regal) then it doesn`t have to suit everyone. Since I along with others on TTAC aren`t the best at predicting car sales (Jetta, Cruze included) lets leave it to the market to see if it works.

      The upcoming Verano GS with the turbo engine should be interesting if the steering and chassis are as good as described.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @mike978: Good points, all. It will sell, and GM should be praised for everything they’re doing right in it. It’s just not my taste.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The argument of “well a Sonata/Optima turbo is $27K why buy this” can be said for many cars including a Acura TSX, an Audi A3

        You should look at the sales numbers for the TSX and A3. They aren’t very high for the TSX, and they’re next to nothing for the A3.

        I will predict that whatever unique sales that are gained with the Verano (in other words, the sales that were not obtained by cannibalizing the sales of other GM products) will not offset the additional cost of developing it. The Verano illustrates the problems of GM’s three-channel strategy — it encourages the development of cars for the sake of giving dealers something to sell, instead of focusing on the needs of the market and the integrity of the brand.

        As a concept, near-luxury brands no longer work in the US. It’s not working for Acura, it didn’t work for Mercury, it definitely isn’t working for Saab and it’s not exactly doing wonders for Volvo. Either move up the ladder or move down; the space in between isn’t distinctive enough to deserve its own place on the branding ladder.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        PCH – you make some good points. I don`t know how it will sell, it could fail. That would not be unknown.
        I mentioned the TSX and A3 but also top range Compacts like Focus Titanium and Cruze LTZ. It will cannablise some Regal sales but should bring in some net sales. Since alot of the cost is covered by Cruze/Astra development I wouldn`t have expected the development cost to be skyhigh along with sales to China. At the end of the day we will see from volume and GM profit figures – hopefully they have learnt to only sell vehicles that make a profit.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It will cannablise some Regal sales

        I would presume that it could cannibalize other GM sales aside from the Regal.

        The things to compare would be the total sales that GM (not just Buick) would have with it, versus without it, with some consideration for the transaction price. I would not presume that every Verano sale will be a sale that would have been otherwise lost to the competition.

        The size class is wrong for Buick. All of these compact near-luxury sedans have lackluster sales in the US market. If they’re going to badge engineer anything, it should be the upcoming Malibu, not the Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Because: A) Not everybody likes the look of either the Sonata or the Optima; B) Not everybody wants/needs close to 300 HP in their car; C) Some folks like quiet comfort when they are on the road

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        If Buick offers a two door variant of this, I know one family that would seriously look at it – it’s quiet, it gets reasonable highway mileage, it’s very well equipped, and all of that makes it the perfect Interstate tourer for empty-nesters like us.

        We’re not yet old, because we were very young parents, so now we have a lot of time and energy left. We use that time and energy several times a year to go on extended trips of 7 or more days.

        This car (in coupe form only) would be the answer to Mrs. Monty’s prayers. A smallish and extremely quiet car capable of chewing up miles and miles of interstate. It doesn’t matter that it’s a Buick – it just has to come as a two-door (maybe with a hatchback) WITH A STICK (are you listening, Buick?) and some sporty intent.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Because:

      A) The Optima/Sonata is quite a bit larger (and some folks don’t have a desire to drive cars beyond a certain size)
      B) Looks are completely subjective. I showed my mother the Verano and she loved it.
      C) Because at 67 years old and completely out of debt with enough disposable cash to buy pretty much whatever she wants, THIS car appeals to her.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s a pity that this car is let down by its engine. GM take note: Buyers of comfy cruise mobiles like low end torque. In this case the low pressure turbo engine from the Regal would have been a much better choice.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      carguy – it has been reported that the 220hp turbo is coming to the Verano next year. Since in the Regal the turbo costs $1800 more it makes sense for Buick to start with the 2.4 so the entry price is low enough. Not everyone needs or wants a turbo, it is called choice.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I think the “old” GM would have used the same engines in the Chevy and the Buick version of this car, and that would have been bad. But in this case, it would appear that the Cruze engine might have been a better choice. Coupled with the other improvements Buick made to differentiate this car from the Cruze, but with the better mileage numbers, would have made it an easier sell in today’s market.

    • 0 avatar
      slyall

      Well I think if GM would put out something with a 3800 series 2 or 3 in it again , they would probably sell a few.

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        I believe the 3800 plant was torn down years ago; the tools went…..where? China? Mexico?; a great engine – power + mpg; 240 hp in SC form; totally opposite to today’s turbo – 4′s rated at similar output.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        3800, one of the highest production volume engines in world history. If you had a Murilee Martin like love of “auto recycling centers” you could find the parts to keep a 3800 running from now until doomsday.

      • 0 avatar
        slyall

        Tell me about it. 96 Regal, 67k, rust and peeled paint,
        But that series II is smooooooooth!

  • avatar
    Nick

    I must say, I think it’s a handsome design, especially in that colour, and I like the interior. The not so inspiring four is offputting IF they want to move their customer base down two decades. I might not mind it so much as I spend most of my life stuck in traffic.

  • avatar

    I saw one of these at the Long Island Auto Show.
    Cute car but at the prices Buick will sell these, I doubt many people will bite here in America. I do however know this car will do VERY well in China. There, you don’t need a lot of power, the people are small and will fit well in it and its nameplate is RESPECTED.

  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    It’s not a bad looking car by any means; from some angles it’s actually attractive. GM should be commended for making the Verona Verano appropriately distinct from its Daewoo Cruze sibling.

    But wow, $30K for one of these? BTS is right; it’ll do well in China. Not a compliment.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      $30K?? Starts at $23K and tops out around $27.5K with sunroof, leather, navigation and other gadgets. If you like rounding up so much then $30K for a Focus, or a top spec Jetta etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        Pssst, mike. Wanna point your browser over to buick.com and spec out a loaded Bu-woo? I’ll wait.

        (tap… tap… tap…)

        I’m guessing your computer also shows somewhere around $30,055 plus TTL and destination. That’s a lot of coin for an economy car.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Pssst Rob – I did use my browser and came to $28,870 – that is the leather spec, with sunroof, premium white paint and navigation. By the way your original post didn`t say fully loaded (I got to $29,600 if every box was ticked, something that never happens. To include spoiler, cargo net, cargo cover, first aid kit etc is just you being unrealistic). If you did your game with other compact cars you would get to similar prices.

        It is also not an economy car, it may be a compact car, which is a size classification. Economy car conjures up noisy, slow, small engine car. Even you must accept that the Verano is none of those.

        tap, tap, tap – I await you response Mr Snark.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Those are some beautiful colors in the background.

    I always like to root for the proverbial underdog. But the protruding Buick grille may not seem as high class as the competition, and we have to realize that every entry level ‘luxury’ sedan sold with a severe shortage of rear leg room has struggled to find a name in the states.

    The Verano may have a lot of quality engineering and design. But time will tell if that will be enough to make up for it’s lack of space.

    Perhaps an engine transplant can’t come soon enough.

  • avatar
    chrisgreencar

    I don’t find it ugly at all. In fact, I think it’s a classy-looking car and a little more interesting to look at than the nice but rather anonymous-looking Regal. And I like the name Verano! At least it’s a name, not a number or series of letters!

    “It’s ugly. Not really awfully ugly, like a Caliber, but just ugly like your average modern appliance. And it has a really stupid name. Verano? Verano? Sounds like they programmed the computer to come up with a really anodyne and meaningless 3 syllable name.”

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Ed, I had the same reaction when I saw the fuel economy numbers for the car. My question is, how does it compare in luxury to other cars? The Sonata and Focus SEL are two standouts that get markedly better fuel economy (and in the case of the Sonata are much larger), but if one doesn’t need the space (say a pair of empty nesters), is this more luxurious than either of those? Similarly, with the exception of the lack of space, how does it compare to pricier, bigger offerings like the 300, Taurus, Avalon, and yes even the LaCrosse? If it can match on luxury and match or beat them on fuel economy for less $, then there may be a niche for this car.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      As for fuel economy, it would be good if it were better but the Mazda 3 (upto model year 2011) and the current Jetta have comparable highway figures in the low 30′s. They sold 250,000 combined. So maybe it isn`t such as issue for many people. Time will tell.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Thats great, so they benchmarked and matched old competitors and vehicles that are not known for fuel economy. Sounds like same old same old at GM. And this car doesnt even compete at all with either the Jetta or the Mazda3, both of which are considered “sporty” choices (though I admit, the Jetta isnt really sporty, its just image).

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        mnm – I wasn`t saying it competed with the 3 or Jetta in terms of style/drive etc. My point was the comparatively low (official if not real world) economy does not turn off everyone. An e-Assist model would make sense but lets see how it sells. It may fail but then that wouldn`t be unique to GM (Element, Ridgeline, ZDX, Suzuki’s entire line-up are examples of failure to sell).

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Mazda and Jetta appeal to different buyers. The Verano is likely to appeal to people like my parents, who already own a Buick, and may want to downsize. But my parents are definitely old school – “If it’s small, it should get great gas mileage.” Because, in their eyes, that is the main reason a person buys a small car.

        They aren’t going to be impressed by those mileage figures.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @mike, I understand, and my point was that GM could have done better here, but didnt. Mazda and VW target driving dynamics, they sold cars despite the relatively lower fuel economy. I had the same complaint when I shopped the Mazda3, if they had offered the SkyActiv engine in 2010 I would have bought one, no doubt. But now its 2012, and every player has stepped up thier game… and fuel economy is a much bigger concern than it was. GM started with a platform here that already hit the numbers that people look for, and had decent performance… the Cruze. The appear to have done a fine job in differentiating the Verano and moving it upscale for Buick, but by swapping out to a bigger NA 4-cyl, they lost important economy numbers and gained apparently nothing… not smoother, not more powerful, etc. It would appear to be a marketing decision aimed at people like my father-in-law who thinks engines have to be big to have power.

        That is not going to attract new buyers to Buick. My father-in-law already will buy one… appealing to him is pointless. My guess is they could have dropped in a more powerful, smoother V6 and still hit the same economy numbers, and at least gained something for it. Its just so close to a home run, they could have checked every box instead of most boxes.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        mnm – I understand where you are coming from and maybe the lowish fuel economy will trip it up. As for “The appear to have done a fine job in differentiating the Verano and moving it upscale for Buick, but by swapping out to a bigger NA 4-cyl, they lost important economy numbers and gained apparently nothing… not smoother, not more powerful, etc.”
        The engine is 180hp vs 138 for the two Cruze engines and 171lb/ft torque vs 141 lb/ft in the turbo 1.4. So 3300lb vs 3146lb (curb weight – source Edmunds). So it is >20% more powerful with a weight gain of 5%. That means they did gain something since it is more powerful. No whether this makes up for the fuel economy is an open question at this time.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        good point, I hadnt considered the extra weight. Maybe that drove the decision…

        Also, I am not discounting the fact that in the real world, turbo MPG is rarely as good as they get rated by the EPA. I would get that real world MPG on this car is probably the same as real world MPG on a similarly equipped Cruze.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Explain to my why GM doesn’t use the 2.0L turbo or 2.4L turbo in these cars?

    Seems like a perfect compromise. More power, likely better fuel economy, torque to haul around the mass.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      But they are going to use the turbo engine. It is called giving people choice and lowering the price of entry. Not everyone wants a turbo engine and I am sure if it came out solely with a turbo engine then some on here would say “oh I wished it had a standard 4 cylinder than doesn`t require premium”.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I found this review no more than an impression, and short on details. Despite the rather holier than thou attitude TTAC shows toward the print press, I find the C/D review of this vehicle quite a bit superior. And not for the first time.

    For a start, they actually weighed the car. It’s 3484 lbs. A monumental fattie for its size. They got 21 mpg overall. It is slow. Seat adjustments are economy grade. A Cruze LT weighed 3170 lbs, so this thing grunts around lugging over 300 lbs of old Buick-style road-hugging weight, with a torque peak at 4900 rpm, and power peak at 6700 long stroke chuffing rpm.

    This C/D statement made me laugh: “… the Verano goes beyond library quiet to achieve the peace and tranquility of a vacant coal mine.”

    How many mobile coal mines achieve 21 mpg? And weigh as much as my loaded AWD Legacy GT?

    I think TTAC should measure mpg properly in this day and age – it’s an important metric. Also, the purported quirky steering makes me wonder if anyone thought to check tire pressures. There is, IMO, a long way for TTAC to go to produce authoritative reviews, a lot of little details to go through on a basic check sheet.

    I like TTAC a lot, so offer this as constructive criticism. Despite Baruth’s criticism of C/D’s editors as a bunch of 0.3 g nannies, a blatant exaggeration in my view, just telling us that TTAC is better than the print boys is far from the truth. This site isn’t better at car reviews than C/D just because the staff here say so – you have a vested interest in promoting yourselves after all. Attacking others in the same field of endeavour over and over again just makes me think less of you. I’ll make up my own mind on that score, thanks. I skip over those type of posts these days. Not interested.

    Meanwhile, the mainly geriatric folks that buy this vehicle will wobble down the road in silence, wondering where all the torque has gone. I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      For a start, they actually weighed the car. It’s 3484 lbs. A monumental fattie for its size.

      Possibly they benchmarked the MkV Jetta, which was also a block of lead on wheels.

      That’s a stunning figure, though. The full-size Honda-frikkin-Accord weighs less than that.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I will speak up on behalf of editor Ed, here.

      This review was conducted under the same circumstances which generate C/D “Short Looks” and “First Drives”, which is to say, two hours with the car on GM’s designated test loop. The C/D person on that same trip didn’t generate anything more substantive than Ed.

      C/D doesn’t weigh and test the cars until they have one delivered to Ann Arbor. However, the manufacturers make sure they get a very early look at them.

      If GM had the guts to deliver a test car to me, I’d run it up on a four-corner scale, publish the results, and take it around Nelson Ledges to boot.

      There’s a vested set of interests going on here. C/D gets better access to the cars and they get it sooner than we do. In return, they do what it takes to maintain those relationships.

      • 0 avatar

        wmba: What Jack said. I had an opportunity to spend a day in the car… I don’t have a test facility with scales, decibel meters, skidpad, or even the opportunity to independently verify fuel economy. I think there are lots of ways in which the buff books fall short of serving their readers, but I have never said that TTAC can entirely replace these decades-old institutions which have the resources to perform the kinds of testing you’re talking about. Moreover I think it’s more than a bit unrealistic of you to expect that kind of capability from a (free) website with an editorial budget that is less than what most buff-book Editors-in-Chief make by themselves. But thanks for expecting so much from us… it really is flattering to be held to such a high standard!

        psarhinjian: There was a funny moment at the pre-drive briefing, when the Buick folk were talking about competitors they benchmarked in development. “The previous Jetta? Yeah, maybe, to some extent. The current Jetta? Definitely not.”

  • avatar
    John R

    How much are they asking for this? I’m wondering if a loaded up Sona/tima might be a better deal…

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Look at the Buick website but it starts around $23K and tops out around $27K including delivery.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I had to reply to this.

      Start a Sona/tima on a frozen morning. It will sound oil-starved like a sewing machine and feel like a cold pair of Apple earbuds.

      Start a Buick on the same cold morning. It sounds like a warm car and feels like a wool cap fresh out of the dryer.

      Afte renting dozens of mid-sized sedans on business travel, there are definitely differences between Ford, GM, and Kia products. These differences are most appreciated at 5 AM on a February Monday.

  • avatar
    rodface

    @David Holzman: I can’t reply on your comment for some reason, but sir, please: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/verano

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Look honey, it’s the 2012 Alero.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    The glued on chrome above the tail-lights is kind of hideous, subjectively speaking.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Some miscellaneous observations:

    -Verano is a really crappy name. Is that the best name they could come up with? Really?
    -Only five exterior colors are available and TWO of those are extra cost($325/$495). No black cloth offered.
    -Price zooms quickly if you want leather seats, you are talking $26,000+ (Leather Group) which is where the base Regal starts (which has leather standard), so why not just get the Regal then?
    -Mileage is mediocre at best.
    -Overall exterior/interior design is nice, but HATE those little A-pillar triangle windows.

  • avatar
    alluster

    How come the Equinox weighing almost 500 pounds more, with the same engine and obviously less aerodynamic get 32 MPG’s on the highway? Somethings not right here, unless the Verano is geared towards performance and not fuel economy.

    This car is the right move by GM and will create a segment of it own. This competes with the TSX, IS, CT, 3 Series, A3 and other small premium cars. Most people cant tell the difference or care about FWD vs RWD. They will see this car, the size of a 3 series with more comfort inside and $10K cheaper. Will def. sell in great numbers provided Buick has the right marketing strategy.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      How come the Equinox weighing almost 500 pounds more, with the same engine and obviously less aerodynamic get 32 MPG’s on the highway?

      The Equinox does not get 32mpg on the highway unless you drive it exactly the way, and in exactly the same conditions, as the EPA does.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Curb weight is a better indicator of a vehicle’s real-world fuel economy than the EPA ratings. The Equinox numbers are especially unrealistic.

      The Equinox does not get 32mpg on the highway unless you drive it exactly the way, and in exactly the same conditions, as the EPA does.

      They must have had a big tailwind in the lab on that particular day!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      This competes with the TSX, IS, CT, 3 Series, A3 and other small premium cars

      It is comments such as these that make me question the rationality of the most committed among the GM faithful.

      I’m sorry, but the Verano absolutely does not compete directly with the likes of the 3-series. Not even close. It would be generous to estimate the Verano’s prospects for pulling conquest buyers from the 3-series as being somewhere close to zero.

      I expect this to do about as well as the Aura. It could even be worse; consumers who shopped for Saturns were already inclined to be interested in smaller cars. “Buick” and “compact” are not exactly synonymous in the US.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I see this as a better choice than a loaded Cruze, Jetta, Focus or TSX. The Cruze has the inferior 1.4T and real world economy very close to the more powerful 2.4. The Jetta is a let down for interior materials and the drivetrain which gets about the same MPG btw. And the Focus is so darn cramped inside and less luxury oriented than the Buick. The turbo option coming soon is going to be a new 250 plus HP variant of the 2.0 liter T and should give this car some real hustle. Word also has it that the 2013 Malibu’s all new 2.5 liter L4 will find it’s way in this car as std for 2013 or 14 replacing the 2.4 with better mileage, quieter operation and more power.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Makes sense if the new (for 2012) 2.5 engine is available in this car, since it will standardise engines (and parts) and hopefully improve fuel economy. Just like BMW did with the previous 3 series in 2006 you release the car and let the new engines follow a year (or two) later. It is not always possible to synchronise all the parts.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    The configurator for this car in now online buick.com and it doesn’t take much to get this car closer to $30,000 which is now the bottom of Regal I guess that is how they get you, cause I’m thinking a few thousand more and I get a bigger car. Of course it only hurts this car in the long run if too many folks do as I do and buys a Regal. That is of course we stay with Buick.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Interesting how putting a Buick badge on what is essentially an Opel Astra sedan is probably going to be much more successful than Saturn’s attempt to sell the same car,(hatchback Astra). Indicates that the Buick brand still carries a premium cache in the marketplace, and that Americans love sedans much more than hatchbacks.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Lets be fair, it is a bit more than just putting a Buick badge on an Opel. Neither the Saturn nor the Opel has the extensive noise reducing stuff, neither have (or would have had) the 180hp engine. So this car does fit in with the Buick image of being a step up from the mainstream and quiet.
      I agree with you about the sedan vs hatchback point and that helps this car.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I think we all would appreciate a 2-door hatchback version of this with the 2.5 and a manual tranny, but I think that GM has hit the “sweet-spot” demographic for an initial release; empty-nesters that want a smooth, sophisticated compact ride.
      The “desired” variants will appear if this one sells enough.

      BTW, if this has the 43 inches of front legroom that the Cruze has (vs. 41.5 inches for the Sonata/Optima), and is quiet (something that the H/K pair is NOT), Buick already has a couple of selling points.

  • avatar
    alluster

    If you think the Verano is too expensive for a compact sized car..

    Model Verano- TSX- G Sedan- IS- S40- 338i- HS 250h
    Length (in.) 183.90 185.60 187.90 180.30 176.20 178.20 184.80
    Width (in.) 71.50 72.40 69.80 70.90 69.70 71.50 70.30
    Height (in.) 58.40 56.70 57.20 55.70 57.20 55.90 59.30

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    I saw a Verano yesterday and it looks great! It is quite different than the Cruze. This car will be very successful and the turbo 2.0L will add something for the enthusiast.

  • avatar
    lostreasure

    I am a very happy owner of a 2012 Buick Verano.
    I have had it about a week now and this car is
    awesome! It’s got all the comfort and style of
    any luxury sedan along with all the bells and whistles.
    It’s quiet inside, seats are very comfortable with
    plenty of leg room in front and back. Has a spacious
    trunk too. The four cylinder engine has plenty
    of get up and go. If you haven’t checked this car
    out in person, you won’t be disappointed.


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