?”Verano: Buick?s first compact luxury sedan?
Much more than simply an entry-level vehicle
New York City, NY – Buick?s all-new Verano is the brand?s third new model to bow within the last two years, and it?s also the first compact entry into the luxury market segment for the GM marque. It is the latest model to represent Buick?s product renaissance, which began with the Enclave crossover, and was followed by the new LaCrosse luxury sedan and the Regal Sport sedan.
Verano, might well be thought of as a mini-LaCrosse or Regal, serving up all the same luxurious amenities and technological features as its upper class siblings, but in a more diminutive and less expensive package. Its componentry is unique and specific, despite the fact that it shares its basic platform architecture with the Chevrolet Cruze.
The Verano displays the same recognizable sculptural design and styling cues as the rest of the Buick stable including: the familiar unique black chrome waterfall grille; bold, translucent blue projector beam headlamps; signature portholes; detailed chrome accents inside and out; two available designs of stylish custom18-inch alloy wheels that substantially fill up the prominent wheelwells (17-inch rolling stock is standard fare). The gracefully arched roofline flows from the sharply raked windshield to the sloping ?C? pillars, showcasing a sporty? overall profile. In essence, the design language delivers all the refinement and detailed craftsmanship as the rest of the stable, simply in a new, smaller size.
?Verano will come in three levels of trim: the base or entry Verano, which starts at $22,585; a mid-range or Convenience model; and the top of the line Verano with the leather, which carries a price of $25,965. ? add an $885. Destination charge for each. Options include: Premium Paint, Bose audio sound system, Nav system, a sunroof and an optional 18-inch wheel package. A fully loaded top model Verano with all options tops out at $29,50.
The interior is inviting and luxurious, with premium seat comfort and support specifically tailored for the compact sedan. The overall execution is upscale in soft-touch materials and premium leather, complemented by state-of-the-art infotainment, connectivity, such as available Buick IntelliLink, which uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver?s smart phone to a seven-inch LED high-resolution, full-color touch screen display radio that enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA? Internet Radio and Stitcher SmartRadio? or any Bluetooth media device. and expressive ambient lighting. . Metallic and wood trims warm the cockpit and cabin environment. The instrument panel blends with an integrated center stack, housing the infotainment display, climate controls and radio controls. Neutral and medium titanium colors are offered on interiors with leatherette/fabric seating surfaces, while ebony, cashmere and a unique Choccachino color are offered on available leather-trimmed interiors. The headliner cover is made from a knit material, as one of five layers of an acoustically designed headliner that helps in quieting the passenger compartment, with the interior pillars and other moldings color- and grain-matched to the headliner.
All Verano models will be propelled by the same potent and fuel efficient 2.4 liter Ecotec, DOHC, 16-valve, VVT, Direct injection, in-line four-cylinder engine?with E85 capability. The transversely mounted front engine delivers 180?horsepower at 6,700 rpm along with171 pound feet of torque at 4,900 rpm, and?mates to a Hydramatic 6T45 six-speed automatic transmission that smoothly?gears motive energy to the front wheels. Direct injection technology helps to?produce more power with less fuel consumption and lower emissions ? including?up to 25 percent reduced hydrocarbon emissions when compared with a multi-point fuel injection engine.
My driving partner and I piloted a Verano with everything except the optional 18-inch wheel package, sporting an exterior finish in Silver metallic, with a Black?leather interior and faux polished wood trim accents. The sticker was an?estimated $28,500.
SUMMARY:? My Verano press launch experience originated in New York Citywith a drive route that took us through beautiful upstate New York and into Del?Mar, Connecticut, with our pre-production test vehicle delivering swift acceleration, a most compliant ride quality and an exceptional level of interior quiet. Handling characteristics qualified as sporty with good road holding capability and an athletic and nimble response.
The cabin?s quiet atmosphere is aided by acoustic laminated glass and innovative applications of noise reducing insulation, without totally isolating the driver and occupants from surface input.
Despite the car?s admirable performance qualities, we wouldn?t be surprised to see a turbocharged version surface in the not too distant future. Whether or not turbocharging is plugged into the equation in the future, the Verano should prove to be a most welcome addition to the new Buick lineup. It is indeed a winner in the compact luxury segment, and in an affordable package.