New Buick Verano makes pitch as entry-level luxury car with comfortable ride, upper end fuel mileage
By LARRY CORNWELL
Special to The Post and Courier
The 2012 Buick Verano is the latest small GM car to be transformed into a “luxury” model. Do you remember the Buick Skylark or the Cadillac Cimarron?
Don’t read me wrong, I am not saying that the Buick Verano has anything in common with the Cadillac Cimarron. The Buick Verano is basically a jazzed up version of the Chevrolet Cruze.
Buick incorporated some of the current styling cues that run throughout its model line-up. Chrome hood vents, vertical grill and accented body panels. These lines quickly identify the Verano as a Buick, but the Verano still looks similar to the Chevrolet Cruze.
The Buick Verano did have a more compliant ride than what I remember from my test of the Chevrolet Cruze. Road noise and wind noise also seemed more refined and less intrusive than in the Cruze. Touch points like the steering wheel, radio and climate control unit had a more upscale feel.
I pushed the Verano pretty hard with aggressive throttle applications and above normal highway speeds. During my week-long test of the Verano, it achieved a 28 mpg city/highway average. More conservative driving could probably net a 30 mpg city/highway average.
Small “entry-level luxury” models from premium brands rarely make a positive impressive on me. Simply put, the price of admission for what is basically an “economy luxury” model is too high for what you get. The most valuable feature is the luxury of being able to say that you own a BMW, a Mercedes Benz or an Audi.
The 2012 Buick Verano had a tall order in impressing me. In full disclosure, small models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz are also burdened with this task. The way I see it, models like the Verano typically don’t offer anything special that you can’t get in a larger non-premium midsized model.
Overall the Buick Verano put in a very competitive performance. It just does not do anything that really makes me want to spend $25,000 for a car this size.
Some of the direct competitors to the Buick Verano are the Ford Focus, Honda Accord, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry four-cylinder models. When comparing styles, performance, features and pricing, simply put, I would select any of its direct competitors over it. If this was a test of an Audi 3 series or BMW 1 series they would not get my approval either.
Again, I am not saying the Buick Verano is a bad model, because it isn’t. It just isn’t good enough when compared to its competition. The Buick Verano does not offer a strong enough argument for me.
Look next for my test of one of the biggest and the most powerful trucks I have ever tested: the 2012 GMC Sierra.
Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.
2012 BUICK VERANO
VEHICLE TYPE: Small Sedan
PRICE RANGE: $24,000-$26,000
ENGINES: 2.4-liter four cylinder producing 180 horsepower and 171 pounds-feet of torque
DRIVETRAIN: 6 speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY: 21mpg city/32mpg highway (28 mpg combined average observed)
COMPETITOR MODELS: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord 4, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry
PRODUCTION LOCATION: Lake Orion, Michigan