If you ever longed to own a Buick but felt it was beyond budget, your wait is over. Slotted below the mid-size Regal, the all-new and luxurious Verano starts at $23,470 and peaks at $26,850. Now, that's in the affordable range for those Buick brand dreamers.
Available in base, convenience and leather trims, the compact sedan is equipped with just one power train: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine putting out 180 horsepower @ 6700 rpm and 171 pounds-feet of torque @ 4900 rpm. The sold transmission in the front-wheel drive is a slick 6-speed automatic gearbox. A lighter Z-link rear suspension coupled with a MacPherson strut front isolates occupants from road imperfections and sound. Fuel savings are certain with an electric power steering, which doesn't require hoses or pumps, as well as direct-injection technology. So is safety with 10 airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, stability and traction control, collapsible pedals and tire pressure monitoring system.
During the ride-and-drive event, Buick engineers repeatedly pointed out materials used to block and absorb noise, vibrations and roughness in the Verano. Also, the body made up of 60 percent high-strength steel, is stiffer. Sure, the 3,422-pound won't be taking to the racetrack but motoring enthusiasts can scoot 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds. However, heavy footers will have to wait till later this year when a 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder turbo engine (more than 200 hp or so), mated to a 6-speed manual, is introduced.
The easy-on-the-pocket Verano offers brisk acceleration, smooth shifts and a silent but practical cabin. Hats off to Buick for delivering an entertaining, competent and livable ride.
Wheelbase: 105.7 inches
Length: 183.9 inches
Fuel capacity: 15.6 gallons
City: 21 mpg
Highway: 31 mpg