Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

The Daily Drivers: Buick Verano is quiet, in a good way

Buick has made a lot of progress in the past few years at forging a new brand identity with its stylish LaCrosse and, recently, the muscular Regal GS. Now comes the Verano, which shares underpinnings with the Chevy Cruze. The Verano, however, is more of an uptown cousin — Buick's attempt at a luxury compact.

Appearance: The look will be familiar to those who've seen Buick's Regal, only more compact. There is the distinctive waterfall grille and what passes for those old-school trademark portholes, only these rest on top of the hood instead of on the body, and tend to get lost visually. Overall, the car has a taut look that is set off by 18-inch premium alloy wheels and projector-beam headlights. We both agree: The exterior side mirrors are a bit small and the triangular shape sacrifices visibility. Our tester's premium paint — white diamond tricoat — also gave the car a luxurious look.

Performance: There is only one engine available in the Verano — a 2.4-liter, 180-horsepower 4-cylinder. It won't remind you of a performance sedan, but it's enough to provide fair acceleration in the city and in highway driving. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly, and the steering is nimble and gives adequate feedback. The ride is comfortable and composed for a small sedan. In all, Buick managed to hit the sweet spot in performance, giving drivers an all-around enjoyable experience with just the acceleration leaving something to be desired. (We may see a turbo version later this year.)

Interior: The Verano may be the most quiet compact sedan we've driven, and Buick was smart to make that a priority. After all, the noise level (or lack of any) is one of the first things you notice in a premium car. Buick's Quiet Tuning technology includes acoustic laminated glass, triple-sealed doors and a chassis made to absorb vibrations and sound. Our tester came with the Leather Equipment group, which made for an attractive two-tone cabin that said "upscale." The stitched Choccachino Leather seats are comfortable — Peter drove it across the state and his back felt just fine when he got to Melbourne. Most of the cabin surfaces are soft-touch, although there is some hard plastic, especially in the door and center armrest. One thing we both noticed: The driver has six-way power adjustable seats, but the seatback recline is manual and the short lever is difficult to reach. Why? The back seat is a tight fit for adults and may be okay around town, but we can't see sitting there on a long trip. The 7-inch Buick IntelliLink color screen is easy to use (even its voice recognition) with simple controls. The background image changes according to category when listening to satellite radio. There's also streaming Internet radio.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Sound level: Noise only intrudes under hard acceleration.

Cabin: The two-tone Choccachino and dark brown cabin is attractive.

Refined: Solid and composed ride made for an enjoyable trip.

Lyra Solochek

Ambient lighting: Ice-blue around the gauges and cabin.

Quiet ride: You can actually hear the nine-speaker Bose sound system.

IntelliLink: Infotainment command center with easy to use dial to navigate.

The bottom line: You can argue whether the Verano can compete with some of the compact (and pricier) import sedans, but Buick has managed to produce a car that does most things well and nothing poorly.

     
         
Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18