Make us your home page
Instagram
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

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.

2012 Buick Verano

Price: $22,585 base start, $27,345 as tested

Powertrain:

2.4-liter Ecotec

4-cylinder,

6-speed

automatic, FWD

Horsepower: 180 at 6,700 rpm

Torque: 171 pound-feet at 4,900 rpm

Curb weight: 3,300 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 105.7

Length, 183.9

Width, 71.4

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

21 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway

Safety features: Ultrasonic rear park assist, airbags and curtains, stability control system with traction control, ABS with brake assist, automatic crash response

Options worth considering: Bose sound system, power sunroof, leather seats

Website: www.buick.com/

verano-luxury-sedan.html

The Daily Drivers: Buick Verano is quiet, in a good way 02/17/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul

    Markets

    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall

    Business

    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages

    Business

    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel

    Business

    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.