When a carmaker reskins an existing car as a more upscale model, the result traditionally offers little to recommend it over the less expensive corporate twin. This is decidedly not the case with the Buick Verano. Although it's based on the Chevy Cruze, this entry-level Buick is bolstered with more than a few key upgrades.
In addition to more sophisticated styling and a nicer interior, the Buick Verano also boasts a larger engine, a quieter ride and the availability of luxury features not offered on the Chevy. It all comes together harmoniously, as the Verano is a good example of Buick's efforts to produce more modern and engaging vehicles that maintain the style, comfortable ride and quiet cabin expected of the brand.
Current Buick Verano
The Verano is a compact luxury sedan that comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 180 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. A 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is also available, and it's definitely the more appealing engine as it provides much better acceleration with a minuscule fuel economy drop. Six-speed automatic and manual transmissions are available with it.
There are four trim levels: base, Convenience, Leather and Premium. Highlights of the base Verano include 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth (phone and audio streaming), a six-speaker sound system, OnStar telematics and Buick's Intellilink electronics interface and smartphone integration. The Convenience Group adds features including rear parking sensors, heated front seats, a power driver seat and a variety of driver warning systems (blind-spot, forward-collision, lane-departure and rear cross-traffic). The Leather Group adds keyless ignition and entry, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery and a Bose audio upgrade. Finally, the Premium Group is exclusive to the Turbo model and combines the Leather and Convenience features with a rear spoiler. A sunroof is optional on all Verano models, and a navigation system is optional on all except the base.
In reviews we've been impressed by the Buick Verano's precise steering and surprisingly athletic handling. Performance is more than adequate for daily driving, but the 2.4-liter is underwhelming for an entry-level premium sedan. The Turbo model is the better choice. One of the Verano's greatest strengths, however, is its compliant and quiet ride quality. Whether on a thousand-mile road trip or just running errands around town, the Buick Verano is pleasant for drivers and passengers alike.
The Buick Verano's handsome cabin provides room for four adults (though legroom in back is a bit tight for tall folks) and the overall fit and finish is on par with other entry-level luxury sedans. This Buick also offers leading-edge technology via its Intellilink system that allows streaming Internet radio like Pandora and Stitcher. Operation of Intellilink and other systems is intuitive thanks to a sharp, standard touchscreen and (admittedly abundant) accompanying buttons.
Used Buick Verano Models
The Verano debuted in 2012. In 2014, safety features such as forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems were added to the options lineup and heated front seats became standard on all Veranos except the base model.