• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Buick Week: 2013 Buick Verano Full Review


    December 3, 2012

    Drew Dowdell

    Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com

    It is Buick Week here at Cheers and Gears this week and each day we will be featuring an article about one of the new Buicks. We start off with Buick's re-entry to the compact segment, the 2013 Buick Verano.

    Buick has dabbled in the compact sedan market off and on since the 1960’s. After an initially successful run with the Special/Skylark in 1961, Buick’s compacts quickly grew in size and out of that segment of being true compact cars. In the mid 1960’s, Buick began importing Opels from Germany to sell as a captive, compact Buick-Opel sub-brand. The exchange rate between the Dollar and the Mark conspired with some questionable engineering to keep Opel’s sales low in the US. With the Opel’s failure to catch on, by the end of the 1970s Buick returned to American built, badge-engineered compacts that were shared with nearly every division inside of GM. Buick has technically not sold a car in the compact sedan class since the J-body Skyhawk went out of production in 1989.

    The 2013 Verano rides on GM’s Delta II compact car platform. There is an instinctual reaction in North America to call the Verano a Buick re-badged Chevrolet Cruze and while the Cruze is a fine compact in its own right, this would be inaccurate. For their new entry to the compact market, Buick went back to its history with Opel and as such, the Buick Verano is a much closer relation to the Opel Astra sedan developed and sold in Europe than it is to the Korean developed Chevy Cruze.

    Is there really such a thing as a compact luxury car?

    sml_gallery_51_515_796417.png
    Contrary to its small stature, the Verano looks the part of a premium compact car. Out front is Buick’s trademark waterfall grille along with portholes on each side of the hood. Along the cleanly styled side, the Verano eschews the sweep spear design cue of its biggest brothers the LaCrosse and Enclave, opting instead for the hockey stick design cue used on the middle sibling, the Buick Regal and their Opel cousins back in the old country. Around back are a pair of angry chrome eyebrows over the tail lights that were hard to digest at first, but I learned to love them over time as they give a very distinctive look that few, if any, cars today have. Filling out the wheel wells are a fairly standard looking set of 18” alloy wheels. My only complaint on the exterior is the overly large license plate cut-out in the front fascia. It is much too large for those of us in front plate states, it is pointless for those of us in rear-plate-only states, and it detracts from the look of the otherwise handsome front end.

    Inside, however, is where Buick makes its best case yet for a premium car in the compact class. Decked out in a handsome two tone design, the Verano looks the part of a high end luxury car. Plush yet supportive leather seats are an excellent place to spend some hours driving. Finding a comfortable seating position was easy, though I am disappointed that a “premium” car does not have a power seat recline. Front passengers are even more disappointed that they have no power seat at all. In front of the driver is a fairly standard GM steering wheel with all of the familiar controls located at your thumb tips. The gauges glow in indigo blue that has become a bit of a Buick trademark, though the font size of the numbers is a bit small. The engine start/stop button is not in the standard place on the dash, but rather at the top left of the center instrument panel. Even after a week of driving the Verano, I had to think about which button to push to start it up.

    The HVAC controls are simple enough to operate, but the infotainment system can get a little confusing as sometimes your instinct is to use the hardware buttons and sometimes to use the touch screen. This Verano came with the upgraded Bose 9-speaker sound system and to be honest, considering the $595 up-charge I wasn’t very impressed as it doesn't seem to offer much depth or clarity over the standard GM systems I'm used to.

    sml_gallery_51_515_239135.png
    If it isn’t quiet inside, it isn’t a Buick. The quiet-tuning in the Verano really does its job well, keeping road, wind, and engine noise out. We took the Verano from Pittsburgh, PA to Manassas, Virginia for the holiday. In our extensive testing, rear passengers, especially those under the age of 10, during long trips ended up falling asleep about 30 minutes into the ride and slept for most of our 300 mile journeys. I very much enjoyed the quiet serenity in the car during my morning commutes into the city.

    On our return trip, I was fairly well exhausted and asked my partner, who hates driving and simply doesn’t understand what us car guys are going on about, to drive at least the first half of the trip and then we could switch over. At the half-way point, he wouldn’t give the Verano back! By the time we made it to Pittsburgh, he decided he wanted one.

    The trunk is deep, with a wide opening for easy access, though you must be mindful of the gooseneck trunk lid supports so they don’t crush your luggage. I did feel that having the backs of the speakers exposed and so visible in the trunk was a glaring omission in the level of finish on this car.

    But does it have Buick power?

    Well yes and no. Buick opted for the tried and true 2.4 liter direct injected 4-cylinder producing 180 horsepower at 6700 rpm and 171 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm. The gearing in the 6-speed automatic is set up to give you spritely starts and an adequate amount of passing power on the highway. Darting around town can be quite sporty feeling, but try passing on an uphill climb with a full load of passengers and luggage and the Verano gets a bit breathless. You’ll pay for that sporty low-end gearing at the pump with a mediocre 21mpg city EPA rating and an unimpressive 32mpg highway. There are larger vehicles with more power that can beat those figures. On the return of our 367 mile trip, we averaged 27.9mpg with 4 passengers and a full trunk. Calling on its Germanic roots, the Verano handles very well for a front wheel drive compact sedan. While it is tuned for a comfortable ride, it leaves plenty of firmness intact for cornering and overall responsiveness.

    Has Buick hit the mark in the premium compact market?

    As far as I’m concerned, the answer is a resounding yes. Buick has been absent from this segment since 1989 but has produced a car that has a premium feel to it and with a price tag starting at just $23,080. For your $23,000 and change, you leave the dealership with a car that acts and feels like a much more expensive model.

    But no need to take my word for it, Buick went from selling zero compacts per month to selling 3,500 Veranos per month in less than a year. Total sales for 2012 as of November 30th are 36,222. The Acura ILX (1,529/month - 7,658 Jan-Nov) and Audi A3 (400/month - 6,808 Jan-Nov), the Verano's closest competition, aren’t even close.

    Be sure to stop back tomorrow for a First Drive of the 2013 Buick Enclave.

    If you like this review, please share it with your friends using the share buttons below.

    Cheers:

    Vault quiet

    Comfortable front seats

    Good rear leg room for a compact

    Jeers:

    Fuel Economy

    Front license plate space

    No power front passenger set, not even an option

    No power driver seat recline

    Disclaimer: Buick provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gasoline.

    Year - 2013

    Make – Buick

    Model – Verano

    Trim – Leather Group with Nav

    Engine – 2.4L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four

    Driveline – Front Wheel Drive, 6-speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM – 180 HP (@ 6,700 RPM)

    Torque @ RPM – 171 lb-ft (@ 4,900 RPM)

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway - 21/32

    Curb Weight – 3,300 lbs

    Base Price - $23,080

    As Tested Price - $27,550* (not including $885 destination charge)

    Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @CheersnGears

    0


      Report Article
    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    I love the new dark blue.

    I was please to see Motor Trend rate the Buick over the Acura. Not something I would have imagined 10 years ago even in a April Fools issue.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Love this car. Haven't read a bad review on it. Until I can afford a LaCrosse, this will have to do. And as a daily commuter, I think I'll be happy.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think calling the fuel mileage on this car mediocre is being quite generous, for a car in this class it's kind of pitiful, in my opinion.

    You have a Charger with a nearly 300 horsepower V6 getting an EPA rating of 31 on the highway and this car is rated at 32, and that's in it's most economical format. I think this is inexcusable. Just my 2 cents

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think calling the fuel mileage on this car mediocre is being quite generous, for a car in this class it's kind of pitiful, in my opinion.

    You have a Charger with a nearly 300 horsepower V6 getting an EPA rating of 31 on the highway and this car is rated at 32, and that's in it's most economical format. I think this is inexcusable. Just my 2 cents

    No one ever said Luxury Auto's were about Fuel mileage. For most people who can afford a luxury compact car, this is great mileage.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Verano greatly impressed me on my test drive.

    Can't wait to try the turbo.

    Buick needs the 3 door, and 5 door in the stable also.

    7159716483_3c2b14ebc5_o.jpg

    278285-medium.jpg

    I still prefer the ass end of the asstra.......

    to be honest, to me, malibu vs. verano is an interesting comparo....because the pricing is often similar.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    Loading...



  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. §carlet §wordfish
      §carlet §wordfish
      (27 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Big November Gains at Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac Keep GM the Fastest Growing Automaker
      November U.S. retail market share highest since 2009 Year to Date U.S. Retail Share up 0.5 Percentage Points November Commercial sales were highest since 2008 DETROIT — General Motors (NYSE: GM) sold 197,609 vehicles in November to individual or “retail” customers in the U.S., up 8 percent from last year. Based on initial estimates, GM once again outperformed all full-line manufacturers, led by strong retail sales gains at Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. GM’s November retail sales performance drove GM’s U.S. retail share to its highest November level since 2009.
      Based on initial estimates, GM’s retail market share jumped 0.3 percentage points in November to 16.8 percent.  GM has gained retail market share in 17 of the past 20 months.
      GM’s four U.S. brands posted strong retail sales results in November compared to last year.
      Chevrolet — up 5 percent for its best November since 2004 Buick — up 22 percent for its best November since 2003 GMC — up 9 percent for its best November since 2001 Cadillac — up 17 percent for its best November since 2013 GM’s total U.S. sales in November were 252,644 vehicles, up more than 10 percent from last year.   All four brands outperformed the industry in November with Buick, Cadillac and GMC posting double-digit gains.
      “GM’s November performance reflects the continued strength of our U.S. business.  We gained profitable retail share, commercial and small business deliveries were strong and we commanded the industry’s best average transaction prices,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. Sales Operations. “We are ahead of plan selling down our 2016 model year inventory and we expect to close out December with more retail share growth. GM is heading into 2017 in a position of strength with the planned launch of key new products, like the all-new Chevrolet Equinox, into the heart of the market.” 
      GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $35,767 in November, more than $4,000 above the industry average and ahead of last November. 

      Through the first 11 months of the year, GM’s U.S. retail sales were up nearly 2 percent compared to last year. GM gained 0.5 percentage points of U.S. retail market share during that timeframe, the largest retail share gain of any full-line automaker. Year to date, Chevrolet U.S. retail sales are up nearly 3 percent and the brand’s retail share has grown 0.5 percentage points to 11.1 percent. Chevrolet continues to be the U.S. industry’s fastest-growing brand.
      Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown more than 5 percent and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.
      GM continues to benefit from a strong U.S. economy and strong retail demand for its products.
      “All economic indicators show significantly improved optimism about the U.S. economy including consumer and business sentiment, which continue to drive a very healthy U.S. auto industry,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “We believe the U.S. auto industry is well-positioned for sales to continue at or near record levels into 2017.”
      November 2016 Retail Sales and Business Highlights vs. November 2015 (except as noted)

      Chevrolet
      Malibu and Volt were up 24 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Silverado and Colorado were up 5 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Suburban, Tahoe, Equinox and Trax were up 6 percent, 12 percent, 7 percent and 47 percent, respectively. Malibu had its best November since 1997. Silverado had its best November since 2003. Colorado had its best November since 2004. Trax, Volt and Equinox had their best November ever. Tahoe and Suburban had their best November since 2007. 17th straight month of year over year gains for Chevrolet full-size utilities. GMC
      Sierra and Canyon were up 14 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Acadia, Yukon and Yukon XL were up 4 percent, 22 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Brand ATP was at $43,887, the highest November on record. Highest November ever for Denali penetration, at 27.8 percent. Best November ever for Canyon and ninth month of year over year increases. Yukon and Yukon XL had their best November since 2007. Buick
      Regal and Encore were up 41 percent and 35 percent, respectively. 68 percent of sales were crossovers. Best year to date retail performance since 2005. Cadillac
      Escalade was up 24 percent and had its best month of the year. Escalade had its best November since 2007. XT5 had its best month since launch with sales up 12 percent over last month and up 27 percent over the SRX last November, the vehicle it replaced. Year to date ATP was $53,690, the highest ever in Cadillac history Average Transaction Prices (ATP)/Incentives (based on JD Power PIN estimates)
      GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $35,767 in November, more than $4,000 above the industry average. In November, GM’s incentive spending as a percent of ATP was 13.7 percent, above the industry average of 12.4 percent. However, year to date, GM’s incentive spending was 11.7 percent, slightly above the industry average of 11.4 percent and well below the incentive spending of its domestic competitors and many of its global competitors. Fleet and Commercial
      Automotive Fleet magazine named Malibu “Fleet Car of the Year”. GM Fleet sales were up 19 percent versus last November. Fleet sales were 22 percent of GM’s sales for the month. Commercial deliveries were up 11 percent for the month and it was the best November Commercial sales since 2008. Malibu Commercial deliveries were up 170 percent versus last November. Small Business deliveries were up 15 percent for the month versus last November, driven by large vans, which were up 93 percent and large pickups, which were up 16 percent versus last November. Federal government sales were up 9 percent versus last November. Rental sales were up 27 percent versus last November but are down 25 percent CYTD, according to plan. GM’s outlook on its daily rental sales mix remains in the 11 percent range of total U.S. sales for 2016 and daily rental sales for the year are expected to be down about 75,000 vehicles. Industry Sales
      GM estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles in November was approximately 17.9 million units. On a calendar year-to-date basis, GM estimates the light-vehicle SAAR was 17.5 million units.
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet and Buick Post Big Retail Sales and Share Gains Keeping GM the Fastest-Growing Full-line Automaker
      Chevrolet U.S. retail sales up 6 percent for best October since 2004 Buick U.S. retail sales up 7 percent for best October since 2003 GMC sets brand’s all-time record for October ATP at $43,988 DETROIT – General Motors (NYSE: GM) sold 208,290 vehicles in October to individual or “retail” customers in the U.S., up 3 percent from last year, despite two fewer selling days. Based on initial estimates, GM outperformed the entire U.S. retail industry by a wide margin.
      Led by Chevrolet and Buick, GM’s U.S. retail market share rose to its highest October level since 2009. Based on initial estimates, GM’s retail market share jumped 1.6 percentage points in October to 18.1 percent, the largest retail market share gain of any manufacturer. GM has gained retail market share in 16 of the past 19 months.
      Chevrolet’s October U.S. retail sales were up 6 percent compared to last year, the brand’s best October since 2004. Buick’s October U.S. retail sales were up 7 percent, the brand’s best October since 2003.
      Chevrolet gained 1.4 percentage points of U.S. retail market share in October to 12.3 percent.  Chevrolet has gained U.S. retail market share in 9 out of 10 months this year, and remains the industry’s fastest-growing full-line brand.  Buick gained 0.2 percentage points of retail market share in October.
      In addition, GMC set an all-time October record for the brand’s ATP or Average Transaction Price of $43,988, up more than $1,800 over last October’s performance. 
      GM’s total U.S. sales in October were 258,626 vehicles, down less than 2 percent from last year. In addition, GM’s daily rental sales were down approximately 8,000 vehicles or about 19 percent in October compared to last year, as planned.
      “GM’s October performance reflects the strength of our retail business and our operating discipline. We gained profitable retail share in October while spending less than the industry average on incentives and commanding the industry’s best average transaction prices for any full-line automaker,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations. “We will continue our disciplined approach and focus on retail in a strong industry.” 
      In October, GM’s incentive spending as a percent of ATP was 11.7 percent, below the industry average of 11.8 percent.
      GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $36,155 in October, more than $4,650 above the industry average and more than $1,000 above last October’s performance. 

      Through the first ten months of the year, GM retail sales are up 1 percent, compared to last year. GM has gained 0.6 percentage points of retail share during that timeframe, the largest retail share gain of any full-line automaker. Year to date, Chevrolet retail sales are up more than 2 percent and the brand’s retail share has grown 0.5 percentage points to 11.2 percent. Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown nearly 4 percent and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.
      GM continues to benefit from a strong U.S. economy.
      “Key fundamentals like job security, rising personal incomes, low fuel prices and low interest rates continue to provide the environment for a very healthy U.S. auto industry,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “The U.S. auto industry is well positioned for sales to continue at or near record levels for the foreseeable future.”
      October Retail Sales and Business Highlights vs. 2015 (except as noted)

      Chevrolet
      Chevrolet had its best October since 2004 and best year to date sales since 2006 Chevrolet cars sales continue to grow faster than the passenger car industry Malibu, Camaro, Corvette, Spark and Volt were up 39 percent, 14 percent, 8 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively Malibu had its best October since 1980 Camaro had its best October since 2009 Colorado, Suburban, Tahoe and Trax were up 42 percent, 35 percent, 49 percent and 37 percent, respectively Tahoe and Suburban had their best October since 2007 Colorado had its best October since 2004 GMC
      ATPs growing three times faster than industry pace Acadia, Canyon, Yukon XL and Yukon were up 17 percent, 15 percent, 3 percent and 26 percent, respectively More than 25 percent Denali penetration for the brand Sierra had its highest ATP ever at $46,876 Canyon had its best October ever Acadia had its best October ever Yukon had its best October since 2007 and 14th month of year-over-year growth Yukon XL had its best October since 2007 Buick
      Best October since 2003 and best year to date since 2005 LaCrosse was up 13 percent with new model off to a strong start Envision had best month since launch Cadillac
      Escalade retail sales up year to date more than 6 percent October ATP was a record $55,058, up more than $2,300 from last October Record year to date ATP of $53,542 Year-to-date retail luxury market share in line with 2015 performance Average Transaction Prices (ATP)/Incentives
      GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $36,155 in October, more than $4,650 above the industry average in October and more than $1,000 above last October GM’s October incentive spending as a percentage of ATP was 11.7 percent, below the industry average of 11.8 percent, but down 1.4 percentage points from last month and well below many other competitors Fleet and Commercial
      Commercial fleet up 13 percent vs. September, and up 3 percent, selling day adjusted, YOY Malibu up 95 percent compared to last October Mid-size trucks up 218 percent compared to last October Federal Government sales up 53 percent Rental down 19 percent for October, and 29 percent year to date, according to plan Industry Sales
      GM estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles in October was approximately 18.0 million units. On a calendar year-to-date basis, GM estimates the light-vehicle SAAR was 17.4 million units
    • By William Maley
      It seemed that it would never happen, a domestic brand cracking into the top three of Consumer Reports' annual Auto Reliability Survey. But in the 2016 survey, Buick became the first domestic brand in three decades to be in the top three of reliable brands - behind Lexus and Toyota.
      “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers. One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing in a statement.
      For the 2016 survey, Consumer Reports changed up their predicted reliability score to a 0-100 scale. Brands that score between 41 to 60 were deemed to be reliable. If a brand finishes below, it is deemed to be less reliable, while those that finished above were deemed to be more reliable. 
      Rounding out the top ten list include Audi, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti (up 16 spots), BMW, and Honda. Chevrolet was the second highest domestic brand by finishing 15th. Ford placed 18th in the survey, still being troubled by the dual-clutch transmissions used in the Fiesta and Focus. FCA had a rough showing again with Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram Trucks finishing in the bottom three. 
      Other notes from the 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey:
      Tesla is now part of the survey as they now have two models - Model S and X. They placed 25th. The Model S saw its reliability rating improve to average, while the Model X is toward the bottom due to numerous problems. Subaru fell out of the top 10 because of the WRX and STI getting below average reliability, and the Legacy/Outback falling to average. The recently redesigned Honda Civic is said to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to issues with the infotainment and power accessories.  Source: Consumer Reports, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
      Press Release is on Page 2
      Consumer Reports 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Buick Becomes First Domestic to Reach the Top Three
      New Honda Civic Plagued with Power Equipment and Infotainment Systems Problems YONKERS, NY – While Asian brands continue to dominate, Buick has become the first domestic brand in more than three decades to earn a place in the top three most reliable brands in Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability Survey. The findings were announced during a press conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today.
      There was trouble, too, for one of the imports: Honda’s popular Civic model proved to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems. The Civic was North American Car of the Year for 2016.
      Buick, General Motors’ near-luxury brand, has been hovering in the top 10 of CR’s brand reliability rankings for the past few years. But CR’s latest findings show Buick has joined Lexus and Toyota on the podium for the first time since the organization began tracking brand performance in the early 1980s. Chevrolet ranks as the second-best domestic brand and is in 15th place overall among the 29 brands covered.
      Consumer Reports—the world’s largest and most trusted consumer nonprofit—first published its annual brand reliability rankings in 2001. That initial analysis showed that domestic nameplate vehicles had been lagging behind Japanese and European imports for the previous 20 years. Factoring in that history makes Buick’s third-place finish the highest for any American brand in more than 35 years.
      “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet.”
      All of the Asian nameplates scored among the top half of the 29 brands tested, accounting for seven of the top 10 spots. Lexus and Toyota continued their domination, finishing in first and second place for the fourth straight year. All nine Lexus models CR rated had better-than-average reliability, as would have Toyota, had it not been for the below average score of the redesigned 2016 Tacoma pickup truck.
      Among the other Asian brands, Infiniti made the biggest gain, while Acura was up six spots and Nissan moved up two. All Mazda models remained above average except for the new CX-3 small SUV, which came in at average. Kia and Hyundai continue to surge up the rankings, coming in at five and seven this year. No Kia or Hyundai models scored below average.
      Honda has continued with its erratic trajectory, making landfall at number 10 among all brands. Usually a top finisher known for reliability, the brand has been hurt by new introductions. In addition to the new Civic, the redesigned Pilot SUV was just average.
      Historically a strong performer, Subaru is an example of how smaller manufacturers can be helped—or hindered—by the performance of one or two models. Subaru fell out of the top 10, hurt by the 2016 Legacy and Outback falling to average, and the sporty WRX/STi dropping to below average.
      Reliability improvements helped some luxury brands move up. Infiniti jumped 16 spots to number eight, but the brand still runs hot and cold. The older QX50 SUV and Q70 sedan had top scores, but the newer QX60 SUV and Q50 sedan were below average. BMW also moved into the top 10, with the 5 Series, X5, and i3 improving to average.
      Audi has had several years of upward progress, and it continues to rank in the top five. The new Q7 and the Q3 SUVs were very reliable. Other European brands continue their inconsistency. Mercedes was one of the big movers, jumping four spots to number 17. The 2016 GLC, which replaced the reliable GLK, launched with well-above-average reliability, and the GLA and GLE SUVs were average. But the large GLS SUV was among the 20 most trouble-prone new cars in the survey, and the C- and S-Class sedans remained unreliable.
      Volkswagen and Volvo, however, tumbled. Aside from the Tiguan SUV, all other VW models had below average reliability. The redesigned XC90 was the big culprit in Volvo’s plunge to the bottom third ranking, with its touch-screen infotainment and climate systems being particularly problematic.
      Transmissions with more ratios and advanced drivetrains continue to be a challenge for a number of brands. While the Acura TLX and Jeep Cherokee have seen improvements in the reliability of their nine-speed automatics, earlier models are still problematic. Ford’s dual-clutch automatic transmission continues to afflict the Fiesta and Focus, which is one reason they are among the lowest-scoring models. Likewise, early versions of the current Nissan Pathfinder and similar Infiniti QX60 SUVs continue to suffer from problems with their continuously variable transmissions.
      Other GM marques did not fare as well as Buick. Chevrolet saw gains, moving up five spots since last year. It was helped in particular by the stellar reliability of the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which topped all compact cars, and the Corvette, which moved up to average. Cadillac has two models with below-average reliability—the Escalade and small ATS sedan—while the CTS and XTS sedans were average or better. GMC has dropped, hurt by its versions of the same large SUVs and pickup trucks that haunt Chevrolet.
      Consumer Reports requires at least two models with sufficient data in order to be included in its brand reliability rankings. With the introduction of the new Model X SUV, Tesla is now included and is ranked toward the bottom, at 25th. The Model X launched with abundant problems, including frequent malfunctions of the falcon-wing doors, water leaks, and infotainment and climate-control system problems. The Model S gained ground this year, improving to average reliability.
      Fiat-Chrysler continues its turbulent voyage. The Fiat 500L, the most trouble-prone new car for the past two years, is now only the seventh-most troublesome. No Fiat or Ram vehicle managed even an average reliability rating. Only the Chrysler 300 sedan, Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, and Jeep Patriot SUV managed an average or better score.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It seemed that it would never happen, a domestic brand cracking into the top three of Consumer Reports' annual Auto Reliability Survey. But in the 2016 survey, Buick became the first domestic brand in three decades to be in the top three of reliable brands - behind Lexus and Toyota.
      “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers. One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing in a statement.
      For the 2016 survey, Consumer Reports changed up their predicted reliability score to a 0-100 scale. Brands that score between 41 to 60 were deemed to be reliable. If a brand finishes below, it is deemed to be less reliable, while those that finished above were deemed to be more reliable. 
      Rounding out the top ten list include Audi, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti (up 16 spots), BMW, and Honda. Chevrolet was the second highest domestic brand by finishing 15th. Ford placed 18th in the survey, still being troubled by the dual-clutch transmissions used in the Fiesta and Focus. FCA had a rough showing again with Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram Trucks finishing in the bottom three. 
      Other notes from the 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey:
      Tesla is now part of the survey as they now have two models - Model S and X. They placed 25th. The Model S saw its reliability rating improve to average, while the Model X is toward the bottom due to numerous problems. Subaru fell out of the top 10 because of the WRX and STI getting below average reliability, and the Legacy/Outback falling to average. The recently redesigned Honda Civic is said to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to issues with the infotainment and power accessories.  Source: Consumer Reports, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
      Press Release is on Page 2
      Consumer Reports 2016 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Buick Becomes First Domestic to Reach the Top Three
      New Honda Civic Plagued with Power Equipment and Infotainment Systems Problems YONKERS, NY – While Asian brands continue to dominate, Buick has become the first domestic brand in more than three decades to earn a place in the top three most reliable brands in Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability Survey. The findings were announced during a press conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today.
      There was trouble, too, for one of the imports: Honda’s popular Civic model proved to have “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems. The Civic was North American Car of the Year for 2016.
      Buick, General Motors’ near-luxury brand, has been hovering in the top 10 of CR’s brand reliability rankings for the past few years. But CR’s latest findings show Buick has joined Lexus and Toyota on the podium for the first time since the organization began tracking brand performance in the early 1980s. Chevrolet ranks as the second-best domestic brand and is in 15th place overall among the 29 brands covered.
      Consumer Reports—the world’s largest and most trusted consumer nonprofit—first published its annual brand reliability rankings in 2001. That initial analysis showed that domestic nameplate vehicles had been lagging behind Japanese and European imports for the previous 20 years. Factoring in that history makes Buick’s third-place finish the highest for any American brand in more than 35 years.
      “Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup--with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet.”
      All of the Asian nameplates scored among the top half of the 29 brands tested, accounting for seven of the top 10 spots. Lexus and Toyota continued their domination, finishing in first and second place for the fourth straight year. All nine Lexus models CR rated had better-than-average reliability, as would have Toyota, had it not been for the below average score of the redesigned 2016 Tacoma pickup truck.
      Among the other Asian brands, Infiniti made the biggest gain, while Acura was up six spots and Nissan moved up two. All Mazda models remained above average except for the new CX-3 small SUV, which came in at average. Kia and Hyundai continue to surge up the rankings, coming in at five and seven this year. No Kia or Hyundai models scored below average.
      Honda has continued with its erratic trajectory, making landfall at number 10 among all brands. Usually a top finisher known for reliability, the brand has been hurt by new introductions. In addition to the new Civic, the redesigned Pilot SUV was just average.
      Historically a strong performer, Subaru is an example of how smaller manufacturers can be helped—or hindered—by the performance of one or two models. Subaru fell out of the top 10, hurt by the 2016 Legacy and Outback falling to average, and the sporty WRX/STi dropping to below average.
      Reliability improvements helped some luxury brands move up. Infiniti jumped 16 spots to number eight, but the brand still runs hot and cold. The older QX50 SUV and Q70 sedan had top scores, but the newer QX60 SUV and Q50 sedan were below average. BMW also moved into the top 10, with the 5 Series, X5, and i3 improving to average.
      Audi has had several years of upward progress, and it continues to rank in the top five. The new Q7 and the Q3 SUVs were very reliable. Other European brands continue their inconsistency. Mercedes was one of the big movers, jumping four spots to number 17. The 2016 GLC, which replaced the reliable GLK, launched with well-above-average reliability, and the GLA and GLE SUVs were average. But the large GLS SUV was among the 20 most trouble-prone new cars in the survey, and the C- and S-Class sedans remained unreliable.
      Volkswagen and Volvo, however, tumbled. Aside from the Tiguan SUV, all other VW models had below average reliability. The redesigned XC90 was the big culprit in Volvo’s plunge to the bottom third ranking, with its touch-screen infotainment and climate systems being particularly problematic.
      Transmissions with more ratios and advanced drivetrains continue to be a challenge for a number of brands. While the Acura TLX and Jeep Cherokee have seen improvements in the reliability of their nine-speed automatics, earlier models are still problematic. Ford’s dual-clutch automatic transmission continues to afflict the Fiesta and Focus, which is one reason they are among the lowest-scoring models. Likewise, early versions of the current Nissan Pathfinder and similar Infiniti QX60 SUVs continue to suffer from problems with their continuously variable transmissions.
      Other GM marques did not fare as well as Buick. Chevrolet saw gains, moving up five spots since last year. It was helped in particular by the stellar reliability of the redesigned 2016 Cruze, which topped all compact cars, and the Corvette, which moved up to average. Cadillac has two models with below-average reliability—the Escalade and small ATS sedan—while the CTS and XTS sedans were average or better. GMC has dropped, hurt by its versions of the same large SUVs and pickup trucks that haunt Chevrolet.
      Consumer Reports requires at least two models with sufficient data in order to be included in its brand reliability rankings. With the introduction of the new Model X SUV, Tesla is now included and is ranked toward the bottom, at 25th. The Model X launched with abundant problems, including frequent malfunctions of the falcon-wing doors, water leaks, and infotainment and climate-control system problems. The Model S gained ground this year, improving to average reliability.
      Fiat-Chrysler continues its turbulent voyage. The Fiat 500L, the most trouble-prone new car for the past two years, is now only the seventh-most troublesome. No Fiat or Ram vehicle managed even an average reliability rating. Only the Chrysler 300 sedan, Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, and Jeep Patriot SUV managed an average or better score.
    • By William Maley
      Usually, we don't report on wagons in our spying reports because there are no chances they are coming to the U.S. But with the recent rumors of the next-generation Buick Regal possibly getting a wagon variant. we tend to pay attention. Which brings us nicely to a set of spy photos of the 2017 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer.
      Compared to the current Sports Tourer, the new one shown in these pictures looks to be slightly longer and wider. Up front, the nose looks to be more upright and there are new headlights. Opel has attached body panels behind the c-pillar to try and disguise the slope of the roof and window shape. 
      How does this connect to the Buick Regal? As we reported a couple of weeks ago in the rumorpile, Buick is possibly getting a version of the Insignia Sports Tourer. Wearing the Tourx nameplate, the wagon would get an increase in ride height, body cladding, and all-wheel drive. 
      Opel and Vauxhall are expected to reveal the new Insignia and Insignia Sports Tourer sometime next year. Hopefully then, we'll learn whether or not Buick will get the Sports Tourer or not.
      Source: Autoblog, Carscoops

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online