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    Review: 2012 Buick Verano



    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    June 20, 2012

    Every year, there’s a new trend in the automotive world. One moment, its crossover mania; the next moment, it’s the coupe sedan. The current fad is compact, near luxury cars. And it’s not only the regular suspects that are getting into it. Luxury manufacturers are getting into the game as well: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, and even Buick. Buick? Yes, Buick.

    Last year, the tri-shield introduced their new compact car, the Verano. Buick is hoping to take slice out of the growing luxury compact car market. But does a small compact Buick make sense at all?

    Exterior

    At first glance, the Verano looks to be a like shrunken La Crosse. The front end carries Buick’s signature waterfall grill and a set of headlights with a blue tint. On the hood, portholes sit on either side. The side profile carries the same profile from the larger LaCrosse and the standard eighteen inch wheels do a good job of filling in the wheel wells. The back end is short and has a tall trunk lid.

    gallery_10485_432_1454440.png

    One design cue that I didn’t like on the Verano is the chrome bars on top of the taillights. I’m not sure as to why they are there, but those bars add a touch of tackyness. All I would ask is for those chrome bars to be removed or to be color coded to the vehicle.

    Interior

    The Verano’s interior is one of the better ones GM has done in awhile. The dash layout is logical and most of the materials are soft touch and good quality. The only black mark with the dash lies with the “wood” and “metal” trim around the center stack. Come on GM, you’re marketing this as a premium compact car, at least put some better quality “wood” and “metal”.

    gallery_10485_432_829437.png

    Speaking about the center stack, the Verano comes equipped with Buick’s new Intellilink infotainment system. Intellilink provides AM/FM/XM radio, USB and AUX connectivity, and streaming of Pandora and Stitcher Internet Radio. The system had two problems though. After I had used Pandora once and decided to go back to it, the system would play the music but no sound came out. The other problem was when I had iPod connected and would play a certain track, the system would decide to play it at Alvin and the Chipmunks speed. Hopefully GM is working on a fix.

    As for comfort, the Verano delivers it in spades. Passengers sitting in the front will find seats very comfortable and pleased to find them heated. Back seat passengers will find the space somewhat tight. Head and legroom come at a premium. The trunk measures out to 14 cu. ft., about 0.2 cu. ft. less than the large Regal.

    Next, Ride, Drive, and the Verdict


    Ride and Drive

    The Verano comes equipped with GM’s 2.4L four-cylinder producing 180 HP and 172 lb-ft of torque going through a six-speed automatic. Getting off the line and driving around town, the Verano provides respectable power. However, on the freeway and/or when trying to make a pass, the 2.4L feels overworked and underpowered. Thank the Verano’s curb weight of 3,300 lbs for that. Luckily for the Verano, a new 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder is on its way later this year.

    gallery_10485_432_53583.png

    Fuel economy of the 2.4 stands at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined. During my week with the Verano, I matched the combined figure of 25. The Verano's closest competitor, the Acura ILX gets better mileage out of its base 2.0L with 24 City/35 Highway/28 Combined and matches the Verano when equipped with an optional 200 HP 2.4L four (22 City/31 Highway/25 Combined).

    Bigger, heavier cars with much more power get similar highway numbers to the Verano (Dodge Charger is one of them), and comparing to the new Acura ILX is natural, but if you're going to do that, you need to compare the power and torque output as well. I haven't driven the ILX 2.0 yet, but I will bet it will be sitting higher in the RPM band than the Verano 2.4L.

    The Verano does come back with one of the quietest rides in the class. Road and wind noise are non-existent, even at highway speed. Also, the Verano ride feels very solid and composed, giving you the feeling you’re in a more expensive vehicle.

    If you feel like having some fun, the Verano is a willing partner. The front MacPherson suspension and rear Z-link setup keep the Verano stable when cornering, and the steering provides a good feel and weight. But don’t push it, the Verano isn’t a Ford Focus or a Dodge Dart, it will fight back.

    Verdict

    Does a compact Buick make sense? Almost. Unfortunately the weak link in the Verano is the 2.4L’s fuel economy. This is a compact car that gets almost the same fuel economy as a full size vehicle equipped with the V6. Hopefully, the turbo engine coming out later this year can rectify this.

    Otherwise, the Verano has a lot going for it: a handsome exterior, a comfortable interior, Buick’s new Intellilink system, and a very quiet ride.

    As the Verano was being driven away, I wondered how long how it would take to for me to save up enough money to get a Verano Turbo. Yeah, the Verano is that good.

    gallery_10485_432_1578738.png

    Cheers:

    Exterior Design

    Interior

    Intellilink

    Quiet Ride

    Jeers:

    Fuel Economy

    Tail light brows

    Year - 2012

    Make - Buick

    Model - Verano

    Trim - 1SL

    Engine - 2.4L DOHC Four-Cylinder

    Driveline - Front Wheel Drive, Six Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM - 180 @ 6200

    Torque @ RPM - 171 @ 4900

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/32/25

    Curb Weight - 3300 lbs

    Location of Manufacture - Lake Orion, Michigan

    Base Price - $25,965.00

    As Tested Price - $26,850.00 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    My brother's girlfriend just got a Verano- saw it briefly Sunday. No real evaluation, tho I did stick my head inside and did come to focus on the metal trim on the center stack. First impression was that I was impressed it was 1 piece; no seams. Second is that I thought it was in no way tacky or cheap. Oh, it wasn't CNC-d virgin aluminum, but it was still a nice solid piece of material that looked appropriate in where the Verano is segmented, IMO.

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    Hopefully the 2.5L base motor will give a nice little boost in economy and power as well when it arrives.

    The rear eyebrows bug me as well. Atleast the portholes I could remove pretty easily.

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    ^ RE the VentiPorts ~ the hood is stamped/indented where they're mounted (not sure it they're thru-bolted), so it would just look like they were missing.

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    Nice review! I really like this Buick, and can't wait for the Turbo model (let alone a GS model) come to market. I disagree with your sentitments about the wood/metal surround - I think it fits in well with the design - and I like the chrome eyebrows - gives it an angry look to the rear. I agree with your concerns of fuel economy and with the tight rear seat space for adults. Otherwise if I wasn't really into trucks so much I'd be very tempted to see if I could afford one of these new.

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    Well, to look like a baby LaCrosse, it would have to have a sweepspear, not an Astra hockeystick. And the angry taillights and Ventiports give it distinctive character.

    I do like this car and cannot wait for the turbo version to hit the street.

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    Is it me or does the center stack cut into your gas leg room? The picture shows how it arc's into the space and I think for big guys over 6' tall this will pinch the leg room.

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    The Astra's tail lights to me are too generic... the back of the Astra looks like a Volkswagen or some other European car. The Verano's tail lights are love 'em or hate 'em, but I'd take them over the Astra's. Judge for yourself:

    2013-Opel-Astra-Sedan0b-589x344.jpg

    2012_buick_verano_4.jpg

    Now the Astra wagon (sports tourer) is another story:

    278205.jpg

    278206.jpg

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    I think the Buick even with the ugly chrome strips does have more style and it is a love it or hate it style.

    Personally, I think the mean rear look will strike an interest in a group of people here. Now will it be enough to sell in large profitable numbers? I take a wait and see approach.

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    Agreed, the Astra wagon looks better; there's always something awkward about a hatchback (especially one that's designed for space efficiency and is consequently relatively tall) converted into a sedan. The Buick front and rear fascias are overdone, too, IMO.

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    We had looked at one when we were car shopping. We liked the car but the wife wanted something bigger. It is narrow feeling inside but it also is a small car. I think the interior makes you feel like you are in a larger car with out the size. Too often cars this narrow have crap interiors.

    My one fear is that people will see the coming Turbo and want to make it into a GS kind of car. The fact is the Turbo will remain with the softer suspension and is not intended nor claimes to be a sporting sedan. It is just a Verano with more power.

    This has me expecting the Malibu with the same engine will not be an SS.

    I think the power from that engine with the comfort ride will play well with many who have only owned V8 and V6 cars. That is important to people who buy cars in this class as they seldom have owned underpowered cars.

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    Overall you hit a lot of the same points I made about the car. Hyper is right about it playing to people who drive V6 cars and don't want something underpowered. I think I even fall in that category a little bit. I'd get a Cruze and I'd be fine but I think it's a little underpowered and I refuse to drive anything that is slower than what I already have. Even just the 2.4L in a car this size makes a big difference as some of the mags are reporting 7.5sec 0-60 times, which is just not something you really see in compact cars usually unless you plonk down the money for the rediculous "boy racer" edition with the "look at me spoiler" and shopping cart ride quality.

    This car will find its place in the market I believe. It offers an unbelievable amount of value when you measure it up even against other cars like the Civic and Corolla. Why on earth you would buy an up-spec one of those when this gives you so much more car for the money for instance. IIRC they are on track to sell something like 30k of these this year and that is of course taking into account that February and January didn't really hit the stride because the car was literally still being introduced during that time.

    I will say though that the faux metal in the Verano is actually pretty good in my books for the same reasons Balthy listed. I'd certainly place it near the top of the list for fake stainless I've seen in the mass market and even premium price points.

    Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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    really Buick has a nice chance here to establish themselves by bringing all the variants..... 3 door, 5 door, wagon, into a full lineup that would really anchor the brand and give lots for shoppers to look at from matching up to some coupes, to Focus ST competition to Jetta Sportwagen competition.

    Even if they only moved 5,000 wagons of these I think if they can import the other bodies like the 3 door it would totally make the model and brand worth talking about.

    Of course though, how would they sell any Encores if they had a Verano wagon?

    Edited by regfootball
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    I like the idea OF A FULL LINE UP FOR BUICK. I REMEMBER THE MIDSIZED BUICK WAGONS WE HAD RUNNING AROUND AS A KID....

    oops, damned caps lock....

    Your just shouting your love for Buick! :D

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    Everyone keeps mentioning the 2.5L being thrown in as the base engine... the GM order guide for 2013 still mentions the 2.4L as the standard engine. Anyone know if it's 100% definitely getting the 2.5 and if so, where did they hear it?

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    Everyone keeps mentioning the 2.5L being thrown in as the base engine... the GM order guide for 2013 still mentions the 2.4L as the standard engine. Anyone know if it's 100% definitely getting the 2.5 and if so, where did they hear it?

    Still the 2.4L, they are probably going to roll the 2.5L out on a larger scale once they Malibu is launched and underway.

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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
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