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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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    Listened to the latest Autoblog podcast this morning, they gave it a very solid review. Haven't seen one yet in person.

    I would like to check it out in person myself.

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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
      Like life, reviewing vehicles sometimes mean having a curveball thrown your way. Originally, I was going to be reviewing the Chrysler 200 before its production run would end. Sadly, the 200 was pulled out of Chrysler’s test fleet before I was able to drive. But sometimes, that curveball can be a positive. In this case, a Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn would take its place. More importantly, it would be equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. We like this engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. How would it fare in the Ram 1500? Quite well.
      The EcoDiesel V6 in question is a turbocharged 3.0L with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our test truck came with four-wheel drive, but you can order the EcoDiesel with two-wheel drive. The EcoDiesel might not have the roar or performance figures of the 5.7L V8 (0-60 takes about 9 seconds for the diesel compared to just a hair over 7 seconds for the V8), but it is a very capable engine. There is a lot of punch on the low end of the rpm band and the engine never feels that it is running out of breath the higher you climb in speed.  You can tell the EcoDiesel is a diesel during start up as it has distinctive clatter. Also, it takes a few seconds for the engine to start up if you let the truck sit for awhile. But once the engine is going, you can’t really tell its a diesel. Whether you’re standing outside or sitting inside, the V6 is quiet and smooth. The eight-speed automatic is one of the best transmissions in the class as it delivers imperceptible gear changes. In terms of towing, the EcoDiesel V6 has a max tow rating of 9,210 pounds (regular cab with 2WD). The crew cab with 4WD drops the max tow rating to 8,610 pounds. This does trail the V8 considerably (max tow rating of 10,640). But the EcoDiesel makes up for this in terms of fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/27 Highway/22 Combined for the EcoDiesel equipped 4WD. Our average for the week was a not too shabby 23.4 mpg. This generation of the Ram 1500 has garnered a reputation for having one of the best rides in the class. We can’t disagree. The coil-spring setup on the rear suspension smooths out bumps and other road imperfections very well.  Our truck also featured the optional air suspension which is more focused on improving the capability of the pickup and not ride comfort. There are five different ride height settings that allow for easier access when getting in and out of a truck to increasing ground clearance when going off-road. The air suspension will also level out the truck if there is a heavy load in the bed or pulling a trailer. The Ram 1500’s exterior look hasn’t really changed much since we reviewed one back in 2014. Up front is a large crosshair grille finished in chrome and large rectangular headlights with LED daytime running lights. The Laramie Longhorn features it own design cues such as two-tone paint finish, 20-inch wheels, and large badges on the front doors telling everyone which model of Ram you happen to be driving. Inside, the Laramie Longhorn is well appointed with real wood trim on the dash and steering wheel, high-quality leather upholstery for the seats, and acres of soft-touch plastics. Some will snicker at the seat pockets that are designed to look saddle bags, complete with a chrome clasp.  Comfort-wise, the Laramie Longhorn’s interior scores very high. The seats provide excellent support for long trips, and no one sitting in the back will be complaining about the lack of head and legroom. One nice touch is all of the seats getting heat as standard equipment, while the front seats get ventilation as well. The UConnect system is beginning to show its age with an interface that is looking somewhat dated and certain tasks taking a few seconds more than previous versions. There is an updated UConnect system that debuted on the 2017 Pacifica with a tweaked interface and quicker performance. Hopefully, this is in the cards for the 2017 Ram 1500. As for pricing, the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 comes with a base price $52,365. With options including the 3.0L EcoDiesel, our as-tested price was $60,060. Sadly this is the new reality for pickup trucks. Many buyers want the luxuries and features found on standard vehicles and are willing to pay for it. The Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 can justify the price for what it offers, but it is still a lot of money to drop. The nice thing about the Ram 1500 is the number of trims on offer. You’ll be able to find a model that should fit your needs and price range. Personally, I would be happy with a Big Horn or Laramie as they would offer everything I would want or need in a truck. But if you want something luxurious with a cowboy twist, you can’t go wrong with Laramie Longhorn. The EcoDiesel is just the cherry on top.   
      Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Diesel
      Year: 2016
      Make: Ram Trucks
      Model: 1500 Crew Cab
      Trim: Laramie Longhorn
      Engine: 3.0L EcoDiesel V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 3,600
      Torque @ RPM: 420 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $52,365
      As Tested Price: $60,060 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      3.0L EcoDiesel V6 - $3,120.00
      4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,695.00
      Wheel to Wheel Side Steps - $600.00
      Convenience Group - $495.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $280.00
      Cold Weather Group - $235.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $75.00
    • By William Maley
      It has been a long time coming. But we knew sooner or later, we would get our first glimpse at the upcoming Opel/Vauxhall Insignia (also Buick Regal and Holden Commodore) minus the camo. That day has finally arrived as the Insignia sedan and Sport Tourer have been caught uncovered. 
      The front end reminds us a lot of the current Mazda6 - a flat nose with a pentagonal grille and slim headlights. Along the side, there has been some sculpting along the lower part of the doors that add some sharpness. The back end features similar styling to the Buick LaCrosse with a similarly shaped trunklid and taillights that extend into the rear fenders. The Sport Tourer features a more distinctive character line and a steeply raked rear tailgate.
      Both models are the top-line OPC trim which means a number of sporty touches to the exterior, 20-inch wheels, large Brembo brakes, small spoiler, and dual exhaust tips.
      The second-generation Insignia is 2.1 inches longer and rides on a wheelbase that has been stretched 3.6 inches. This should help one of the key issues of the current Insignia and its brethren, a tight back seat. The new Insignia has also been lowered by 1.1 inches to give it a sportier stance.
      Motor1 reports that Opel and Vauxhall will reveal the next-generation Insignia later this month online, followed by a debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Sports Tourer expected a few months later. 
      Source: Motor1.com

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