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A Horse With No Name

Buick Verano Review

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So, you all may well know that we just bought the MINI Cooper S for my wife to drive. My son is going to take our four door family car for his use, and we are going to be in need of a more door practical car in the next year or so.

I've enjoyed reading the reviews of the Verano, and thought they looked like a sharp car. Since I got off of work a little early today, I stopped by the local Buick dealer for a quick test hop. There were things I liked, things I didn't like, and things that I thought really stood out as positives.

First of all, things I didn't like. Biggest of all the side profile is a little bit busy with the extra front quarter window and extra rear quarter window. It almost reminds me a bit of the old checker cabs. It just looks needlessly busy.

Wasn't quite sure that I liked a few of the lines at the front of the car, mostly where the hood meets the grille and where some of the character lines fall in the hood. Overall, I'd give exterior styling a strong B...but I'd like to see Buick refine the design language just a little bit if the do a mid cycle refresh on the car.

Wasn't really sure I liked how high the car seemed to sit either. It's a minor nit, but I think the car would look a little better if it rode just slightly lower. Maybe the new Turbo model will cure this.

Things I liked: the car in the showroom was Mocha Brown, which seemed well suited to this car. Usually brown looks bad on a car, but this particular shade of brown looked fabulous on the Verano IMHO. Were I to buy one, I would want it in blue. There is a new blue coming out for next year, but the salesman said they are not sure if it is going to only be available on the turbo model or will be available on the regular car as well.

My test drive car was also Mocha Brown, and unlike the Verano in the showroom it came with the cloth interior. I found both the cloth and leather interior to be very well assembled. IMHO the fit and finish and attention to detail exceeded a lot of much more expensive European cars (read-Audi and BMW) that friends of mine own. Perhaps someone else here can fault the Verano in some way with regards to interior, but I found quality of assembly to be superb.

Paint finish seemed to be very good, although the Mustang I test drove before we bought the MINI had a better level of finish in the door jambs and trunk interior, as well as less orange peel. Overall I'd give the level of interior assembly a strong 10 and the paint quality a good 9 on a scale of 1-10 if I were to rate them.

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There are things in the interior that really stood out though. First of all, the analog gauges are of a really excellent quality and very easy to read. They lit up in a very pleasant shade of blue, which I would strongly prefer to the harsh red light of both the MINI and the Miata we currently own. The dashboard layout is very modern but also very intuitive, with none of the busyness of an Acura TSX or say a Ford Focus. It's much more simple in design than say the Malibu, and the longer I drove the car the more I liked the dashboard. Probably more than any other modern GM car, including the Cadillac CTS. Buick just nailed this part of the design right on the head.

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Another thing I liked is the shape and size of the trunk. Unlike the Camaro which has an awkwardly shaped trunk opening, or the modern Jetta which is a little deep and awkward to access, the trunk is ideally shaped and sized IMHO for a nice long highway trip. This may seem trivial, but since I have a large family this is a design detail that just might push things in Buick favor when it comes time to buy my next car.

The FR-S I test drove has an interesting design detail in that the engineers stretched the back seat/trunk area just slightly to accommodate 4 race tires if your going to do a track day. In a similar fashion, the trunk of the Verano seems nicely tweaked over that of a Cruze for real world use. It just somehow "felt" right.

Back seat comfort is also nice.

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Sounds Awesome, Did you take any pictures to show us?

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The seats were nicely supportive, although I found the seats to be better in both the GTI and Volvo C30 that I previously test drove. We'll call front seat comfort an 8.5 out of ten here.

What I would give another ten out of ten to on this car is the brake tuning. The brake feel is very, very good for a non performance car, and the brakes were among the most linear and easily modulated of any car I've driven, including the Porsche Boxster. Our test drive, and the life of this particular Verano almost came to a very sudden and painful end when a Ford Flex cut us off on I-71 on the test drive. The Verano was so silky smooth as it rapidly bled off velocity and switched lanes that I honestly don't even think the salesman even noticed how urgently I had to react to avoid an accident.

Another 10 out of 10 would be the chassis tuning on the car. In Columbus, we have an Ice cream store that has really weird flavors, things that you would never think to put together that somehow end up tasting good....like blueberry-Jalapino. The Verano seemed to be like that, with the lightness and nimbleness that makes me so impressed with cars like the Ford Fusion combined with the well planted feel of say a Lucerne. You really have to drive the car for awhile to appreciate how good it really is.

Sounds Awesome, Did you take any pictures to show us?

No...I didn't. Sorry.

And I was really impressed with the car, so let me rant on with one more positive point...I promise, I'm almost done!

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The other thing that I was really impressed with is how flat this thing stayed when I pushed it. A quick definition-an off camber turn is one where the banking is reversed from the banking of say an oval racetrack, and gravity is working against the car as you take a corner. I took the Buick through several, and I couldn't get the car upset at all. Turns that would have brought tire squeal or protest from the Volvo C30 or the V-6 Manual Mustang I drove brought not a protest from the Buick. I've lived in Columbus since 1989, and my test drive route had plenty of little opportunities for the Buick to show body roll, the front end bobbing under heavy braking, or other bad manners.

Let me just say that there is a LOT of European sports sedan DNA from somewhere in this car, As we finished the test drive, I told the sales man to hold on and that I was going to push the car a little bit. I took a turn from one 4 lane road to another sharply at 44-46 miles an hour, not even bothering to slow down.

Driven as such, the car cornered flatly and perfectly, no under steer, no tire noise, no protest at all...with a flawless transition to the straight as we headed down the other 4 lane road.

The Buick Verano Turbo may just be a world beater if GM can keep it up. Color me impressed!

And I'll snap some pics when I take the Mrs. for a test drive....not sure how soon that will be, but it's coming.

Thanks for reading this far!

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Awesome Review, the Verano is sounding like it will be another feather in the cap of GM to really kick ass while taking names and numbers. Looking forward to checking out the cars myself.

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Horse, you're making this very hard for me! I really, really like the Verano - it and the Cruze are my favorite GM cars right now. I'm not ready to part with my Envoy, and so far I have been unable to get the wife interested in the Verano and out of her G6 (not that there's anything wrong with the G6, I for one like them). But your enthusiasm for this car is too strong!! I know that on another forum there was an article about GM having a huge sale until July 2 with dealers getting huge incentives for selling volume. You're going to make me want to visit my Buick-GMC dealer if you keep all this positive-ness going!! :P

Good luck with the wife and not getting her interested. I think I see a new Verano in your driveway soon :lol:

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Verano is Astra blood........

so this or a Focus ST?

I had really been Jonesin on the Verano recently, then almost prophetically I saw a white one in the wild today and it sort of killed the enthusiasm a bit. I got to see the side profile from a distance, and then I got full disclosure on the rear end from a distance. Why did the taillight treatment have to be so bad?

You are right about the trunk......this is the way vehicles should be packaged (hello LaCrosse). Obviously you can tell the need to have this car have a big boot for Europe.

So now me myself am back to liking the Regal a bit more (there is a nice Regal Turbo manual used for sale near me, 2000 miles on it)..... but not sure when I can ever buy. And if I do I would have to fight the urge to buy a less expensive Kizashi from myself anyways. But the Verano does impress me....now your test makes me want to try one even more. I think the Verano will become Buick's Grand Am once word gets out. It's an example of a GM car that pretty much nails it all.

FOr many buyers I think the Verano may also be compared to larger 'vanilla' cars like the Camry, Altima, Malibu, Fusion.

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I was very, very impressed by the Verano at our recent Acura ILX test track & drive event, where we got to compare it to competitors. We were looking for negative points on competing vehicles, and really the only 2 I had with the Buick were soft front seats and as extremely refined and polished as it rides and handles, it's not necessarily tossable with the current steering ratio. Deceptive on the track and can be thrown around, while still being silent and cushioned, but what a great small car.

ILX more fun. Verano holy refined and polished. Love the Choccachino interior. I would definitely buy one.

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I'll have to test drive an ILX sometime to check it out but...

between the two, my money would be on the Verano.

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Stu;id name or not, Honda is falling behind. Hard to believe the ILX is that good of a car chassis wise, as the current Civic SI was a real disappointment, IMHO.

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After having seen the ILX, I like the looks of it.

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After having seen the ILX, I like the looks of it.

I do, but I like the Regal and Verano better.

The car I most like right now though is the Golf TDI. If VW gets its act together on this thing, Scion/Subaru, Buick, and everyone else is going to be SOL when I buy my next car, methinks.

But then again, VW has had some of the same chronic issues for quite awhile so....it's still an open race.

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After having seen the ILX, I like the looks of it.

Not to go off the topic of Verano, but I hear the same daily. Every one likes the look. Some are interested first based on the looks and then others on the smaller size and equipment. Great car, and a lot of demand especially for 6MT models. Not as luxurious inside as the Verano, but an edge still in tech and really fun driving dynamics. Rides better than the TSX in ways too, thanks to the new amplitude reactive dampers.

I was very impressed by the Verano, except for the soft seats and softer powertrain feel. Like a luxury car in a small package. Day to day, the ILX sport and polished driving dynamics give it its own edge.

Edited by caddycruiser

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After having seen the ILX, I like the looks of it.

Not to go off the topic of Verano, but I hear the same daily. Every one likes the look. Some are interested first based on the looks and then others on the smaller size and equipment. Great car, and a lot of demand especially for 6MT models. Not as luxurious inside as the Verano, but an edge still in tech and really fun driving dynamics. Rides better than the TSX in ways too, thanks to the new amplitude reactive dampers.

I was very impressed by the Verano, except for the soft seats and softer powertrain feel. Like a luxury car in a small package. Day to day, the ILX sport and polished driving dynamics give it its own edge.

I really will have to drive one...but I really was not impressed with the Civic SI I drove.

Glad your getting good feed back on the Acura, and a 6MT would be a huge selling point for me.

I hate automatics, and I am married to a woman who hates driving them. We have two teenage drivers in the house that learned to drive on manuals and pretty much refuse to drive anything automatic.

Thus, the GTI or TDI thoruight for a 4 door replacement family car.

I'll check out a 1lx, and get back to you.

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After having seen the ILX, I like the looks of it.

Not to go off the topic of Verano, but I hear the same daily. Every one likes the look. Some are interested first based on the looks and then others on the smaller size and equipment. Great car, and a lot of demand especially for 6MT models. Not as luxurious inside as the Verano, but an edge still in tech and really fun driving dynamics. Rides better than the TSX in ways too, thanks to the new amplitude reactive dampers.

I was very impressed by the Verano, except for the soft seats and softer powertrain feel. Like a luxury car in a small package. Day to day, the ILX sport and polished driving dynamics give it its own edge.

If it is the same 6 speed from the old TSX, then it is the best one in business this side of the Porsche Cayman.

I wonder how will Verano turbo play with its dynamics. I hope GM gives the car some suspension tuning over the vanilla Verano.

After seeing the Verano, I think GM should stop selling the 2.4 in Regal and just offer two turbos in different HP.

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I saw Veranos for the 1st time yesterday..drove by the Buick/Cadillac/GMC store and there were two on the lot (white, silver) and one pulling out on the street (black)..looked pretty good at a quick glance...

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After having seen the ILX, I like the looks of it.

Not to go off the topic of Verano, but I hear the same daily. Every one likes the look. Some are interested first based on the looks and then others on the smaller size and equipment. Great car, and a lot of demand especially for 6MT models. Not as luxurious inside as the Verano, but an edge still in tech and really fun driving dynamics. Rides better than the TSX in ways too, thanks to the new amplitude reactive dampers.

I was very impressed by the Verano, except for the soft seats and softer powertrain feel. Like a luxury car in a small package. Day to day, the ILX sport and polished driving dynamics give it its own edge.

I really will have to drive one...but I really was not impressed with the Civic SI I drove.

Glad your getting good feed back on the Acura, and a 6MT would be a huge selling point for me.

I hate automatics, and I am married to a woman who hates driving them. We have two teenage drivers in the house that learned to drive on manuals and pretty much refuse to drive anything automatic.

Thus, the GTI or TDI thoruight for a 4 door replacement family car.

I'll check out a 1lx, and get back to you.

Same powertrain as the TSX with the slick 6-speed, yes. And a lot less weight, so it moves.

We've sold several 6MT ILX's. Not as posh as the Buick, but a different character and different buyer, in ways. Definitely not a Civic.

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In a world where my Cooper S feels under powered, although quick on an autocross course, a 2.4 W a manual that goes would be cool!

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ILX has about the dumbest ad slogan of any car though...

2013-acura-ilx.jpg

"The kind of car your dad would have driven if he hadn't had you"

Is the new ad slogan...I mean...come on guys....

24d2asg.jpg

ILX01b.jpg

ILX02b.jpg

acura-ilx-audi.jpg

MweoC.png

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I have to protest your opinion that the interior of the TSX is "busy"...Hopefully you refer to the tech-package equipped TSX which is SLIGHTLY more complicated inside than the base model. However I think the layout of the TSX's dash is extremely minimalist and user friendly while not being absolutely boring like say a BMW.

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