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trinacriabob

Buick Verano - 2015 and 2016 - reviews of rental test drives

5 posts in this topic

I thought I'd do a cluster of reviews of cars I've rented and what I thought of them.

 

I've rented Buick Veranos a total of 3 times - twice here locally and once, of all places, for a strange and long layover at DTW.  For an extra $10, I thought, "WTH, I'll take the Verano."

 

One of the things I have to accept is that the days of the cast iron block and cast iron head are gone.  I've got one now.  The next time around, it won't be an option.  I'm now at the point where I sort of know that this technology has been improved and that these all-aluminum 4 cylinder engines can go the distance.

 

Of the 3 Buick sedans in the current line-up - LaCrosse, Regal, and Verano - I think the Verano is the best looking of the lot.  It doesn't have any ungainly, thick parts.  The front grille isn't too big and sits up high.  Luckily, it is not chromed and an exercise in bling.  I like the sculpted line that flows along the base of the car and then veers upward at the rear door, as I do the rear side opera window that is remarkably fitted into the silhouette.  The rear lamps, with the eyebrows, took some getting used to, but they're not bad.

 

Inside, I like the fit and finish of the Verano.  The seats are plump and comfortable, making this a smaller car you can sit in for a very long time whereas, in the "olden days," you had to get out of a smaller Toyota, Nissan, or Chevy frequently on a road trip.  With the seats being big, they seem to shrink the available space inside, especially in the rear of the cabin.  The Verano is really meant for 2 regular sized adults and maybe 2 children in the back ... or 2 more "small" adults.  I'm not the only one that notices that.  All of the professional reviews do, too.  As for the instrument cluster, I like the fact that both an analog and a digital speedometer are right in front of you, and that you can set the cruise control very accurately because of that digital speedometer and the setting tab.  What I don't like is the stalk with the small button that one needs to toggle through to find a whole bunch of settings and readings.  It feels like, if used for one year too long, it will give up the ghost and be an expensive repair.  The Veranos I've rented have had rear cameras, side traffic alert, and front collision alert.  It doesn't take much to set them off, and it takes only a short time to get used to them, but they are definitely appreciated.

 

Once you pull out in a Verano, you know you're in a Buick.  It might be on the same platform as the previous-gen Chevy Cruze, but the feeling is unmistakably Buick.  It is quieter, has a softer but still controlled ride, and it handles nimbly while feeling like at least a mid-size car, or one that weighs about 200 to 300 pounds more than it does, although I wouldn't call it sporty.  One review described it as "library quiet."  I'd say that's fairly close to reality.  The only thing one has to watch on an interstate ride is the possibility of drifting slightly and quietly toward another lane.  This is a non issue in the previous-gen Chevy Cruze.  Being a little rougher, and less expensive, there is more sensing what the tires are doing and where the Cruze is.

 

The Verano has gotten excellent Consumer Reports ratings for all of its systems, going back to 2012.  Good job, Buick!  However, of all the smaller cars about the same size, it does not return the best fuel mileage and reviews mention that.  The engine is a 2.4 liter inline 4 and the highway mileage is in the low 30s.  I'd say that's about what I got.  However, on a tank in which the car was driven with no demands - highway, flat, cruise at 63 mph, and no air conditioning - I did pull in around 37 or 38 mpg.  I think GM has done a great job with the 6 speed automatic transmission.  As with all of these units, you only feel the first and second shift points and, after that, it's a mystery, almost as if you're in CVT land.  However, as long as they do their job and hold up, it's not something I'd give much thought to.

 

If I was in the market for a new car today, this would be my "go to" vehicle.  The decision would be easier than it was the last time around.

 

Verano in metallic mocha:
post-1522-0-52634000-1470637883_thumb.jp

 

Verano in white:

post-1522-0-19487700-1470637898_thumb.jp

 

The taillamp is nicely shaped and the eyebrow is unique (not too bad):

post-1522-0-89390500-1470637915_thumb.jp

 

Nicely finished instrument panel, and it is a few notches up from its Chevrolet sibling in its build quality:

post-1522-0-00129300-1470637929_thumb.jp

 

The way the center stack is shaped is really appealing:

post-1522-0-80441500-1470637978_thumb.jp


The seats are more comfortable and nicer to look at than those in my current and larger car of the same brand:

post-1522-0-30253400-1470637990_thumb.jp

 

If you can throw one into the batter, I'll take an opera window any day of the week and twice on Sundays:

post-1522-0-19581700-1470638002_thumb.jp

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It is a shame that the Verano goes away from Buick's US lineup after an abbreviated 2017 model year.  It is a very nice car.  I have a co-worker who recently bought a 2016 Sport Touring, and he and his wife love it.  He thinks the Encore (Buick's new entry level vehicle) is "stupid looking".  I like them both and think there is room for both in America... land of Buick's BIRTH.

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I agree.  I had seen some spy shots of a 2017 Verano, obviously on the new Cruze platform.  The sculpting on it toward the rear made it look jelly bean-like and the rear deck lid with the Buick emblem looked like a recent Passat or Jetta.  Inside, the dash was much more horizontal along the cowl and in its general layout, and not as attractive as in the current car, while the Cruze spruced up its dash a little and it looks nice. 

 

At any rate, we won't be getting it.  But the Chinese market will.

 

Not only that, Verano is a cool name.  Cruising around in your Verano during the "summer?"  Sounds like a plan.

Edited by trinacriabob

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the current Verano is a gem and the Sport Touring package for 16 is quite nice. 

 

Someone at work has a white diamond Verano in the parking lot everyday.  Sharp car.

 

I think Buick is putting all its sport sedan / low end sedan eggs in the Regal for 2018.  Should be interesting to see the result.

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Reg, I totally agree that the current Verano is a gem, so to speak.  After renting a few, I fell in love with them.  This is currently the car I would buy.  My preference would be either the mocha or dark blue, with the cashmere (tan) cloth interior.

 

As for Buick, I've seen great work in the grilles of their new cars, but don't like how they peter out in the rear jelly bean style.

 

Also, per Consumer Reports, each year of Verano since its introduction gets high marks on all the systems they rate.  That's not typical for a new model.  The last gen Cruze, which shares the chassis, didn't do as well per Consumer Reports.  The only big difference was the engine.  Most of the other underpinnings, including the transmission, were/are the same.

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