We’ve been really excited about the progress Buick as a brand has made over the past few years. They’ve made progress in style, luxury, and market share. We’ve reviewed, a few times now, the Buick LaCrosse and Regal, and we couldn’t be more pleased with their bang-for-your-buck, entry level luxury status. Buick is also ready to roll out their new mini-SUV, the Encore, and they’ve showed off the new redesign of the Enclave. They’ve also put out a car called the Verano, which is based off the German designed Chevrolet Cruze. This car was cause for some stir when it was revealed at the Dallas Auto Show last year. Many expressed concern about the Verano competing too closely with it’s cousin, the Buick Regal, as they both share the same platform and are roughly the same size. The Buick representatives at the time explained that the target market for the Verano would be much different than that of the Regal and the price point would be different as well.
The Regal is geared more toward men and sports minded driving while the Verano is aimed more toward women and first time luxury buyers. So here we are, ready to see what’s what with this new Buick and to see if the brand has another home-run on it’s hands.
First off, let’s look at the design of the Verano. Buick really hit the mark when revealing its Enclave back in 2008. The style is exactly what Buick needed at the time, and that great look has trickled down into the rest of the lineup quite well. The Verano get’s Buick’s signature waterfall grille, vents on the hood, and stylized headlights and taillights. It really is a clean and elegant look that has fit well into this compact sedan.
Inside keeps with its entry-level, luxurious feel with leather seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Along the door handles and center console, you get a splash of woodgrain. The center stack is lined with a chrome-like accent, but the quality of the materials you see and touch isn’t the big seller for the interior of this car. The biggest thing you’ll notice while driving the Verano around is how quiet the interior space is. The car has been infused with sound deadening at every level. The Verano gives you acoustic laminated glass, triple door seals, five-layer interior roof liner, sound absorbing mats, and much more.
The quiet interior coupled with the driving feel of a German sedan really brings this car up in class. We loved the way the Buick Regal and the Chevrolet Cruze handled on the road. The Verano, being from the same underpinnings, has benefitted from this as well. Where the Regal is more sporty and tight though, the Verano is a little more lax in the bends. Steering feel is still spot on, but you get a little more body roll in tight corners and a little more squish from the suspension.
So does the Verano hit the market as an entry-level, premium buy? Buick is hoping that it will be cross-shopped with the likes of the Audi A3 and the new Acura ILX, but where the Acura’s starting price is $25,900 and the Audi at $27,270, the Verano has a starting price of just $22,585. This is a huge difference in price and makes the Verano seem that much more appealing. Our tester stickers out at $24,560* and while we think this is a great price for the car you get, but we still have some reservations about this car.
After a week behind the wheel and looking over the competition, the Verano seemed more and more to remind us of Old GM. The closest competition I see with the Verano isn’t the Acura or Audi, nor is it the Regal. From where I sit, the closest competition is the Chevrolet Cruze. We really like the Cruze and think that it’s great value for the money. The Verano just never seemed like it was any more special than what you would get from buying a Cruze. I couldn’t really put my finger on exactly what it was, but I kept getting the feeling that I wished the Verano was more expensive of a car. When you’re building a car to introduce new buyers to your brand, you don’t want them left feeling that they could have gotten the same out of buying a Chevy. The LaCrosse and Regal fit perfectly in the Buick lineup and I’d recommend them to anyone asking, but I’m still left wishing Buick would have invested just a little more into the Verano and priced it more in line with the Acura or Audi it competes with.
With all that being said, the Verano has been doing quite well in sales, so maybe they know what they are doing.