The Buick Verano is a premium compact car with a luxurious five-passenger interior. A very enjoyable sedan to drive, Verano costs thousands less than such rivals as the Acura ILX, Lexus IS 250, and Audi A3.
Verano launched as a 2012 model, and a turbocharged engine joined the lineup for 2013. Newly available safety features for the 2014 Buick Verano include Forward Collision Alert and a Lane Departure Warning, which are standard in the top two trim levels. Enhanced for 2014, Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system gains text message support, Siri Eyes Free, and smartphone voice-recognition pass-through. Text message support alerts the driver to new messages, which can be read aloud, viewed, and responded to (depending on the smartphone that’s used). IntelliLink also enables streaming audio from a cell phone, via services such as Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. Heated front seats have become standard for 2014 on all but the base model. The top three trim levels also gain a universal home remote with three-channel programmable garage door opener for the 2014 model year.
Buick Verano comes standard with GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine, which incorporates direct injection and variable valve timing. It makes 180 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for most situations. We found it notably smooth and exceptionally quiet. The 6-speed automatic transmission reacts appropriately whether driving casually or standing on the gas. The 2.4-liter engine gets an EPA fuel-economy estimate of 21/32 mpg City/Highway.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It adds to the fun, giving the Verano Turbo robust acceleration and willing passing power to go with its natural athleticism. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is available with either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. The 2.0-liter turbo is EPA-rated at 21/30 mpg City/Highway with automatic, 20/31 mpg with manual.
All Buick Verano models come with a rearview camera and Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert are available. SiriusXM Travel Link is offered, along with SiriusXM Tune Select; it allows occupants to tag artists and song names, triggering a pop-up on the screen when they are played on any satellite radio channel.
A compact car based on the Chevrolet Cruze, Verano is six inches longer than the Mazda3, and three inches longer than the Lexus IS 250. Verano is an attractive car with a short nose, steeply raked windshield, and crisp character lines. A black waterfall grille leads the way, and traditional Buick portholes are evident. Premium models have dual exhaust outlets. Standard machined-alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires, or forged alloy wheels can be added as an option.
The Buick interior is classy, with a rugged cloth and vinyl upholstery in the base model, with excellent leather in higher-line models. Interior trim is elegant, the center stack is simple and graceful, and the bucket seats are comfortable. Standard equipment includes pushbutton engine start, dual-zone automatic climate control, an electronic parking brake, a self-dimming inside mirror, and a six-way power driver’s seat. A heated steering wheel is available. Leather and Premium models have heated outside mirrors.
Verano is a very pleasant car to drive. We were impressed with its sporty character. Cornering, transmission performance, and ride quality are all impressive. We found the handling crisp and responsive. The brakes were firm and progressive as well.