Of all the core General Motors brands remaining, Buick has shocked the industry by performing the best, with sales up brilliantly over the past year.
This has been done with just three competitive models as well: the Enclave crossover and two sedans, the LaCrosse and Regal. That is set to change at the end of the year when the new small car Verano arrives.
Entering the premium small car segment is a pretty bold move for Buick, with its premium image still on the mend and many competitors still yet to get in the game. It is also a risk with a big payoff as well – establishing itself in the segment and opening up the brand to new buyers looking for a premium small car.
The Verano is intended to go after a whole new demographic for Buick – a younger generation looking for luxury and technology in a small package. And the key here is offering luxury in a small package, and the Verano succeeds in doing that. Stylistically it uses cues introduced on earlier Buick models like the Enclave and LaCrosse, with a waterfall grille, portholes and side character lines.
The car looks substantial, with a low, well-placed stance and wide track. Up front it adopts a signature design cue of the Enclave, a blue-ringed headlight graphic. This is something that Buick should spread across the lineup as a differentiator.
The interior of the Verano, dare we say it, beats luxury cars currently on sale like the Cadillac STS. It looks far more expensive than reports of its price tag suggest. The design is multifaceted, and with doors that flow up into the dash and premium surfaces. Attention to detail is strong in the interior, with chrome accents and ambient lighting similar to that on the Verano’s larger sibling, the LaCrosse.
There’s one engine available at first, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection, making 177 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine used in the Buick Regal. Eventually Buick plans to make a 2.0-liter turbocharged four available.
Standard features on the Verano are numerous: 10 airbags, 17-inch wheels, leatherette and projector headlamps to name a few.
The car offers a complete luxury package, with standard and optional features like with dual-zone climate control, electronic parking brake push button starter and a heated steering wheel and heated leather seats. As far as the technology package, the car’s next-generation radio and Bluetooth connectivity will enable voice-commands and text-to-speech SMS translation.
Those with smartphones will also be able to interface with Pandora, Stitcher and other applications through the car’s touch screen. OnStar offers the ability of using a remote application on your phone to check fuel tank level and range, mileage, oil life, tire pressure and odometer reading. This is in addition to traditional OnStar features like remote vehicle locking/unlocking, remote vehicle start and a vehicle locator.
This is impressive – especially from a vehicle with a rumored pricetag spanning from just $21-26,000.
A class leading Buick small car? Things have certainly changed – Buick is back. That’s a bold proclamation, but it is one we are willing to make.