Beginning with the Enclave in 2008, Buick has begun remaking itself into a far more youthful, competent luxury brand. Among younger buyers, there is a desire out there for an upmarket, affordable and stylish small car.
Manufacturers have begun responding to this, and the segment is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. Audi is preparing the A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz has the A-Class hatchback and CSC sedan waiting in the wings. With the Buick Verano, General Motors led in introducing a model focused on this demographic. It remains to be seen how the Verano will fare with younger buyers.
Initial sales are good, but we imagine that it is cannibalizing Regal sales to a degree. For 2013, Buick is introducing the Verano Turbo, something that makes the value proposition of the car even more impressive versus the Acura ILX. The Turbo is a long time coming; there was a nearly unanimous conclusion that the Verano needed more power.
Currently the Verano is powered by GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder, making 180 horsepower. The Turbo swaps that out for a 2.0-liter unit making an impressive 250 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Even better news? It will come available with a six-speed manual. 250 hp will give the compact Verano a lot of pep; combined with a six-speed it should be an entertaining drive. The Turbo is more than just a new engine option though; it includes some accompanying changes to give it a more sporting focus. The suspension has been reportedly stiffened by 15 percent to 20 percent to aid in handling, and the ZF steering returned to provide more feedback.
Along with these changes, the Verano Turbo includes tech like side blind-zone and cross traffic alert, as well as standard heated seats/steering wheel and a nine-speaker Bose audio system. Detail changes like the interior sport pedals, dual exhaust and a rear spoiler round out the changes. We would have liked to see the exterior get sportier, but this isn’t a GS model, just a Turbo. At under $30,000 with a powerful engine and beautiful interior, the Verano Turbo will make for an excellent value proposition. It’s just too bad the styling isn’t a little more youthful.