Prior to its restructuring, General Motors’ European brand Opel was destined for alignment with Saturn in the United States. Now that Saturn is out of the picture, Buick has largely taken on that role. The Verano shows Astra influence in the interior, and the Regal and Encore are very close to their Opel/Vauxhall counterparts.
This is a welcome development; Opel products bring a European flair and it makes sense to share in this way since it gives Buick a unique lineup.
The Verano is an effort by Buick to be a pioneer in the premium small car segment, as well as reach a younger demographic. We think the Verano lineup could use to be expanded – not only with performance variants but other body styles. For an example, look no further than the Vauxhall Astra VXR, which is just launching in the United Kingdom.
It was introduced last year as the Opel Astra OPC, but we couldn’t resist another chance to show it off and call for it to be a Buick. Vauxhall is a brand limited to the UK market, and its lineup is the same as Opel’s. The VXR, like the OPC, is powered by a 275-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.
The VXR includes GM’s HiPer Strut suspension system designed for performance and luxury front-wheel drive applications. The chassis is also adaptive, offering Normal, Sport and two other unnamed suspension stages.
With a sporty, two-door hatchback profile the car could create real buzz for the Buick brand in the United States. And while we love the Verano and Regal GS cars, we think it would create a lot more buzz than those two. Would it be a low-volume proposition? Sure, but we don’t think it would cost too much to bring it over in limited quantities with a Buick badge. It is something Volkswagen does with the Golf R32. For now it is wishful thinking, but hey anything can happen. Until something does you can check out the Astra in our gallery below.