Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Drive: Buick Verano

The Buick brand has not had a compact car for the American market since the production run for the Buick Skylark ended in 1998. In 2011, General Motors decided to start production on a Buick that shares the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze. This was the Buick Verano, Buick's first compact car sold in America since the Skylark. The Verano is powered by a 2.4L I4 engine, paired with six-speed automatic transmission, that produces 180 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. A 2.0L turbocharged I4 engine will be available in late 2012. The Verano goes from 0 to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and reaches a top speed of 118. The base price for the Verano starts at $22,585. I would have dismissed as an upscale version of the Chevrolet Cruze, until I got into the driver seat.

The Verano was very room for a compact car. I have been in the back seat of a BMW 3-Series and there was not much leg room. The Verano had good leg room and head room. The driver seat was comfortable, but not as comfortable as the Buick LaCrosse.

The Verano was very responsive when I turned the steering wheel. The car actually moved when I pushed the accelerator, unlike the Chevrolet Volt. Although the Verano is not a quick car with a 0 to 60 mph time of 8.0 seconds, it felt a little quick. There was some pep from the 2.4L I4 engine. My one issue is that there is not a V6 or I6 engine available for the Verano.

The Verano was a pleasant surprise. For a compact car, it was roomy. The 2.4L I4 provides some pep. The Verano is a little quick for a compact car. The Ford Focus takes 8.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. A Standard Volkswagen Jetta goes from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. For a compact that costs around $23,000, the Verano is a good buy. It responds well, has some pep, and it is comfortable.

Photo taken from a digital camera.
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