2012 Buick Verano:Buick does it again

10 Jan 2011 | 1,726 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds If you thought Buick was done--in any sense of that term--consider yourself corrected. Buick now is one of the hottest, most desirable brands on the market, and the torrid sales pace of their current lineup confirms that fact in exactly the way General Motors needs to have it confirm it: The bottom line. The brand now has at least one more headliner up its sleeve: the 2012 Buick Verano, which made its debut at the North American International Auto Show Monday.  It's a luxurious new upscale compact. Yes it's based on the same platform as Chevy's top-notch Cruze, but it's a totally different car judging from the looks, the equipment, and different powerplant, among other things.      The engine is an Ecotec 2.4L and six-speed automatic powertrain, which gets about  177 horsepower, and can hit 60 in eight seconds. Verano is apparently pretty easy on the gasoline too, getting about 31 miles per gallon on the highway. It willl have as optional equipment later in the model year a 2.0 liter turbo engine. “Verano expands our lineup, continues Buick’s momentum and gives us a great opportunity to attract a new generation of customers with a product that delivers on their expectations for design, performance and technology,” said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick marketing. “It is a smart choice that delivers unexpected luxury in a compact sedan – and it will compete head-to-head with competitors from Audi and Lexus.” Buick officials were wise in designing the Verano in a way thaqt compolements the successful lineup they have now, and it features a number of design and equipment cues that bring it in line with those products.       Looks-wise, it's clearly a contemporary Buick, with character lines along the flanks that resemble the other models.  You'll notice a black waterfall grille, blue translucent projector beam headlamps, portholes and tasteful chrome accents, for instance.          Inside, the Verano has a clearly upscale interior, which should help it sell well since it's in keeping with the trend of lavishly equipped compacts that consumers are going for these days. That means lots of polished metals, tasteful, discreet application of wood and other materials, and of course, ambient lighting. Verano also gets the brand's trademark "Quiet Tuning," with  acoustical laminated glass, triple door seals, refined chassis dynamics and specially manufactured 17-inch standard forged alloy multi-spoke wheels, which minimize road noise. Along with the Ecotec powerplant, the Verano gets  a refined, responsive suspension system, including a sophisticated Watts Z-link rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes with standard anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Buick says the translucent blue projector-beam headlamps are unique to Verano, and it will be available in rich, upscale colors like Claret Red Tintcoat and White Diamond Tricoat. Other exterior color choices include Black, Olympic White, Switchblade Silver Metallic, Cyber Gray Metallic and Mocha Bronze Metallic.    Inside,  buyers will notice neutral and medium titanium colors are offered on interiors with leatherette/fabric seating surfaces, while ebony, cashmere and a unique Choccachino color. And the premium leather that's gotten such rave reviews from car writers on Lacrosse will also be used on Verano.  A Buick press release says, "The instrument panel blends with an integrated center stack that houses the infotainment display, climate controls and radio controls. Flush-mounted components within the center stack have a gap tolerance of less than 1 mm, while the instrument panel-to-door panel gaps are less than 5 mm. Those tolerances are among the best in class." Some of Verano's interior standard and optional features include push-button engine start, dual-zone climate control with standard air conditioning (automatic climate control available) , heated steering wheel, heated leather seats, electronic parking brake, console armrest that slides and locks, power windows with express up/down in the front and express down in the rear, steering wheel radio controls,m and uplevel front and rear reading lamps. Verano’s heated steering wheel and heated seats are linked with the remote start feature. In temperatures lower than 45 F (7 C), the steering wheel heater and seat heaters automatically activate.       Downloading an OnStar app enables the use of remote vehicle features from anywhere in the world. With a few taps, customers can check the, fuel tank level and range, remaining oil life , tire pressure and the odometer reading. Other remote-access features include remote vehicle locking/unlocking, remote vehicle start and a vehicle locator. The next-generation radio system includes a navigation system, along with USB and auxiliary input jacks, and includes full Bluetooth with streaming audio, structural speech recognition, SMS texts and more. Additional connectivity features include text-to-speech conversion of SMS texts, smart phone app integration (Pandora, Stitcher, etc.) and Gracenote music organization for external devices (USB drives, etc.), including Playlist Plus and Album Art features.  Verano will have ten standard air bags, including frontal, head curtain side air bags, front and outboard rear-seat side-impact air bags and new knee air bags. The head-curtain side air bags deploy in a rollover crash, and the car also has StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes, and a collapsible pedal system, which allows the pedals to detach during a crash to reduce the risk of leg or ankle injuries.         Other safety equipment includes OnStar with Automatic Crash Response.

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